If your campus is interested in using Key Performance Indicators as a tool for tracking important data points, Campus Labs recommends the following steps to ensure your campus gets the most out of this process. We also have instructions on how to build a KPI in Baseline.
Steps for Developing a Quality KPI
- Focus on KEY priorities/goals: KPIs will ideally be connected to strategic goals, mission, and/or outcomes. If a KPI is not supporting one of these guiding documents, you should question why it is important. If you can’t answer that question, it’s probably a good one to cut. Once you put the ‘K’ in KPI, it’s time for steps TWO through SEVEN:
- Keep it current: KPIs can (and often should) change each year. You can use the “target” functionality within Campus Labs Baseline to designate the specific goal for each KPI. Once a target is reached, that KPI can be retired and a new one created. The Baseline tool also has an export feature (“Export” button at top of KPI list), which allows you to export a dashboard of KPIs specific to a given year.
- Showcase change: Look at your past KPIs and ask yourself these questions: ‘Has this KPI changed?’ ‘Are we doing anything to expect change?’ If the answer is ‘no’ to either of these questions, this may be a good data point to have on file, but not necessarily include as one of your KPIs. Thinking about future KPIs, isolate those indicators where you can expect change due to focused efforts within your functional area.
- Pick “tracking” KPIs that tell your success stories: Most functional areas will have important data they keep track of (e.g., number of residents within a residence hall), but tracking KPIs should be reserved for those indicators that really demonstrate progress toward your strategic plan.
- Standardize questions on surveys/rubrics to optimize use of dynamic KPIs: For satisfaction and learning based KPIs, you can utilize the Baseline dynamic KPI tool to pull in data directly from the Campus Labs system. This tool allows you to create a KPI that collapses data from multiple questions; however, these questions need to have similar (if not identical content) if they are to remain accurate. To optimize this process, begin to standardize your satisfaction questions and learning questions/rubric dimensions so that you can easily create condensed KPIs from multiple data sources.
- Provide thorough descriptions: Every KPI—in or out of the Campus Labs Baseline system—should have a description as to why it makes the cut. (Within Baseline, you can add a description by clicking on the “Edit” button beneath the KPI image.) If you can’t provide clear rationale for including a KPI, this is probably a good sign that you don’t need it.
- Get a second (third or fourth) opinion: As in any assessment process, peer feedback can eliminate assumptions, ambiguities and force us to reconsider why we are making decisions. Ask a colleague both within and outside your department to review your KPIs and offer feedback. Ask them to think about the following: ‘What stands out/seems important?’ ‘What confuses them?’ ‘What do they already know?’
Ready to build KPIs in Baseline? For examples of common KPIs found in Higher Education, please see the attached document.
If you have additional questions you can contact our Support Team or call 716-270-0000 Monday through Friday 8:00am - 8:00pm EST.