Tag Archives: Metrics

Measuring Human Resources Isn’t the Goal

When we talk about metrics, analytics, and business intelligence, we forget that measuring human resources isn’t the goal.

It’s an objective. Yes, we need to do it, but it isn’t the end of the process. At the end, after we’ve spent all the time and effort measuring human resources as best we can, all we have is data.

And it’s what you do with that data that matters.

Measuring human resources with lean analytics

This is a massive post on analytics. Not specifically written for HR, but wildly valuable. Here’s a snippet to get you started:

This should not be news to you. To win in business you need to follow this process: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act. Online, offline or nonline.

Yet this structure rarely exists in companies.

We are far too enamored with data collection and reporting the standard metrics we love because others love them because someone else said they were nice so many years ago.

And so starts a long, detailed journey into using analytics for business.

For the visual learners

measuring human resources

This handy dandy chart is there for those of us who learn by seeing. It’s a great representation of the flow for actually using metrics versus simply collecting them. If you want to simplify that further and look at four key steps in the process, here they are:

  1. Figure out what to improve (What’s the problem?)
  2. Form a hypothesis (I think xyz will solve the problem.)
  3. Create an experiment (Let’s test xyz.)
  4. Measure and decide what to do

Each of those steps is important, but the one I see most often lacking is number 4. In the big scheme of things it’s relatively easy to guess a problem (#1), guess a solution (#2) and test out an idea on a pilot group of employees/managers (#3). It’s the moment when you are actually measuring human resources and making decisions based on those measurements that I see the problems come in. People lose focus. They don’t know what to do. They might not really want to know the answer to the problem at hand.

It could be a dozen different things, but I would encourage you that step 4 is where you see the best HR pros stand out. They are the ones that embody the true purpose of human resources.

For those measuring human resources

As I read through the amazing article I linked above, I kept wondering about HR topics, and I realized I already have a go-to resource for those questions.

If you are looking for ideas of what to measure, how to use it, etc. in an HR context, please check out everything that Cathy Missildine-Martin has ever written. She does great work and is highly competent in this area.

Realistic Job Previews Make Better Hires

Realistic job previews aren’t new or groundbreaking. (But people still don’t do them.)


Honestly, I don’t know.

Here’s a little snippet from a recent SHRM article.

“One way to avoid quick quits is to be real in describing what it will be like on days 5, 50 and 150 for that candidate during the interviewing process,” Erker said. “Painting a rosy picture or pulling a bait-and-switch once they’re on the job will just mean you’ll fill that position again in six to 12 months.”

Realistic job previews in a nutshell

Tell the candidates what the job will be like. In real terms. Every aspect of it that you can quantify.

  • customers
  • teammates
  • managers
  • senior leaders
  • daily tasks
  • big projects
  • and whatever else you can think of

Sugarcoating or hiding any negative aspects of the job is the best way to ensure that the new employee doesn’t stick around for long. Why? Because you’ve lied to them. Yep.

Remember that it is not enough to abstain from lying by word of mouth; for the worst lies are often conveyed by a false look, smile, or act. Abraham Cahan

When you try to avoid telling someone the whole story just because you want to get them started in the job, that’s about as short-sighted as you can possibly be.

Measuring your success with realistic job previews

One of the recruiting metrics that I put a lot of stock in is first year turnover. Some measure of turnover is healthy in an organization over the long haul, but turnover within the first year is a negative thing.

I think there’s a high correlation in first year turnover and a solid realistic job preview during the interview process. Offering full insight into the job with time for both pros and cons lets the person make an informed decision about whether the job and company are truly a fit for them.

Omitting the negative aspects from the interview might get the person to accept a job offer, but you can bet that they won’t be sticking around a year later.

Take the time to give your candidates realistic job previews and you’ll have better hires.

Or you can lie. Fake it. I’m sure that will work out fine, too. </sarcasm font>

Department Metrics-Gaining Instant Credibility

You hate him, don’t you. That guy from marketing (or accounting, finance, etc.) always has to show off with his slick charts and pretty presentations. I mean, what are we going to do? We’re in HR, darn it. We can’t be that snazzy, can we?

The first time I shared some HR department metrics with our leadership team, I wasn’t sure what format they needed to be in. I pretty much dropped in the basic numbers and presented them as-is. However, I’ve since learned more about how our leadership team likes to review information, and I am working to get the data into a format that they understand and expect.

What I learned

The big key for us is fairly simple. Continue reading

HR Metrics Summit

human resources metricsI’ve been thinking more and more about HR metrics lately. Why? Because the new job requires me to actually use my brain. Well, I started looking around for some resources that would help me get up to speed, and about that same time I was contacted by someone at IQPC to see if I wanted to attend the 2011 HR Metrics Summit in Chicago. Talk about coincidence!

Click here to learn more about the event.

After checking into the event, I am really excited to be able to attend. Not only is Tim Sackett going to be presenting, but I’ll get to hear from other industry leaders about how to measure and analyze the business from an HR perspective. Some of the sessions I’m excited about: Continue reading

HR Metrics-Two ways to make them rock

Rock starI’ve recently come across two great ways to make your HR metrics more powerful. It doesn’t require that you really do more of anything if you already collect and report on the numbers, so that’s what makes it so easy.

Stop collecting fuzzy stuff.

Just stop. Please. We really don’t need an exact number telling us how “happy” employees are. Stop collecting data on fuzzy stuff. Instead, consider average cost/time to hire, aggregate turnover costs,  or something else that’s easy to grasp and understand its impact on the overall financial standing of the organization.

Report alongside other business data.

When it’s time to share those cold, hard facts, make sure the information is embedded in or grouped with other key financial indicators. Your numbers will instantly be more credible, and there’s a good chance they’ll be looked at (as opposed to dropping a separate “HR only” report at another time, which might signify the data isn’t important enough to be shared with other critical information).

Really simple to do. Surprisingly effective from the stories I’ve been told. What do you think?

Photo by crsan.