You must be wondering why a picture of a potted plant in a blog that outlines how to map Key Result Areas (KRAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)…?
When I as in my 4th grade, I remember the seed germination experiment for a science project. I had to soak and eventually plant a few Moong seeds (green gram). The process involved soaking the seeds overnight, the next day I had to tie them in a dry cloth and keep it for one more night. On the third day the Moong seeds had sprouted which I planted in a make shift pot. After 5 – 6 days, the first few green grass like blades emerged from the soil. And then after it grew fast for the next couple of days, suddenly one day the blades of grass dropped dead. My spirits were dampened, I was visibly hurt and held the plant in my hand for almost an hour. Finally, my mother came to my rescue; she sat me down and explained to me that the seeds have a life span too and even though the plant is now dead, I had performed the experiment efficiently.
So many years later, I now understand that following the procedure outlined were my key result areas – soaking of the seeds, allowing them to fully sprout, sowing of the sprouted seeds, ensuring the right amount of water and light were made available…And the fully-grown blades of grass was my key performance indicator – over or under soaking could have spoil the grains. Likewise, if I sowed them too deep or in very tight soil, they would not get sufficient light to grow out of the soil. Had I watered them too much they would catch fungus and less water would certainly ensure that the plant would die sooner than its anticipated life span.
Every organisation is like this experiment; there is one goal and there are a set of tasks or duties that need to be performed to achieve this goal. The only difference between my story and yours (the organisation’s) is the fact that your goal can not be achieved alone.
Today, the pressure of getting a job done has escalated to a level where the result has gained more prominence over the process. Some organisations today, tend to make the fundamental mistake of forgetting what lays down the foundation for a productive and successful enterprise –rolling out well defined KRAs & KPIs.
Key Result Areas (KRAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a vital part of any employee’s or a professional individual’s work life. From the entry level employee to the senior management, KRAs and KPIs serve as an instrument to gauge the success of an organisation.
Before we learn how to map them, let’s quickly refresh our memory and understand the definitions of KRAs and KPIs.
What are KRAs?
Key Result Area (KRAs) in simple terms may be defined as the primary responsibilities of an individual. The core area for which a person is accountable. KRAs varies from individual to individual. Employees are predominantly appraised on their mutually agreed KRAs.
Some researchers also define KRAs as a process of ‘Job Analysis’ in which one analyses the job description for a particular role and the job specification of that role to arrive at the areas for which an employee will be held accountable.
What is KPI?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) may also be called as KSIs (Key Success Indicators) are the metrics used to define and measure the progress of the organisation’s goal. It is a cumulative indicator of the fact that individual KRAs were achieved or underachieved which led to the desired or under performance of the organisation.
A checklist to map KRAs and KPIs:
The ever increasing gap between KRAs and KPIs; in other words, individual KRAs are met and yet the organisation does not do well enough, should not only be minimized but also interwoven in a way that a certain synergy is obtained in order to make the work processes flow successfully and seamlessly. Here is a checklist to ensure all essential steps are covered.
1. Goal setting: First and foremost, the organisation must have clearly defined goals and objectives which are supported by a clear organisation structure.
2. Organisation structure: The organisation structure must provide clarity on each role, flow of information across roles and department and understanding on the contribution of the role in meeting organisation’s goals.
3. Job description: The next step would be to define each role in form of a detailed job description. The duties and responsibilities that should be carried out will be described here. The job description must also outline the skills (both technical and soft skills or competencies) required to best perform in that role.
4. Right Hiring: The recruitment process in an organisation should focus to hire a candidate best fitting the role. Organisation culture will play a big role here. We have covered this topic at length in our previous blog How to Attract the Right Talent into Your Organisation.
5. Understanding employees: We know that different employees have different skills, needs and expertise. So primarily it is critical to understand each employee so that perfect execution is possible.
6. Skill inventory: Now that you know the skill set and expertise of individuals. It is time to group the skill set of individuals.
7. Skill mapping: Now a list of each function and person’s designation corresponding to the list of tasks they are accountable should be designed meticulously. There should not be any gaps here. This is basically a minor blue print of the goal achievement procedure.
Now based on the information provided it is essential that the roles and responsibilities are drafted in two categories
• Quantified Data: If these functions can be measured in numbers, percentages etc.
• Non-quantified Data: If these functions cannot be measured in numbers, percentages etc. These can also be termed as Quality segregation.
8. Focus on execution: All the quantified data will now be grouped together and is now the KRA. This will now form a part of execution process.
9. Defining KRAs: The quantified data and non-quantified data along with the company’s vision and mission will come together for formulation of KPIs also known as KSIs (Key Success Indicators). Write a self-explanatory simple one-line definition of each Goal for KRA and KPI.
10. Describe each goal of KPI and KRA: Make sure you mention a measurable target to be achieved and time frame for achievement of the goal and targets.
By following these critical processes, you will see how seamless an organisation runs. These are pivotal details that we may either ignore or not review periodically. When the time does show the cracks, it may become unmanageable. It is in the best interest of a company to engage in a serious planning activity at least once a year to ensure that all roles and actions are realigned.
If you would like to develop and implement KRAs and KPIs for your team, write to us – firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer, and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.