How small business can benefit from introducing non-work-related KPIs

The word KPI is written in black marker on the yellow paper for notes. KPI – Key Performance Indicator.

Imagine this for one moment. John, who was in a sales role, excelled in smashing his work KPIs over two years by 275 per cent and 427 per cent and at the same time also achieved the following:

  • Reduced his weekly face to face work hours by twenty-two per week.
  • Walked on the beach with his partner twice a week.
  • Dropped three shots off his golf handicap.
  • Spoke once a month at a local high school about careers and leadership.

Oh…and there’s something else worth mentioning here. John was paid 15 per cent of his annual bonus for beach-walking, improved golfing prowess and the time spent with next-generation leaders at the high school.

Has the world of work gone mad? Quite the contrary.

It was something I did in an experiment when working in the corporate world after he had asked himself the following question:

What would happen if I treated my people like human beings?

As part of the experiment, I spoke of the importance of what I call “life design” or what we historically have labelled ‘work-life balance’. He now works with organisations from small-medium businesses to the big corporates to help them humanise their KPIs by incorporating non-work goals and has seen incredible outcomes for those who walk their talk when it comes to allowing humans to bring their whole self to work.

In my first book “Being Human”, I outlined a mindset shift that he adopted to move from the old way of “work defines you” to a more human way of ‘balance is critical’.

The experiment I discovered four steps on how to set up a more human approach to setting KPIs:

  1. Walk your talk – if you are going to set up non-work related KPIs then you need to have them in place for yourself and most importantly share them with your employees. Going first and demonstrating how serious you are about this approach will give your employees confidence that they have permission to do the same.
  2. Agree on the definition of non-work KPI Categories – the non-work-related KPIs chosen in the experiment were for Self, Family & Friends and Community. Each employee chose a realistic goal per area and had it signed off once they articulated the importance of the goal. This is critical, and as a manager, it is important that you challenge your employee on why they chose what they did.
  3. Ensure there are clear measures of success – just as you have for the work-related KPIs, these new human KPIs must be measurable and evidence will be required to get a pass mark.
  4. Create a regular accountability check-in – when implementing this approach, set up a “balance buddy” check-in and have employees pair up and keep each other accountable to their non-work-related goals. It also has a secondary benefit of building a deeper human connection between employees.

Work is part of life, and happiness and being successful at work are not mutually exclusive.

This is the time like no other in the history of work to redefine how we view success. It should incorporate the whole human and not create some work-life balance illusion that they are not linked in some way.

Business owners like you can be the ones who are bold and change the game here. How will you approach this at your next KPI conversation?

Perhaps ask yourself the same question I did: what would happen if I treated my people like human beings?

Be human.

Mark LeBusque, Founder and Director, The Human Manager