Five key benefits of measuring team performance

Once just nice-to-have, measuring team performance is now a critical component of successful organizational management.

subjective opinion can impede team performance

One fateful lunchtime several decades ago, I sat across the table from my client, the CMO of the largest advertiser in the country – discussing my agency team’s performance for the year.

The client’s ‘evaluation’ was not literally scribbled ‘on the back of a fag packet’ as the saying goes, but it was very informal, unstructured and almost entirely subjective.

I dreaded this annual conversation because it would determine whether my agency retained the business or found itself in a pitch. Whether the bonus matched our budget estimate or indeed whether we got one at all! And perhaps most importantly and selfishly, whether my career would accelerate or come to a sudden junction.

Luckily for me, or perhaps thanks to the chef of the Mandarin Grill, the client was merry – in more ways than one – and this extended lunch ended well.

This was not an isolated case. Such stories of ‘back of a fag packet’ agency performance evaluations were common in those ‘mad’ days.

The consequences

The real tragedy was that so much personal gravity rested on that one review meeting. Furthermore, because it was a purely subjective discussion, it hinged on the opinions of just two individuals (the client and me) in a snapshot of time. Often inviting bias and persuasion both positive and negative.

It was largely a consequence of this folly, that I created Aprais to bring some degree of objectivity and rigour to client-agency team performance evaluations.

The need for objective measurement

A new study from the Association of National Advertisers and the 4A’s revealed that even today, many agencies and their clients aren’t taking the time to define what they value in their partnerships. The study found that only 5% of clients and 10% of agencies have an established corporate definition of value for client-agency relationships.

The importance of measuring and monitoring team performance cannot be overstated. Disengaged employees caused $8.8 trillion in productivity losses in 2023. This represents 9% of the globe’s GDP, and it’s an urgent problem that needs to be solved.

We now know that objective metrics and clear performance indicators are essential for ensuring that teams operate efficiently, meeting organizational goals, and fostering a productive work culture.

So it was with great interest I read an article published here titled “Eliminating Subjectivity in the Workplace: Why Measuring Success Matters.”

As implied in my opening anecdote, subjectivity in evaluating team performance can lead to biases, misunderstandings, and a lack of clarity about job expectations. Dr. Steve Steff – the transformational leadership expert quoted in the ‘Eliminating Subjectivity’ article mentioned above, says that many organizations fail to define success clearly or establish minimal acceptable performance standards. This ambiguity leaves both leaders and employees in the dark about how to achieve financial, behavioural, and cultural goals.

Establishing clear success metrics

One of the fundamental steps in eliminating subjectivity is the establishment of clear, measurable success metrics. This process involves identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect the organization’s goals. According to Dr. Steff, success metrics should encompass quality, quantity, and efficiency, but also extend to cultural, communication, and behavioural expectations. By quantifying these areas, organizations can create a transparent framework for evaluating performance.

The SACRED Trust Leadership Model

Dr. Steff introduces the SACRED Trust Leadership model as a comprehensive approach to leadership and performance management. Each element of the acronym SACRED plays a pivotal role in fostering an environment where performance can be objectively measured and enhanced;

SACRED trust Leadership Model
SACRED Trust Leadership model – Dr. Steve Steff
Five key benefits of measuring team performance

Measuring team performance is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ option for businesses. As a reminder, here are five key benefits;

1. Improved clarity and direction

Clear performance metrics provide employees with a precise understanding of what is expected of them. This clarity reduces confusion and helps employees focus on their tasks with a clear direction.

2. Enhanced accountability

When performance is measured objectively, it is easier to hold employees accountable for their work. This accountability is crucial for maintaining high standards and ensuring that all team members contribute effectively to the organization’s goals.

3. Increased motivation

Objective performance measurements can also serve as a powerful motivator. Employees who understand how their performance is assessed are more likely to be motivated to meet and exceed their targets.

4. Better decision-making

Leaders who rely on objective performance data are better equipped to make informed decisions. Whether it’s about promotions, training needs, or resource allocation, data-driven decisions are more likely to be fair and effective.

5. Reduction in turnover

One of the main reasons employees leave organizations is due to bad management and unclear expectations. By measuring performance objectively, organizations can reduce misunderstandings and improve employee satisfaction, thus decreasing turnover rates.

Measuring performance delivers results
Scores improve with each evaluation

Having conducted thousands of rigorous, formal evaluations of client-agency relationships for many of the world’s leading brands and agency groups, we can confirm that measuring team performance delivers multiple positive results.

From the very first evaluation both client and agency show continuous improvement in their scores and as one party improves, so does the other.

With an average tenure of just 3.3 years CMO’s need to be sure their agency relationships can improve rapidly under their watch. Our latest report shows how to achieve rapid improvement in client-agency relationships without resorting to cost-cutting.

Crucially, our analysis of effectiveness awards proved that award-winners have better client-agency relationships than average. Download our special report here.

In closing

Measuring and monitoring team performance is a critical component of successful organizational management. By eliminating subjectivity and implementing clear, objective performance metrics, organizations can improve clarity, accountability, and motivation among their teams.

Kim Walker is Founder & Chair of Aprais.