Tie HR Metrics to Business Performance Measures

The value of the dashboard or metric varies by the person using the information – for instance, a CEO will want different information than a line manager. Kym Burke, Vice President of HRConnect, suggests HR Shared Services Centers look for ways to tie HR metrics to business and company performance measures.

1. It is one thing for data analysts to discover and digest best practices related to talent through the use of data analytics, but how can this knowledge be imparted to personnel managers?

Personnel – or people – managers must know how to do talent management, which is more than dealing with day-to-day performance issues. If they understand and advocate resource planning and talent reviews, they will be interested in the data available to them through Human Capital Management (HCM) systems. At the same time, they are not analysts and have limited time to dig into the data, so the HR organization should understand their information needs and design reports or dashboards to give them the data they need. Moreover, the role of the HR Business Partner becomes even more critical in this model to help the people manager interpret and apply the data to their work situation and business environment. Lastly, offering this information just-in-time makes it relevant and designing it in bite-size formats makes it digestible and easy-to-read/-use.

2. For large companies in particular, as human resources processes become more automated, HR professionals are starting to drown in large volumes of data related to job performance and satisfaction. Could you recommend any dashboards or metrics that you think work particularly well?

Always look for ways to tie HR metrics to business and company performance measures. And, remember that the value of the dashboard or metric varies by the person using the information: a CEO will want different information than a line manager. Having said that, the cost of talent really seems to resonate with most stakeholders: retention and turnover data, including acquisition costs, time-to-hire or time-to-productivity, turnover percentages, high volatility areas/jobs and other relevant metrics. Managers also request dashboards that give them daily insight into their workforce; they are interested in headcount, roles, compensation, leaves and performance as well as a way to view history to look for trends. Leaders often ask for some of the “big data” metrics that we are just beginning to explore, where we mix HR, sales, finance and external benchmark data to create a glimpse into the highest potential employees that are significant contributors to an organization’s value.

3. What metrics do you depend on to tell you about your organization’s employee retention and whether an organization is meeting its leadership and recruiting targets?

We use much of the turnover data mentioned earlier, including cost of acquisition, turnover percentages, reasons for hire and termination, sheer volume as a whole and by role, demographics and more. We also use an all-employee survey to measure engagement – this data is cut by team and manager and provided to the business to support specific business unit and local team action planning and individual development plans. We also look at continuing education costs: tuition reimbursement usage, learning utilization, training costs and contingent labor metrics.

4. Do you have any suggestions for creating effective employee surveys?

Keep it simple and consistent to check progress. Make it available – we do our survey online, which can be accessed anywhere, anytime and encourage employees to do it at work access points if they haven’t completed it. Offer incentives to encourage participation – limited data makes the instrument invalid. Consider “cuts” of data and who will want to know what. Mostly, consider it as one data point in a much bigger picture.

5. What has changed in the HR Shared Services industry and what excites you for the future?

The availability and reliability of software-as-a-service applications in the HR arena has changed what we can do and how we do it. There is less reliance on often scarce and expensive internal and external technology resources; it has been replaced by HR user communities and common practices and processes. Access and availability is expanding, which keeps people top of mind for business leaders. The systems also force clarity, transparency, performance and simplicity in a variety of ways: roles, process, performance, communication and management. 

I’m excited that HR professionals – who have always been the “people” people – can now speak the language that business leaders and Wall Street understand, that we can tie employee engagement and talent management to productivity, revenue generation and financial success. We’re at our infancy in this space, so it will be exciting to see what the future brings. I’m also excited about the evolving ease and simplicity of the systems to drive customer satisfaction – this makes adoption and usage a no-brainer. I’m also excited to see how the workforce will use this information to revive their passion and engagement in what their companies are trying to achieve and how to build their brands – this will have universal impact.

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