Identifying Performance Measures for Administrative Functions, Personnel, and Budgeting

For administrative units or functions, it is generally easy to identify performance measures in the upper two quadrants.

  • How much service did we provide?: Administrative units can easily list the activities they perform, convert each one into a measure. (Upper left – quantity of effort)
  • How well did we provide service?: Many standard upper right quadrant measures apply to administrative units just as other units (like unit cost, workload ratios etc.). And for most administrative activities, it is pretty easy to identify timeliness and accuracy measures that are meaningful.

For each administrative activity, identify the measures (in the upper right quadrant) that describe how well that activity is performed. These usually have to do with timeliness (e.g. % of invoices paid in less than 30 days, average time to fill a vacancy), accuracy (% of paychecks requiring correction/adjustment) or compliance with standards (e.g. % of repeat audit findings).

But administrative units or functions are the hardest when it comes to identifying performance measures in the lower right, most important, quadrant. The principle reason is that it is harder to figure out who the customers are and how you would know if they are better off?

performance-measures four quadrants selection tool

When you think about it, it becomes clear that the primary customers of administrative units are the employees and supervisors of the organization. It turns out that the most important lower quadrant measures for administrative units are customer satisfaction measures. “Did we help you do your job?” is the focus of such questions.

Administrative functions usually help their clients by making it easier for them to do their jobs. Look for measures like % of customers who report that the unit was “very helpful” in meeting the staffing needs of the agency, or % of customers who report that the contracting unit helped them get their work done well and on time.

In addition to gathering data, there are other good reasons for administrative units to conduct customer satisfaction surveys (and/or interviews). The simple act of asking customers (and taking their responses seriously) can create goodwill with organization managers, a commodity that is often in short supply. And the users of administrative services can often identify ways to improve services.

Some common examples include:

  • Workload staff ratio
  • Staff turnover rate (This can be measured by % of vacant positions – or more interestingly – % of employees with the organization 1 year or less.)
  • Staff morale (usually from surveys)
  • Percent of staff fully trained
  • Percent of satisfied customers (with courtesy and timeliness of service) by function
  • Percent of bilingual staff
  • Worker safety (usually accident or injury claim rate)

The following section provides examples (not an exhaustive list) of some of the most important performance measures for each administrative function. In most cases, the lay definition, but not the technical definition, is given.

Free Performance Measures Workbook – The Results-Based Accountability™ Guide

Design your own effective performance measures with the RBA Guide, a step-by-step roadmap to learn how to lead or facilitate a group in the use of RBA decision making.

Download the RBA Guide to learn how to:

  • follow a simple, common sense process
  • start with ends and work backward towards means
  • design performance measures that provide the greatest insights
  • rank performance measures based on their communication, proxy, and data power to find the ones that matter most
  • get from talk to action quickly
  • use data and transparency to ensure accountability
Results-Based Accountability Guide
Download Guide

Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • % invoices paid in 30 days or less
  • % reports completed on time
  • % reissue/correct payroll or accounts payable
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % repeat audit findings
  • Audit liabilities as % of budget

Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • % audits completed on time
  • % appeals of audit findings lost
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % repeat findings
  • $ saved/ avoided (est.) as % of total budget

Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • % budget reviews on time
  • % forecasting accuracy
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % Surplus or deficiency
  • Audit liabilities as % of budget
  • % Agency performance measures heading in the right direction
  • % Agency managers who rate support from the budget unit “good or better”

Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • % contracts on time
  • % agency staff trained in contract procedures
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % managers rating contracting support “good” or better
  • % contractors rating contracting support “good” or better.

Counsel/Attorney’s Office
Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • Cases per attorney
  • Support staff per attorney
  • Ave response time to requests
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % lawsuits won
  • % appeals won
  • Rate of avoided law suits
  • Damages paid as % of requested damages
  • Damages paid as % of agency budget

Director’s Office
Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • % correspondence response on time
  • % of agency locations visited this year
  • % of staff involved in two way communication events
  • % employees who rate this a good place to work
  • % of divisions actively using performance data to improve performance
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % surplus or deficiency
  • Bond rating (for state, county, city or school district)
  • % agency’s performance measures headed in the right direction
  • % customers rating the agency service a “good” or better
  • Rating of agency compared to others

Facilities Management
Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • % responses to requests in 24 hours or less
  • % repeat calls
  • Worker safety – rate of accidents
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % managers who rate facilities support “good” or better
  • % Sick leave due to building conditions

Management Information Systems
Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • % responses to requests for assistance in less than 24 hours
  • Ratio of salary to market wages
  • Staff retention rate
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % downtime during peak work hours
  • % managers rating overall MIS support “good or better”
  • % of staff with high quality computer equipment
  • % programs (or lines of code) with state of the art programming

Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • Average time to fill a vacancy
  • % requests pending 30 days or more
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • Workforce stability – % vacant positions
  • Turnover rate (non-promotions)
  • % managers who rate personnel as “helpful or very helpful”
  • % of workforce without benefits
  • Rate of sick leave usage

Research and Evaluation
Example Performance Measures

How Well We’re Doing
  • % reports completed on time
  • Ave time to respond to requests for information
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % managers rating research and evaluation support “good” or better.
  • % managers who report using research and evaluation products

Need More?
We’re Here

Contact Us

Join the Clear Impact Movement: Subscribe to our monthly newsletter