What is a Contribution Index?

Mary Lou Joseph May 6, 2014

A contribution index is a way of measuring employee performance on an elevated scale, one that rolls up individual metrics into high-level categories of performance that are the same for the entire enterprise. These categories are typically tied to the organizations’ strategic goals, such as customer satisfaction/quality of service; cost management/efficiency, and revenue generation.

These categories are weighted based on the importance to the individual, team, department or function, which helps ensure each function is focused on the factors that are crucial for their success.

A contribution index enables organizations to tie the performance of each employee to overall company goals, and employees have the transparency to see the impact of their performance on these goals.

For example, one business process outsourcer created enterprise performance management scorecards that rolled up six factors into an overall contribution score. Their categories of performance were productivity, adherence, quality, customer feedback scores, attendance, and an enhanced contribution score. Each factor was weighted so that, for example, a function that did not interact directly with customers would have a weighting of 0 under survey score—but might be more heavily weighted (40%) on productivity.

Unique to this organization is the enhanced contribution category. This is not a data-driven metric, but rather a qualitative assessment of performance by a manager. The organization felt there needed to be some acknowledgement for the human factor—are they team players, do they go the extra mile, or conversely, are they disruptive and negative influencers?

A vision insurer used three top categories for their contribution index: availability (% of time spent in production activities), quality (ranking on key quality/service metrics) and efficiency (for example, cost of item type worked on). Individual or team metrics rolled up into each of these categories. So for example, the quality score for individuals in the contact center was a roll-up of traditional contact center metrics such as average handle time, hold time, first call resolution, etc.

Having access to up-to-date performance data empowers the employee to own their performance, creating a more engaged workforce that is focused on helping the company achieve their strategic goals. According to Jim Harter Ph.D., a chief scientist at Gallup Research, “Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.”1

What factors might you include in a contribution index? Share your thoughts below.


1Employee Engagement Does More than Boost Productivity,” Harvard Business Review blog, John Baldoni, July 4, 2013.