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Employee KPI Tracking: Beyond The Basics

In our earlier series discussing the importance of developing and using a solid KPI tracking program, we touched briefly on some of the top employee KPIs. In this series, we will dive deeper into the subject of employee KPI tracking and go beyond the basics to explore the benefits to the business, the employee, and the team, and how to encourage employee buy-in to a KPI tracking program.  

The Many Benefits Of Employee KPI Tracking

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Most discussion on the topic of time tracking and KPIs tends to focus predominantly on productivity and profits, which can lead to the erroneous idea that KPI tracking is solely about getting employees to work harder and faster to generate higher revenues.

There is no doubt that tracking employee KPIs alongside other data points does indeed help boost productivity and profits, they can also be used to enhance employee job satisfaction and well-being, foster team spirit, and create a positive workspace culture.

Let’s take a better look at several key areas where employee KPI tracking can help improve individual and team motivation and satisfaction.

Fostering Team Spirit

Choose KPIs that are direct to goals and objectives that are meaningful for the entire team. This can help individuals connect the dots between their performance and the strength of the team as a whole. When every member of the team is able to visualize both their own and the team’s progress they are able to better align their efforts to meet team needs. This promotes collaboration, communication, and a sense of shared responsibility.

Encourage Friendly Competition

While fostering a strong team spirit of collaboration is a benefit to all, there is an advantage in fostering friendly competition as well. Healthy competition between team members helps to encourage individual employees to strive for excellence and shapes a workplace culture that values personal accomplishments. Setting KPIs aimed at tracking individual performance and sharing KPI analysis results with the team to foster competition can trigger an employee’s natural urge to perform better than their peers for the win.

Bragging rights will only go so far in motivating participation, so you will need to make sure that you are recognizing and rewarding your top performers in order to keep everyone engaged in the competition. Individual performance KPIs can help you easily identify each team’s top talent or hardest workers so that they can be rewarded for their efforts. This can also be a great way to build a short list of your top candidates for promotion as opportunities to advance within the company become available.

Identify & Provide Meaningful Growth Opportunities

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That brings us to another benefit of implementing an employee KPI tracking system: Identifying growth and training opportunities. A comprehensive employee KPI monitoring and analysis system will help you quickly identify employees who are struggling and may need some additional mentoring or training to improve their performance. On the flip side, employee KPIs can also help you spot individuals who are excelling in all areas, allowing you to offer meaningful growth opportunities to keep your top performers challenged and invested in the company.

Here are a few ways that you can use employee KPIs to expand employee horizons.

Challenging But Attainable Goals

By setting KPIs that are challenging but attainable, organizations can encourage employees to continuously improve their skills and knowledge. This focus on growth and learning can lead to increased job satisfaction and a sense of personal development.

Identify Strengths & Weaknesses

By carefully choosing and monitoring the correct employee KPIs (more on this later) business leaders can identify the strengths and weaknesses of their teams, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of individual team members. 

Offer targeted feedback and training or mentorship opportunities to help struggling employees reach their full potential. It is much easier (and more cost-effective) to provide additional training to improve the performance of an existing employee whose work, attendance, and attitude are otherwise satisfactory than it is to recruit, hire, and train a new employee from scratch. 

Be sure to recognize and reward your strongest teams and team members too. The same wisdom applies when it comes to filling vacant roles within the company. If promotion becomes available it is more beneficial to fill that role with one of your top performers, rewarding their efforts, building loyalty, and reducing your training costs all at the same time.

Introducing Your Team To A New KPI Tracking Program

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Implementing any new policies or systems into the workplace can cause anxiety and resistance from individuals. The tips below can help smooth the transition, ease concerns, and increase employee engagement and willingness to participate in the new practice. 

Align KPIs With Big Picture Goals

The first step in winning over employees is to create a KPI tracking program that is easy to justify as a benefit to the health of the business rather than a suspicion or distrust of the employees themselves. Choose individual employee KPIs that are aligned with the “big-picture” goals of the business or agency. By concentrating your monitoring efforts on the employee KPIs that have the largest potential impact on business success you can be assured that your KPI system will produce valuable and actionable insights that everyone can rally behind.

Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

If you have an existing project management system, team collaboration dashboard, or performance management system that works as intended, there is no need to upend the ship. Consider incorporating employee KPIs into your existing system where possible. The familiarity of the existing system can help ease employee anxiety and make the new employee KPI tracking system feel less threatening. 

Encourage Accountability

Task team leads with tracking team performance KPIs to maximize accountability from the top down. Engaged team leaders can help encourage individual team members to take accountability for monitoring their own personal KPIs and taking corrective action when they fall short. These dual layers of accountability help increase the odds that the team performs at its best and is able to hit all its targets with ease.

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Maintain Tracking Transparency

The most effective KPI tracking systems are fully transparent. All KPIs, both individual and team-focused, should be prominently displayed so anyone can see at a glance where the team is performing well and where a problem is developing. Transparency offers two key benefits. Knowing that performance KPIs are visible to the entire team is an excellent motivator encouraging employees to give their all. Second, visible performance data allows others to see where they could jump in and offer to help in order to ensure the team objectives are met.

Balance Objective & Subjective Employee KPIs

Balance your employee KPI tracking system with data points that monitor both objective and subjective aspects of employee performance and job satisfaction. Objective employee KPIs monitor the expected performance factors like sales revenue, production waste, and deadlines met. Subjective employee KPIs focus on the quality of team collaboration, communication skills, flexibility, or willingness to go above and beyond for the team, business, or clients.

