Qualitative Measures

Example Qualitative Measures

The most commonly encountered performance metrics, whether personal or business, tend to fall into the following categories:

  1. Financial measurement: cost; revenue; turnover; margin; profit
  2. Process measurement: speed; cycle/lap-time; output rate; accuracy; efficiency; throughput
  3. Service measurement: response time; fulfilment; satisfaction; repeat business; referrals; complaints and commendationse
  4. Capability measurement: competence; confidence; consistency; congruence

However, while performance metrics in the first two categories tend to be fairly accurate, up-to-date, well utilised, and common across most businesses, performance metrics in the last two categories (the categories related to qualitative data and intangibles*) are far less common in business, are usually several months out of date, and are often not referred to outside of the main management meetings or appraisal process. This is a serious issue, because performance in categories 1& 2 are dependent on our proficiency in managing the qualitative factors and intangibles of categories 3 & 4.

This imbalance arises because gathering performance measurement data on qualitative and intangible factors has tended (in the past) to be a bureaucratic and time-consuming overhead, often-times requiring 'dreaded' surveys to enable it to happen - and we all know how we feel about those.

However, advances in the cloud and smart phones have now enabled a system of non-intrusive, real-time metrics which can capture a wide range of qualitative and intangible performance measures instantaneously, all of which are key to effective business management:

  • Email effectiveness metrics
  • Service value-add and satisfaction metrics
  • Presentation impact metrics
  • Meeting efficiency metrics
  • Internal service levels and mutual support metrics
  • Teamworking effectiveness metrics
  • Customer interest metrics

Examples of how such qualitative and intangible data can be captured for these various areas can be found here.


*Intangible and qualitative metrics are a fairly recent development, and so may not be as well understood as more conventional metrics. Essentially, they are stakeholder metrics, in as much as they reflect a stakeholder interpretation of the impact or benefit concerned. Stakeholders are the customers (both internal customers and external customers) for any event or transaction and, because of this, stakeholders are best placed to assess the true of things to themselves and their work. To understand more about stakeholders, stakeholder impact, and how to measure stakeholder impact - please click the relevant links in this sentence.