The HR industry talks a lot about analytics and data. Yet are we using data to link talent decisions to business? Not as much as we could be. There are many things to measure and a whole host of ways to measure them. The connection between the people in our organizations and the success of the business are so intertwined that it’s hard to believe that we ever separated the two. But even with powerful data readily available, are the majority of organizations using applicable information to their advantage? Maybe not. Are most HR departments just skimming the top of the analytics iceberg? Unfortunately yes.
We all know that talent acquisition, training and onboarding is time consuming and expensive. The figures vary across industries and titles, but selecting employees who are knowledgeable, trainable and a good fit for the workplace culture is a fine art. But once that person is a full-fledged member of the team, how are we retaining him or her? And even more importantly, how are we aligning people to the bottom line? It can be simple or incredibly challenging, depending on how the business sets up an analytics dashboard.
Let’s take a deep dive into a few HR metrics that truly matter to the business (and these are just a handful). Let me also acknowledge that these metrics don’t just magically bubble to the surface. Workforce planning, applicable processes and savvy tools are necessary to reveal the truth.
Employee engagement. It’s almost become a buzz phrase in the HR world, but that’s because it matters. Let’s look at this in a linear fashion. Effective leaders are driven to engage their employees. Engaged employees tend to be happier. And what do happy employees do? They produce great work and they stay. Everyone wins! Engagement scores can be calculated from survey scores about the supervisor-employee relationship. In my opinion, high engagement should be taught to managers and required as a success metric. Consistently low engagement on a team should be addressed with the leader and a remediation plan should be put into place. It’s costing the business money and change needs to happen.
It’s simple to track how many days an employee missed during a certain timeframe. But if you aren’t taking a hard look at why certain teams have a higher rate of absenteeism, you are deliberately missing the boat. Is the manager working the team too hard? Is the team under-engaged? Pinpointing teams with high absenteeism and exploring the reasons why this is the case is another wise business move.
Most organizations can provide a number of resignations in the last year. They may even be able to provide some explanations for an increase. But with the right tools, patterns can be revealed that aren’t all that obvious. I could geek out talking about patterns and predictive analytics for who may resign in the future – it’s fascinating. I mean, Debbie is still a human and how we treat her is way more important than a computer’s prediction for her summertime resignation letter; but if we can see it coming and make wise business decisions to hold onto key employees, why not?
Money, Money, Money
When HR was asked to justify an expense or explain budgetary decisions, it used to be awkward and embarrassing. Compared to the finance or marketing department, HR was often seen as a black hole. Well that just isn’t the case anymore. Or at least it shouldn’t be in your organization. With the ability to align costs with output, people with profits, hires with increased productivity, pay raises with palpable potential, HR can and should show any executive or money cruncher that we know how, when, where and why money is and will be spent. There are former HR executives that would kill to have had this data at their fingertips. In fact, be sure not to flaunt it in front of a retired HR pro. He or she may have a flashback and lash out at you.
Just kidding. Well, kind of.
There are so many HR metrics out there that are dying to be used to make wise business decisions. So quit reading about them—imagining how nice they would be. Find out how to weave them into your workforce planning and be amazed at how easy they are to access. I will be talking more about this topic on a webinar with our friends at Visier January 21 at 2pm ET. Join us!
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