How to plan work ability knowledge management

The purpose of work ability management is to support business activities. That is why the goals of work ability knowledge management are set based on your company’s strategy. When you have defined the goals, focus on planning and selecting indicators.

Start by defining the goals

Business-driven and strategic work ability management means defining goals together, based on your company’s strategy. This is how you ensure that you have picked the right goals. Pick only a few goals at a time. When you have achieved them, you can set new ones.

Set long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals. The long-term goal describes the state that you are targeting. The medium-term and short-term goals help you proceed in the right direction.

Simple is beautiful also in work ability indicators

Next, select the indicators that suit your goals. They vary between companies. If you are unsure what the suitable indicators are, take a look at what others are measuring and what research findings say about suitable indicators.

The most important things when selecting indicators are that

  • they fit the goals you have set
  • the required data is available to you

Read more about setting work ability management indicators

When selecting indicators, consider whether they are monitoring, result or business indicators. It is important to separate indicators because they are interpreted from different standpoints. Employees, supervisors, and management have different needs, even when the measured phenomenon is the same.

Set work ability indicators

Start with the monitoring indicators that fit your goals and proceed towards the result and business indicators. This ensures that the indicators are compatible, the change can be implemented and that its financial impact can be ascertained.

Using result indicators, you can manage existing processes in your daily work. When your goal is short-term change, develop quantitative result indicators and set goals to improve them for employees and supervisors.

Business indicators are used to improve operations and strategic indicators help you achieve longer-term planning and budgeting. For medium- and long-term change indicators for management, select indicators that show relative shares.

  1. In their strategy, the management of a construction company have made a decision to expand the construction business to property maintenance, which means new challenges for work ability management. The work will change, and the construction company has taken on the goal of reducing the physical workload.

    1. The workload can be measured at the monitoring indicator level, for example by monitoring the development of the number of lifts and strenuous work positions.
    2. The change in the number of strenuous work positions is illustrated at the result indicator level after updating the work processes and after the training given to personnel.
    3. The business indicator is the cost of renewing the work processes in relation to the savings brought by reduced stress-induced absences.

    Depending on the indicator, also the measurement methods change: in indicators measuring efficiency, the data often comes directly from the performed work. When effectiveness is measured, interviews or surveys are often needed. In planning indicators, things need to have a price, based on either an estimate or financial outcome.

    The table below illustrates the differences between various indicators in the made-up construction company. The goal is reducing the physical workload.

    Considerations when measuring Monitoring indicators Result indicators Business indicators
    Target of the measurement The number of lifts and strenuous work positions and absences due to illness The change in the number of lifts and strenuous work positions after the renewal of work processes, the change in ways of working and the change in absences due to illness The costs and/or benefits of the renewal of the processes in relation to the achieved savings and change in ways of working
    Measurement methods Assessment of workload and monitoring of statistics Surveys, interviews, and monitoring of statistics Sick leave costs, costs from disability and work development costs
    Target group Employees and supervisors Business management Board of Directors and senior management
    Goal Monitoring and reporting of existing work processes:
    Improving work processes or reorganising processes: effectiveness Planning of new work processes and investments: productivity
    Change period Short Medium Long
    Monitoring level Operational Tactical Strategic

You get what you measure

Decide the Key Performance Indicators (KPI). These are carefully selected, key indicators that are monitored closely and whose results you try to impact directly. A KPI has to simplify the phenomenon being measured sufficiently and the issues impacting it must be known. The KPI must also measure something that you can change in your company with decision making or actions. A KPI can be a monitoring, result or business indicator. Bear in mind that when selecting KPIs, you get what you measure.

Check out a list of the most common work ability risk indicators

Take a look at what personnel KPIs Ilmarinen uses in its operations