Crush Challenges

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Conduct Regular Monitoring & Review

KPIs don’t work on their own. They are not a set-it-and-forget-it automatic performance-enhancing solution. Develop a plan for regular monitoring and schedule regular reviews to go over KPI data with individual employees, and with the team. Your monitoring and review sessions should be frequent enough to catch small problems before they become big issues, and not so frequent that employees feel hounded.

Continuous Improvement

Be open to changing your KPI tracking tactics. Not every employee KPI is going to deliver the valuable insights that you imagine. Some may even cause more harm than good. Keep a close eye on which KPIs are useful, and which are not providing the expected insights. Encourage employees and team leads to speak up if they feel that a particular KPI is impossible to meet, or serves little purpose. They should also share their ideas for metrics that they believe might be helpful KPIs.

KPIs Shouldn’t Be Your ONLY Evaluation System

Don’t put all your eggs in the KPI basket. KPIs are incredibly useful when they are used as one part of a comprehensive monitoring plan that includes objective performance data, combined with more subjective assessments. The strongest organizations are those that value their employees as the complex human beings that they are, recognizing that every team member brings a unique set of strengths and weaknesses to the table. KPIs should be combined with other insights and observations to get a true picture of the value an employee offers the business or agency.

Communication Is Key

Open communication and actively involving employees in the KPI tracking process are going to be your best tools to help overcome natural suspicions and resistance. Make sure that you are clearly explaining the justification for the KPI tracking system and its value to both the employee and the business. You should also be upfront about how achievements will be rewarded and any potential remedies or repercussions if targets are repeatedly missed. Avoid surprises and give everyone plenty of time to adjust to the new system. There should be an open discussion about how realistic, and effective individual KPIs are to the team and the employee. The more details that you can decide as a team, rather than simply imposing them on employees, the smoother the transition will be.

Standard Employee KPIs

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If you feel like you are ready to try your hand at implementing your own employee KPI tracking system we are here to help. Read through the following list of standard employee KPIs to get some basics to start you off and then meet with your team and brainstorm some personalized KPIs for your unique business and work culture.

Profit Per Employee

The Profit Per Employee KPI tracks the portion of company profit attributable to each employee. This is a great data point to include in a big-picture value snapshot.

Utilization Rate Per Employee

Utilization Rate Per Employee keeps track of the amount of time an individual employee spends working on tasks that generate profit for the business. This might be billable work hours, client messaging, and communication. This KPI is measured as a percentage of the employee’s overall available working hours.

Average Time For Task Completion

The Average Time For Task Completion is fairly self-explanatory but we will define it anyway. This one measures how long it generally takes an individual employee to complete a specific type of task. This is a good baseline KPI that helps to quickly identify potential issues or changes in project scope. If a project type that generally takes an employee an average of 6 – 8 hours to complete is suddenly requiring 12 – 16 hours that is an indicator that there may be an issue.


The Overtime KPI can help you keep a handle on payroll costs first and foremost. However, it is equally important to monitor how often a particular employee is working over the standard full-time hours, to ensure that extra work is not falling on the shoulders of one or two employees, or that employees are not taking on excess overtime to earn extra income, but risking burnout and decreased job performance in the process.

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Percentage Of Employees Meeting Personal Development Goals

The Percentage Of Employees Meeting Personal Development Goals KPI helps team leaders keep track of how employees are faring when it comes to reaching their individual development targets. This KPI can help leaders assess the attainability of established development goals. If the percentage of employees reaching their goals is low, the development goals may be set too high at the current stage. If the majority of employees are easily breezing past their targets, it may be time to make it a bit more challenging.

Employee Absenteeism Rate

Employee Absenteeism Rate is the percentage of time that employees call out of work, and how long they are absent each time. This is an indicator of an employee’s dedication to the business and can be an indicator that they may be struggling with some trouble or illness in their personal life. A high absentee rate is a reason for a private conversation to get to the bottom of the situation.

Number Of Employee Safety Incidents

Tracking the Number Of Employee Safety Incidents helps business administration stay on top of any dangerous procedures, habits, or equipment employees are encountering in the course of their work. At the individual employee level, it can also be a red flag that an employee may be working in a more careless manner, or cutting corners increasing the risk of injury.  Either way, an increase in incidents is cause for immediate investigation.

Average Time To Fill Open Positions

The Average Time To Fill Open Positions KPI measures how long it takes to hire a new employee for an open role at the business. This is an indicator of how effective the recruiting and onboarding process is. If it is taking an extended amount of time to fill positions it may be an indicator that your compensation package is not offering competitive benefits, or compensation when compared to similar open positions.

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Employee Work-Life Balance Score

The Employee Work-Life Balance Score measures an employee’s opinion of their current work-life balance. This is a subjective metric that is usually self-reported as part of a voluntary employee questionnaire completed by the employee. Care should be taken to ensure employees feel comfortable answering truthfully, as this will be one of your best indicators of an individual’s overall well-being and job satisfaction

Internal Job Application Rate

The Internal Job Application Rate tracks the number of current employees showing interest in moving up in the company through internal job opportunities. This KPI helps businesses gauge employee engagement and willingness to stay with the company long-term.

Employee Peer Recognition Rates

Employee Peer Recognition Rates measure the quality of peer-to-peer recognition, and how often peers support each other in a tangible way. This KPI is a solid indicator of how healthy the current team collaboration and workplace relationships are.

Average Query Response Time Between Employees

Average Query Response Time Between Employees tracks the average time that it takes for an employee to receive a response to a query posted to their fellow team members. This KPI is another indicator of how healthy the team as a whole and the workplace culture is.

Remember, any change to the status quo will likely get some pushback. Use this guide to make sure you are well prepared to provide honest and complete answers to all employee questions to make the transition as smooth as possible. The potential benefits for everyone on the team, for clients, and for your business are so great that your team will soon wonder how they functioned before KPIs.