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Using Dashboard Driven Utilization Benchmarking to Improve Performance

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Using Dashboard Driven Utilization Benchmarking to Improve Performance

We have all heard the often repeated phrase, “People are a company’s greatest asset”. For service industries such as consulting, accounting, and law, this is especially true. The value these employees provide is the main driver of revenue growth and profitability. It is therefore imperative to track utilization because “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

In service organizations, the utilization rate is a key metric of employee productivity and is the relationship between billable or client-facing hours and total working hours. Wouldn’t it be great if every employee was self-motivated to improve their utilization rates? Wouldn’t it be even better to gamify it, and show people how they compare to their peers? Well, the first step is tracking utilization and sharing that information with your employees. Most service organizations already use timesheets but it’s a tedious process to calculate utilization because there are several variables in play: How should I deal with company holidays vs. personal vacation? Should I include the time spent assisting a sales lead as productive? What about non-billable client facing work? All of these questions must be addressed in the creation of an employee facing productivity dashboard.

Steps In the Creation of a Utilization Dashboard

  1. The first step is to standardize the definition of utilization rates across your company and communicate it clearly. There are several definitions to choose from, based on how your time tracking is currently set up. At GoodData we track all three types of utilization:
  • Productive Utilization: (Client Facing + Business Dev + Sales Assistance) / Total available hours
  • Client Facing Utilization: (Billable + Non-Billable) / Total available hours
  • Billable Utilization: Billable hours / Total available hours

As seen in the dashboard below, it is ideal to track all three types of utilization in one place. With GoodData, you can drill down for a more granular view of each employee, the projects that they are working on, and track these numbers over time.​

Monthly Utilization Trend

  1. Align the utilization calculation with company goals and make your goals transparent. Productivity monitoring won’t improve results if it is viewed as a black box by employees.

  2. Push the information out to employees at the most granular level possible. It is great for employees to benchmark their performance against others on a weekly and even a daily basis. You can easily translate strategic goals into personal goals by making employees aware of their utilization compared with their peers or providing target utilization rates.

  3. It is easiest to distribute this information through dashboarding tools, and solutions such as GoodData make this turn-key. ​

Direct Improvements in Performance

At this point, readers may wonder whether there is a direct relationship between utilization tracking and financial performance. The most important realization to make is that utilization tracking creates a feedback loop for employees, and feedback loops usually produce 10% improvements in performance in every field where they are adopted. Accordingly, the better question may be, “Can I afford to NOT pursue dashboard driven productivity gains?”

Want to know more about our GoodData service analytics? Register for a live demo today!

Written by GoodData Author  | 

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