Do You Really Need A Corporate Performance Office?

by Stacey Barr |

What is a Corporate Performance Office, will it really help you implement KPIs for strategic performance improvement, and do you really need one?

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A Corporate Performance Office is a small team of people devoted to developing, coordinating, and facilitating their organisation’s performance measurement and management system, from top to bottom, left to right, and back to front. They will do things like this:

  • Choose a deliberate KPI or performance measurement methodology, and deploy it across the organisation.
  • Engage everyone – leaders, managers and staff – in the creation and use of KPIs by providing training and facilitation in the implementation of the chosen corporate KPI approach.
  • Collaborate with the organisation’s information services teams to improve the alignment of data to current and evolving KPI information needs.
  • Keep a single corporate KPI library, to document and manage every performance measure the organisation keeps or uses.
  • Lead the design, development and coordination of performance reporting across the organisation, from simple Excel reports to automated performance dashboards.

But do you really need a Corporate Performance Office too?

Let’s take a look as some of the most compelling “pros” to have a Corporate Performance Office, and trade them off against some of the more deterring “cons” not to.

There are 5 good reasons to have a Corporate Performance Office.

PRO #1: Credibility. A CEO endorsed venture like a Corporate Performance Office puts meaningful performance measurement on everyone’s radar. Coupled with a team that has respected qualifications and experience in performance measurement, and an official and clearly articulated role in coordinating and facilitating performance measurement organisation-wide, this gives performance measurement lots of healthy credibility.

PRO #2: Organisation. A single place to go looking for useful templates, time-saving tools, up to date information on strategic goals and current measures, the latest performance data – imagine that! A good Corporate Performance Office will be the single port of call for all things measurement, conserving the blood, sweat and tears of managers and employees to pour into operational priorities instead.

PRO #3: Efficiency. When the performance measurement system has a central hub like a Corporate Performance Office, the potential for erradicating duplication of effort in measure design, data collection, analysis and reporting is grand. Who’s going to complain about having to spend less time copying and pasting data from one spreadsheet into another, and reformatting the monthly report every month? Their time is better spent improving performance, not reporting it.

PRO #4: Consistency. When the Corporate Performance Office facilitates a consistent process for designing, implementing and using performance measures right across the organisation, it makes it heaps easier for everyone to link to strategy, collaborate across functional and departmental boundaries, and no one is left behind to struggle with outdated measurement methods.

PRO #5: Cost Decrease. The hidden costs of mountains of data management, maintaining myriad dashboard systems, and manual performance reporting aren’t to hard to expose, and when you do expose them, you can see how potent a Corporate Performance Office – focused on organisation, efficiency and consistency – would be in stripping back these costs.

There are 3 downsides to having a Corporate Performance Office.

CON #1: Cost Increase. Employing people in performance measurement roles full time has a cost. But this cost needs to be seen in the context of the hidden costs that are already there, like duplication of reporting, rework and wasted time in finding meaningful measures, missed opportunities to improve performance due to measures not being linked to strategy and operational priorities.

CON #2: Threat. Some people won’t like having the joys and freedom of ad hoc performance measurement taken away from them. They won’t buy in to new methods of measuring and managing performance, even if they work better. If that’s the attitude, then maybe you really do need a Corporate Performance Office to change the performance culture!

CON #3: Finding People. It’s true that the field of performance measurement hasn’t been professionalised yet, and that makes it hard to find people with convincing skills in performance measurement and management. This can be a setback for creating a Corporate Performance Office, but there are programs out there for acquiring these skills, and many people whose experience means they’re at least part way there already.

Do the pros outweigh the cons for your organisation?

In my opinion, they do. If our performance management system isn’t well organised and implemented, just about everything else we try to achieve will be compromised or sabotaged. But don’t take my word for it. Grab some coloured pens, unlined paper, and a coffee (or beverage of choice) and fantasise for a while: How would YOU design your Corporate Performance Office if you got the green light and a clean slate?

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