Here’s the latest post in our “INDUSTRY INSIDERS” column, where we bring you the inside scoop from several awesome association technology vendors and consultants who will share the insights they have gleaned from years of working in our association industry.
Building a Model to Combine KPIs into a Unified Measurement
Deciding on your association’s top strategic priorities leads you to the step of discovering Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure engagement of each member relative to those priorities. One key thing to remember from the earlier posts—it’s essential that these top priorities are limited to no more than five.
The key to KPI selection is that the KPI measures the engagement of the member in advancing the strategic priority. That is, it needs to measure the activity of the member that has a direct impact on achieving the strategic objective.
Each KPI won’t necessarily be of equal importance, so you must determine their impact and weigh them accordingly. CES (Composite Engagement Score) makes it easy to do that. Weighing a KPI simply means ranking its importance and allocating a number of points. Once that is done, the calculations are quite simple.
Each KPI gets a maximum number of CES points assigned to it. The total CES points always add up to 100. The question you will need to ask yourself once the KPIs are selected is how important those priorities are on a relative basis. For example, is there one priority that is twice as important as another? If so, you could assign twice as many points to the KPI for that priority. You can assign these points across the KPIs any way you like, as long as the total number of points equals 100. The reason for this is that it forces a standardized range for the measure and allows comparability across members and over time.
The next step is translating the units from within each KPI into points. This is something you need to spend considerable time thinking about. Here’s you chance to quantify “low,” “medium,” and “high” levels of engagement in each area.
For example, let’s say you weighed committee participation heavily, giving it 35 of the 100 available CES points. From there, you might decide that if an individual is in one committee, they should receive five points, in two committees, perhaps they receive 15 points, and if in three or more, they receive the full 35 points. The point of this example is that the allocation of points within a given KPI isn’t necessarily linear. You can assign more points based on higher amounts of involvement or higher impact activities. You can also do the opposite, where you assign fewer points based on more activity. This may be appropriate if you are measuring “negative” influencing factors or if there is a point of diminishing or negative marginal returns in certain activity categories.
Once you’ve determined how to map KPIs to CES points, it is simple to get CES calculated on a per-member basis. Calculate individual point values for each KPI for each member. Add up the total amount, and you have the CES score for that member. With this method, you can go beyond just the individual when calculating CES values. Think about how useful it might be to calculate a CES for companies and groups (such as a committee), as well.
To build on this, CES is even more valuable as a comparative analysis tool as your strategy evolves. Organizations are changing more rapidly than ever. Engagement models and the way we score engagement must therefore change equally rapidly in order to maintain relevance. What stays the same with CES is the scoring methodology that allows an organization to compare CES values over time, regardless of the priorities, KPIs, and weights that were used at the time. This allows you to maintain a consistent view of member engagement over time.
CES allows you to measure engagement relative to the organization’s strategic goals at the point in time when it was calculated. For this reason, even when the methods change, since the scoring was done relative to the strategic plan at the time of the score being calculated, you can compare the data to assess changes in engagement level over time across the entire member base, segments, and individuals. This is incredibly powerful because it gives you an objective way to find opportunities for improvement and to measure successes and challenges along the way.
This series is based on the eBook Scoring Member Engagement: What Engagement Really Means and How to Measure It. To download a copy of the full eBook, which includes a complete discussion of KPI strategy and selection, please click here.
To read the first post in this series (Why Scoring Member Engagement Matters, Part 1) go here.
You can also watch Amith’s webinar on Scoring Member Engagement, please click here to view.
Amith Nagarajan co-founded Aptify in 1993. He is responsible for the long term strategy of the organization as well as the day-to-day operational leadership.