Most people know that objectives and metrics are used to track performance in just about every aspect of modern life.  For those in the business world, this is often presented in the form of key performance indicators (KPI) and is monitored and tracked throughout a project or program. Conceptually, it’s not too difficult to understand why KPI’s matter when monitoring performance. They give us insight into current performance—often measured against a baseline or earlier projection. Simply put, metrics tell us how we are doing.  

We do not often think about the actual process of deciding what specific metrics will be tracked for a project or why the process can be a useful tool in terms of team cohesiveness and individual job satisfaction. Developing metrics for a project can be used as an opportunity to foster a stronger and more committed team. 

People who are dissatisfied in the workplace often find themselves feeling anonymous or irrelevant to the broader organization and are operating under conditions where performance measures are unclear or subjective. In other words, if someone does not feel like their performance is being fairly assessed, or if they do not feel like the work they do matters, it can quickly lead to feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction. 

One way to help avoid this is by collaborating with the team to collectively decide on metrics and objectives uniquely tailored to a specific project or company department. While performing this exercise, you can discuss each other’s roles and responsibilities on the project and determine how they each can contribute to a specific goal or objective. 

While undergoing this exercise, people may be surprised to learn more about how their work contributes to the big picture. In general, it gives people a chance for their voice to be heard and provides a view into how one person’s tasks might impact others on the team. An individual’s feeling of anonymity might be reduced through better understanding the ancillary processes and the people directly or indirectly related to one’s specific job role.  

To summarize, people are often dissatisfied with a job due to two things:  

  1. Feelings of anonymity/irrelevance 
  2. Unclear/subjective performance measures

A leader can take proactive steps through the development of team performance metrics.  In doing so, clear, and objective performance measures will surface, and team members will feel more closely aligned to the overarching project goals and objectives.