If you don’t know and track your metrics, you can’t improve them.
Leaders know, you track the metrics you want to improve. If you don’t know where you are, how will you know if you are closer to where you want to be. Most companies, for example, implement complicated CRM systems to painstakingly track sales funnels against their quotas and quarterly projections with each team member logging in daily to view their progress. Without it, they know sales numbers will surely suffer. And worse, managers wouldn’t know if there was a problem until it was too late.
The Importance of Tracking Talent Metrics
Ironically while we invest large sums of time, attention and money to track sales to the dollar, we ignore a factor which impacts those same numbers by up to 24% – employee engagement. In so doing, we are failing to optimize our most precious asset, our talent. And we are underutilizing our most effective differentiator, our culture.
In fairness, tracking employee engagement and happiness can feel like a losing battle. It is difficult to know which metrics and talent practices drive company outcomes. And given the market, once you identify what to measure, it feels like a moving target. However, new research, insights and capabilities have made it much easier. So where to start?
The good news, tracking human resource metrics works much the same as tracking anything, like sales, when you get down to basics. The first step is to set a goal which is tied to company outcomes which will drive business performance. For example, a company may be focused on minimizing cost by increasing employee retention or a company may want to improve customer renewals via improved onboard and training of their customer facing team. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on increasing employee happiness since studies show when employees are happy (in a good mood), they are more productive, make better teammates and are more creative (to mention just a few benefits). Together these factors equal a much better bottom line for the business.
Identify Metrics to Track Against the Goal
If the goal is the destination then the metrics indicate if you are headed in the right direction. Some metrics are easy to identify, like increased new sales or shorter time-to-hire. But the harder to measure goals are no less important and still have a major impact on business performance. Thus, companies may have to think one level deeper to identify or create a new metric. For example, an employee happiness indicator could be a simple sentiment question on a pulse survey, such as “How are you feeling, today?” or an eNPS survey asking, “How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend?”
Measure Frequently and Consistently
If asked once, sentiment questions have limited value. Ideally, metrics are tracked often and displayed in easy-to-visualize charts and graphs, so you can identify your desired baseline and measure against it. E.g. observe whether you are moving toward your goals. (And to track which variables impact your progress. See below).
When metrics are consistently and continuously tracked, and actions and initiatives are tagged, you can observe how factors and activities impact metrics and you can start isolating the triggers which will impact it, positively. Even with a more elusive example like employee happiness, with the right data visual, you can easily observe whether an action positively or negatively impacts the trend.
Pivot When Necessary
If you find your numbers decreasing, it is important to investigate the deeper cause. Identify the problem, pivot the solution and start the process again. When your numbers are headed in the right direction, keep an eye on them to stay ahead of potential problems.
Tracking HR metrics is not easy, but it is worth it. With the right feedback tools and data outputs it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. We promise. So what is your most important HR goal? We’d love to hear.