KPIs in HR


The AgCareers.com Team

In the swine industry, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important to monitor from a human resources perspective as well. The people of your pork production operation are essential to its success. Hiring the right people, then providing the necessary training, guidance, compensation and rewards enable your organization to grow and prosper. Performance management systems help confirm you are meeting objectives and recognize employee accomplishments.

Data collected from agribusinesses indicates that more than 70% have a structured staff performance system in place and the majority noted this performance was linked to a reward such as a bonus, commission or profit sharing. These organizations said the main objectives for their performance rewards were to improve business performance, achieve business objectives, and enhance individual performance. Organizations said that performance rewards were based mainly on company and individual performance (2015-2016 AgCareers.com U.S. and Canadian AGRIBUSINESS HR REVIEW).

“Agribusiness companies providing performance rewards seek mutual benefits for both employee and employer, supporting growth and achievement within the industry while creating value for the workforce that supports it,” says Mary Barefoot, AgCareers.com Director of HR Services.

Performance management systems begin with planning work and setting expectations with your team members, then continually monitoring and periodically rating their performance. AgCareers.com has identified Key Performance Indicators to assist in developing your performance system:



Displays the ability to express ideas clearly, concisely, and effectively, across the organization. Listens well, shares work-related information and works well with other's work styles. Ability to work with others in a courteous and effective manner. Interacts and cooperates with others to ensure the organization's objectives and goals are met. Resolves conflicts effectively. Promotes departmental and inter-departmental teamwork. Interacts effectively with supervisor.


Demonstrates a willingness to make significant contributions with little direction, to be involved in new initiatives, and to attempt non-routine tasks. Displays energy, enthusiasm, ingenuity, and versatility. Offers suggestions to solve problems and improve operations. Exercises independent actions within limits of authority.


Understands that all parts of the organization must work together, including the need for supervision and direction. Voluntarily gives and receives help. Values contributions made by others. Is able to function in a joint cooperation manner while supporting the plans, programs, policies, procedures and other team members.


The employee demonstrates a consistent high standard of work while maintaining daily workflow. Work produced by the employee is thorough, accurate and neat. Displays the ability to work under pressure and learns from previous mistakes.


Has a positive attitude toward his/her work. Demonstrates respect, honesty, integrity, and fairness.


Takes responsibility and holds oneself accountable. Follows through in a reliable, trustworthy and timely manner.


Performance evaluations, or “reviews” are an opportunity for positive recognition and restatement of critical points. Typically, animal production operations implemented their performance system annually (62%), according to the HR REVIEW. However, to be effective, the review system requires year-round effort. Supervisors should be communicating both positive and negative feedback to employees regarding KPIs on a regular basis not limited to once a year.

These communications are essential to a successful operation. Believe it or not, your employees want to hear how they are doing and it’s important they hear it from you! This provides further opportunity for feedback, which supports employee growth and development. It also allows a mechanism for planning, monitoring, and evaluating employee performance and development, and supports the organization’s reward, recognition, and other personnel decisions. If done well, reviews can effectively improve employee morale and retention by keeping job expectations clear and helping employees stay focused on goals directly aligned with your business.

To help you get started, consider the following steps to completing an effective performance evaluation:


Preparation is the step that sometimes does not receive as much attention as managers should devote to it. The goal of this stage is to do everything possible to pave the way for a well-formed, productive discussion. Schedule a meeting time; provide plenty of advanced notice and ensure enough time is allotted to conduct the review.

Have the employee submit a self-assessment in advance of the meeting. This self-assessment consists of a summary of the results, outcomes and contributions related to the employee’s job expectations, development plan and goals.

Managers should review their organization’s performance evaluation documentation including KPIs, rating definitions, recent and prior performance reviews, employee’s selfassessment, notes from the supervisory file, along with employee’s goals and evaluation criteria.

Your notes should include a summary of the employee’s contributions, results, and any associated work behavior. You also want to elaborate on your comments with very specific examples. While you do not need to detail every contribution and result for the entire period, you should highlight how their contributions have helped meet their individual or the team goals.

In an AgCareers.com poll, employees said the most important thing a manager could do was to provide specific goals and objectives. The performance evaluation gives you the opportunity to reiterate or make modifications to their outlined goals.


A simple process includes allowing a two-way dialogue with your employee. Open the discussion by asking your team member to summarize their self-assessment. Be sure to listen and acknowledge areas of consensus. You will also want to highlight where you have a differing perspective from your employee’s self-assessment.

Follow this with your assessment. Articulate your thoughts by considering “What are the most important points that need to be communicated to the employee about their performance during the review?” Share your assessment with the team member by providing both strengths and areas that you’ve previously discussed that need continued improvement. Try to anticipate questions from the employee, and most importantly, support your comments through the use of specific examples. Help the employee understand how KPIs impact the organization as a whole.

Does the employee need additional training to excel in their role? Looking specifically at animal production operations, training and development programs were the number one way they motivated employees in order to keep them productive and challenged by their role (2015-2016 AgCareers.com U.S. and Canadian AGRIBUSINESS HR REVIEW).

At the end of the discussion, allow the team member to ask questions and address other potential concerns. Be sure to review the core points and clarify the points of agreement as well as differences. Outline any changes or new goals for the next period and follow by assigning deadlines and next steps.


It is recommended that you have signatures and a date on your performance documentation before filing. If for some reason your employee does not agree with the evaluation and refuses to sign it, it is okay to note the date you presented it and then sign the copy you presented. Retain the signed document in the employee’s personnel file, and provide them a copy.


When it comes down to it, performance reviews should not be used as a time to take out frustrations and criticisms on employees—this is how performance reviews got the negative connotation and do nothing for the organization or employee. Make sure you are communicating both praise and constructive criticism throughout the year and not saving it all for evaluation time. Performance reviews should be an opportunity for positive recognition and reinforcement of key performance indicators. There should be no surprises during a performance review!

By following a structured process and ensuring you haveappropriate documentation and meaningful discussion with your employees, you will find that if done well, your performance management system will improve employee morale and strengthen your operation’s employee retention.

- The AgCareers.com Team
AgCareers.com is the leading ag-specific online career portal and human resource service provider for the agricultural industry. The company strives to improve the industry by connecting job seekers and employers with a targeted, online tool that is economical and produces results. For more information, visit www.AgCareers.com.