The annual performance review became gospel in the past few decades. But with a changing workforce – more millennials, who want and value immediate feedback – and a world moving faster all the time, many companies are reconsidering or scrapping that system altogether. As GE’s head of human resources recently said in a Fast Company article, “The world isn’t really on an annual cycle any more for anything.”

That includes your business, where your performance is only as good as your latest financial results. What to do to spot trouble and speed up growth in the face of such demands?

One effective way to deliver instant reporting and improve both employee and business results faster is by sharing your real-time key performance indicators (KPIs) across your digital signage displays. This strategy helps organizations:

  • Put everyone on the same page. Displays keep performance front and center, 24/7. Everyone knows what’s going on and there’s no confusion about what’s important; it’s being constantly measured and communicated. In particular, millennials brought up on social media and the Internet want real-time information that holds their attention and inspires them. And pretty much everybody wants to stay informed and feel integral to an operation.
  • Make better decisions faster. A monthly or even weekly report doesn’t cut it in today’s world. Digital displays show real-time data to all involved. And while old-school thinking says managers are gate-keepers to information, new-school thinking says tap into the collective wisdom – crowd-sourcing, if you will – to solve problems. Digital signage makes it easy to share the information needed for that.
  • Improve accountability. Everyone can see how well or not so well each department is doing. No one can blame information gaps for issues or duck responsibility for performance. That kind of transparency breeds accountability. Managers and employees can figure out exactly what they need to adjust to get results. It also helps workers connect to the bigger picture and understand their place in achieving goals – something even sophisticated organizations struggle with.
  • Increase healthy competition. Showing real-time numbers and promoting top performance in sales, customer service and other functions can inspire competition that helps organizations meet and exceed goals.
  • Improve engagement and ultimately company performance. In a previous blog, we pointed out the cost of poor communication with employees. The top three reasons employees don’t like their jobs, says, are communication-related. Poor communication helps create dissatisfied, disengaged employees – as much as 70% of the workforce – who cost the U.S. economy up to $550 billion annually in lost productivity, according to Gallup. On the other hand, engaged employees result in better financial performance. With communication such a big factor in engagement and results, the more information you can give employees, the better.


The KPIs an organization shares with employees will vary by industry and by departmental function. A call center is going to be interested in much different statistics than a factory. Typical KPIs include:

  • Manufacturing efficiency. Facilities can display up-to-the-minute production information, actual production figures and comparisons against a target or a previous period.
  • Stock performance. Many employees watch this like a hawk on the intranet. Make it even more prominent via digital displays.
  • New opportunities and closed sales. The sales pipeline is typically the concern of your business development folks, but knowing that new business is in the works, and ultimately closed, helps employees understand the organization is growing and can be very motivating.
  • Account renewals and customer satisfaction scores. Ditto for these KPIs. People know that making customers happy and keeping them around is good for business.
  • Call center efficiency. Digital tickers are a great way to display time to answer, hold times, call handling times and other important call center KPIs.
  • And for the marketers, real-time web site traffic and conversion rates.

When it comes to designing KPI content for digital displays, it’s important to note that it shouldn’t mimic typical dashboards. People consume information in different ways, using different mediums. If you’re at your PC, you have the ability to view detailed dashboard screens. But if you’re looking at a display in a break room, a bunch of complicated charts and stats are going to make zero impact. KPIs need to be easy to read and digest so people can actually use them to make better decisions and improve their work.

Of course, it’s easier to think about sharing numbers widely when business is going well. It’s much scarier to do so when that’s not the case. However, letting employees know about problems is the first step to fixing them. The idea of transparency may be unsettling, but the fact of it can transform your business.