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Buzzwords: 'KPIs'

The first time someone mentioned KPIs to me, I stared vacantly, nodded and promptly turned to my good friend Google. It is, as I discovered, an acronym for ‘key performance indicators’ and is a widely recognised performance review tool in the business world. 

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While KPIs can be used to benchmark the achievements of entire organisations, they can also represent a mutual agreement between a manager and an employee and be used to track individual performance. Establishing KPIs with your manager is a great opportunity to nut out what you both believe your role demands and what goals you need to be achieving throughout the work year. For example, you could have sales targets to aim for, efficiency goals to work towards, or perhaps you are expected to have progressed to a certain point in particular projects. The agreed indicators should provide an overview of your performance but still allow for the variables that will inevitably crop up during the year.

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Another benefit of having predetermined performance indicators with your boss is the ability to push back when you feel your workload is getting to be too much. It should also provide your manager, and others in your organisation, with a broad yet useful idea of what your role involves and how it needs to develop from year to year. 

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Regular reviews of your KPIs will also give you the opportunity to present your case for increased responsibilities or promotion. But if you don’t have KPIs or you’ve never been through a review process or goal planning, don’t worry. Suggesting that you set some goals with your boss will generally be welcomed and it can definitely work in your favour. Unless, of course, you’ve been getting away with doing nothing for the last year…then maybe it’s time to answer some emails. 

If you are keen to update your skills, there are plenty of online courses to help you boost your knowledge – and earn you some boss brownie points as well.

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