Why I’m Distrustful Of KPIs

Does anyone else’s anthropologist/aka over-analysing brain get totally distracted by one small part of a news article? Mine sure does!


Why I’m Distrustful Of KPIs




This article I read got me thinking again about KPIs. I’ve always had a bit of a policy about avoiding jobs where they mention KPIs in the job ad itself. I’m not against a performance marker, but there are a few reasons why they make me hesitate.


Not All Jobs Are Quantifiable

The article is about selling mortgages and making money for the bank. In that case, you can clearly quantify the need. But are all jobs like that? Has anyone called a customer service helpline recently? Have you noticed that they often ask you to stay on the line and give a rating about how the call went? It’s an attempt to quantify. I’ve been curious for a while how much that data impacts the worker – what if they get a customer asking for something completely out of policy and the customer gives them a low rating because they couldn’t help? Is that the employee’s fault?


Not All Targets Are Realistic

Clearly this was an issue for the banks in this article. If people can’t meet lending criteria, how are you supposed to sell enough mortgages? The individual bank worker can’t be expected to control the economic climate and the average level of household debt in the country; but it’s their job at risk if they don’t meet the KPIs outline for their role.

Like I said at the start, I don’t think KPIs are inherently bad. It’s just that I am distrustful of the way that they are implemented in some jobs. And that’s at the heart of what triggers anthropologist brain – we go straight past the basics and delve into the analysis and possible outcomes.


What do you think about KPIs? 

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