What Is a Performance Dashboard? (With Benfits and Types)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Successful businesses often allow employees and managers to have access to important company data. One popular business management tool is a performance dashboard that organizational leaders from various industries can use to analyze progress and track goals. Creating an effective dashboard helps you to understand how to choose metrics that are relevant to your team. In this article, we explain what a performance dashboard is, list its key elements and types, explore the benefits of using this management tool and provide a simple guide to help you create a dashboard that's ideal for your organization.

What is a performance dashboard?

A performance dashboard is a visual reporting and management tool that many entrepreneurs and managers use to measure the effectiveness and specific metrics of their business, such as employee performance, customer satisfaction or marketing campaigns. Tracking performance helps businesses monitor critical processes and activity. For instance, you can monitor an inbound advertising campaign and compare it to an outbound campaign that you're implementing to see which strategy is more effective. Dashboards are often fully customizable, which makes this tool useful for many industries, including finance, health care and customer service.

Key elements of a performance dashboard

Here are five important elements to consider including in a performance dashboard:

1. Measurable KPIs

The primary purpose of performance dashboards is to display data that employees may use to take action and increase success. If you're working on a dashboard, be sure to include KPIs that you and your team find beneficial for your work. An effective KPI is typically easy to measure, relevant to corresponding goals and available in a timely manner. Here are some examples of KPIs that you can choose for your dashboard :

  • Average attendance

  • Revenue per client (RPC)

  • Profit margin (PM)

  • Client retention rate

  • Cost per hire

  • Cost per lead

  • Overtime hours

  • Customer turnover rate

  • Acceptance rate

  • Monthly sales achievement per employee

  • Number of qualified leads per month

  • Number of tasks completed per employee

  • Project resource use

  • Current accounts payable

Read more: A Complete Guide to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

2. Trends

Typically, an effective dashboard highlights various operational trends at weekly or monthly intervals. The trends section is an important element that allows managers and organization leaders to determine and notice emerging issues. To highlight trends, you may consider displaying the history of a few KPIs that are important for the organization, such as operational costs or task acceptance rate.

3. Customization

Designing an effective performance dashboard that many employees can benefit from typically requires that you make it customizable and easy to use. This allows different teams or departments to view different data or change its format based on their role's objectives. For example, a project manager may choose to view how many tasks employees complete daily, whereas a compensation manager may track the same data monthly.

4. Imagery

Using images, widgets or pie charts in performance dashboards allows users to easily visualize large chunks of data. They make dashboards more attractive and simple to understand. By using relevant imagery and colors, you can highlight important KPIs or personalize the dashboard for each individual. For example, if you're measuring sales performance, you may consider placing an employee's picture next to their monthly sales score to give it a more personalized feel.

5. Real-time analytics

In addition to displaying trends and historical data , it's important for performance dashboards to display real-time data. This helps you understand what's happening within the company right now, so you can keep track of important resources and address current issues. A good example of real-time analytics is a chart highlighting overdue payments or tasks that the employees may want to prioritize.

Types of business performance dashboards

Tracking operational and business performance is important in almost every industry. Here are examples of some of the most common dashboards that employers and managers choose for their organizations:

Sales performance dashboards

A sales performance dashboard is a tool that helps salespeople, sales managers and clients monitor and track sales. It typically allows them to track KPIs and better understand which promotional campaigns and efforts are effective and which ones they can invest in to increase company revenue. Essential KPIs for sales performance dashboards are cost per click (CPC) or conversion rate into leads.

Marketing performance dashboards

Businesses use marketing dashboards to track and measure how well a campaign or product is performing. A well-designed dashboard allows them to better understand how the conversion funnel is performing and if the marketing team's efforts are enough to generate enough traffic or sales. Dashboards that include both trends and real-time data help marketers determine how well their current campaigns are performing in relation to past strategies.

Related: The Benefits and Types of Marketing Dashboards

PR and communications performance dashboards

PR and communication dashboards are effective tools that help companies plan, implement, track, measure and analyze promotional campaigns and monitor continuously changing news cycles. Measuring applicable data and statistics helps PR teams track their goals, ensure the success of their projects and choose which media outlets to approach for each client campaign they're delivering. Typically, PR agencies choose performance dashboards to use industry-specific metrics, such as media coverage, potential viewership and social media engagement and reactions.

Financial performance dashboards

Financial performance dashboards provide insight into financial KPIs and allow for effective budget management. Some KPIs that you may want to include if you're designing a financial dashboard are an expense tracker, sales pipeline or long-term value drivers. Typically, dashboards of this type are essential for employees who work in accounting, compensation management, risk analysis or a new business.

Employee performance dashboards

An employee performance dashboard is an internal management tool that employers use to track and oversee the work of their employees. This type of dashboard typically includes critical information about each employee's daily and weekly performance, such as how many tasks they've completed and how effective their work has been. Managers use this information to measure an employee's success across multiple KPIs .

Read more: 13 Employee Performance Metrics and Why They're Important

Benefits of performance dashboards

There are many benefits of using dashboards in the workplace, including:

They save time

Most dashboards that track performance require you to adjust the settings and choose metrics only once. Upon successful creation of a performance dashboard, there's no need to frequently pull important business management data. Including trend metrics in your dashboard can help in both preventing issues and creating reports.

They put focus on KPIs

Key performance indicators are the essence of every dashboard. Many KPIs require large chunks of data that may seem intimidating to employees. With an effective dashboard, you can present the same data in a visually appealing way that makes the KPIs easier to understand.

Better decision-making

Dashboards that companies use help managers and leaders track the effectiveness of their operations and understand the situation of their companies. By using a well-designed dashboard, they can compare historical figures related to sales or marketing efforts with real-time analytics. This tool helps you make better organizational decisions because it pulls data from many sources and systems and combines it into a single interface that's easier to analyze.

How to make a business performance dashboard

Consider following these simple steps to create a dashboard that tracks your team's performance:

1. Decide which metrics are important

The first step in making an effective dashboard is deciding which metrics are important. For example, if you're responsible for managing and overseeing the work of an accounting department, you may consider focusing on financial performance metrics and KPIs. This may include gross profit margin, financial leverage or total seasonality.

Related: 4 Examples of Key Performance Metrics To Track

2. Design how your dashboard looks

Choosing a simple format for your dashboard may help you avoid distractions. To increase the dashboard's effectiveness, consider using different charts, widgets or other data visualization tools that present KPIs attractively. You may even consider introducing the option of switching between different views. This way, every user can decide how they prefer to view the data.

3. Make it interactive

It's important to give dashboard users the option to customize it and view different sets of data that are relevant to their roles or projects. Making the dashboard interactive may simply require the ability to switch from a weekly to a monthly view or export data to a PDF for reporting. To make using the dashboard more appealing, consider adding color palettes so users can personalize it.

4. Analyze effectiveness and implement changes

It's possible that the dashboard you've created may require some adjustments. To better understand if there are any ways to improve it, consider asking regular dashboard users. Their opinion and comments may help you decide if there are any metrics that you can add or KPIs that haven't been useful. Review how the tool is performing every couple of months to adjust it to better reflect the organization's new goals and operational focuses.

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