WITH the arrival of the new year, all working sectors and employers in the country are busy preparing their target for the year.

The best way to achieve these targets is by having Key Performance Indicators (KPI). The use of KPI is not something new. All working sectors have for years adopted KPI as part of their working routine.

KPI has become a worldwide trend, where organisations use it to measure their weekly, monthly or yearly performance, achievements or level of success.

A KPI can provide a clear picture of employees’ work performance and productivity. Although the use of KPI can bring many advantages, it can also lead to many problems if not drafted realistically.

A KPI that is unrealistic can create serious issues for employees, such as stress. If these issues prolong and are not handled properly at the early stage, it can lead to serious problems, like sleeping disorder, depression, hypertension, heart attack and even death.

This can also affect the productivity of the organisation, and reputation in the long term. With the current global economic uncertainty, issue of inflation and spread of the Covid-19 virus, the need for a realistic KPI is important.

Organisations and employers cannot prepare a KPI to suit their own interest or gain more profits without considering the surrounding factors faced by the country presently and capabilities of their employees.

An unrealistic KPI can include an impossibly short time period given to complete certain tasks, duties, activities or programmes; insufficient amounts of money allocated to carry out certain tasks, duties, activities or programmes; unfeasible number of workforce or manpower to carry out certain tasks, duties, activities or programmes; failure to match the KPI with the capabilities of employees.

These unrealistic targets can lead to stress among employees. It can also happen when an organisation or employer fails to consider the employees’ age.

A KPI should be developed according to the age group of the employees. We cannot use the same KPI for all employees.

An older employee may not be able to handle certain functions or duties due to decline in energy and health. As such, it is vital for the organisation or employer to take into account the age group of its employees when drafting a KPI.

Failure to prepare a realistic KPI can turn the workplace into an unconducive or hostile environment, which can result in bigger issues.

Such an environment can also expose the organisation or employer to legal action by the employee under labour laws.

A KPI should be drafted after taking into account appropriate information and feedback from employees.

The organisation or employer should discuss with all employees first before drafting a KPI. By doing this, there is a better idea and understanding of the overall activities, programmes and plans that need to be carried out and accomplished.

This will also create a better workplace environment for employees which is free from stress.

With the current global economic uncertainty and issues with the high cost of living, the organisation or employer should not add more hardship and burden employees with unrealistic KPI. Instead, it should adopt a more sympathetic approach.

At the same time, employees should also perform their duties and responsibilities honestly and diligently.

Employees must never break the trust and confidence given by the organisation or employer. Mutual understanding and cooperation will ensure a better workplace environment.

Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow, Associate Professor, Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com