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Why Performance Dashboards Often Backfire

You’ve done everything right… haven’t you? You’ve implemented a new performance management strategy – invested in a brand new performance dashboard to help you do just that. You’re reacting to problems as they come your way, you’ve done everything the books and papers have told you to do, so why isn’t it working? Why isn’t the dashboard helping you improve performance?

The problem could be you.

Dashboard Adoption: Feedback vs. Punitive Action

Often, managers try to use performance management as a stick instead of a carrot to improve performance, and while this may create some short term gain, it will not lead to any sustainable performance improvement. When dashboards are used punitively instead of being used to help people better understand what to focus on to do a better job, the adoption rate is lower. When adoption is low, your investment in a dashboard solution is wasted; as with most things, you can’t reap the benefits of something that’s not being properly used.

Improve Performance with Positive Reinforcement

In order to reap the benefits of the performance dashboard you’ve invested in for your team, managers must turn to positive reinforcements instead of punitive or negative ones.

Dr. Seidenfeld, a consultant on management issues, states that positive behavior “motivates effective workers to continue to do good work. Lack of (positive) reinforcement leads to job dissatisfaction.” He also states that, “Through skillful use of positive reinforcement, you will increase your employees’ self-esteem and call forth from them greater contributions and increased dedication to the job.” While that may seem obvious in a world where we are bombarded with old adages such as “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”, often the implementation of rewards strategies can fall flat.

Dashboards as a Tool for Performance Management

Managers must work with their team’s performance dashboard to create better employee engagement; simply having the dashboard there is not enough. Performance dashboards are an excellent tool to help managers increase engagement and communication through monitoring performance, providing feedback when most relevant, giving rewards to high performing employees, and keeping tabs on task progress so any issues or problems can be easily fixed.

Dashboard Features that Help Managers

Look for performance dashboard features that will help managers. Annotations can allow you to provide general feedback and post specific comments or questions on the particular data points in question. This allows the employee to see important feedback right away, and enables them to answer questions or make adjustments as soon as possible. Notifications allow users to schedule automatic emails when the data reaches certain conditions, or when a comment or question has been added to the dashboard. That way you can be sure no important comments are missed.

Dashboard features enable managers to help employees’ with their work, instead of taking punitive measures after the work has already been completed. When used properly, these tools can be a great way for managers to transition from a reactive nature to a proactive one. When tools are combined a more positive feedback and rewards strategy, organizations can create stronger employee engagement.

Want to see what a performance dashboard can do for your business? Try our 45 Day Free Trial of Dundas Dashboard, and check out our Interactive Performance Dashboard Samples to see the dashboards that helped other companies succeed!

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