General Director and Co-Founder of 1C-Bitrix
Evaluate creative work in numbers
When we were just starting a business and I couldn’t come up with KPIs for developers, I went to consult my acquaintance, the builder Viktor Nevar, the founder of the Center for Modular Construction. I asked him: "Victor, you probably have everything according to the formulas? I plastered a meter of the wall - get some money?" He replied: "If we had worked like this, we would have gone broke right away."
Of course, he also has KPI, but the foreman accepts the work. He pounds the wall with his fingernail, sees that the putty is falling off, and says: “Remake, and I will subtract money from the material from your salary!” And the worker knows that the superintendent cannot be deceived, so he immediately does everything qualitatively. In this case, the foreman covers his people in front of the authorities, fairly distributes bonuses and will help, if that.
The same thing in office work. There is less and less routine work, and more creative work, in which there are unformalized quality criteria. In this situation, KPI is just the pulse of the company. Compliance with formal parameters suggests that things are moving. And how exactly is moving - the leader estimates. In general, the best option: give part of the bonus to employees on the basis of KPI and part on the basis of the opinion of the head. We use this method of assessment and call it "pro-slavish."
By the way, a formal attitude to KPI leads not only to loss of quality, but also to losses. Recently, we talked with the leaders of the AIC web studio, and they talked about their case. Each of the project participants - designer, programmer and so on - completed their KPI and received a reward, and the project as a whole turned out to be unprofitable for the studio.
Compensate for the lack of will
Our Bitrix24 product has a Tasks tool. One client recently told me that the "tasks" are bad, they need to be changed. He had two requirements. First, accounting should have access to all the tasks of employees. The second - a report on the employee’s working hours should not be created based on the time he spends in the office, but on the basis of the total duration of all his tasks. As you understand, all these measures were needed for tight control over employees.
I often hear similar offers from clients, and when I start to find out why such a tight control is needed on the corporate portal, it turns out that the head himself does not dare to be strict. In such cases, I say: "Well, if employees are" cheating ", then deprive them of the bonus."
If KPIs are evaluated only by numerical indicators,
then employees will deceive such a system. No matter how hard you try, no KPI can replace the will of the leader
I rarely use fines: I fined employees literally several times in my life. I consider this a bad method, I always try to convince the employee and make him my ally. But recently I had to get two colleagues to pay symbolic amounts. I fined one top manager 1,000 rubles for not informing me of the postponement of tasks. Another top manager - by 3,000, for the fact that he did not hand over work reports.
Customers say: "Well, we can’t do this, we want the system to do this." With the help of an expensive and illogical add-in, which in a new way counts working hours and overloads accounting, they want to compensate for the lack of administrative rigidity. But, firstly, it is costly, and secondly, if KPIs are evaluated only by numerical indicators, then employees will deceive such a system. No matter how you try, no KPI will succeed in replacing the will of the leader.
Shift tasks to employees
Usually planning in companies happens like this. The owner or CEO calls out to department heads: "Well guys, let's get the plans!" Heads of departments need to grow, and by this they usually understand the increase in staff. Efficiency is not their headache. Therefore, the first plans that bring the leader, almost always involve losses.
The same thing happens with KPI. When the task of delivering KPI lies with the heads of departments, they are usually not entirely objective. So it happened with the technical support department and its head.
One day he came to me and said: "We want more people!" I replied: "But you cannot grow faster than revenue - you can’t!" Then he began to ask him different questions, and then he says: "... Well, or more money!" So, if you give the department more money, then it will cope with the amount of work? The manager admitted: "Well, he can handle it."
Then we put together a support department, and I said that we want to pay more to those who work better. People take this phrase very positively and for some reason do not think that the owner is reasoning that way.
The second thing I told them: we do not know who works better. And that paralyzed them. Employees began to be indignant: "Well, how so? Still obvious! Still clear!"
For three months they could not come up with a formula by which we could objectively evaluate who works better, but as a result they came up with. After that, within two years, the volume of their work increased by 100%, and the size of the department did not increase.
Two years later, the head of technical support again came with the same request and already categorically stated that he wanted people, not money. But again I did not succumb, and we began to understand with him how the technical support work was arranged. It turned out that 80% of user requests are typical, but they were handled by employees of different qualifications. Then we introduced the difficulty levels of the tasks and divided the support staff in accordance with them. As a result, efficiency rose again without an increase in staff - this time by 40%.
Many managers wonder why employees themselves do not come and do not say how to do it. Why wasn’t technical support able to deal with their KPIs for the first or second time? The answer is simple: when people are too much involved in the process, they cannot change it on their own, even if they are professionals. This is the task of the leader - to understand the features and disadvantages of the constructed system in order to help its development.
Cover photo: ShutterStock