Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wouldn't it be Cool, if Employees had Baseball Cards

I think Major League Baseball has it all figured out. They really know which Metrics that Matter to their teams.

Picture this, instead of a resume, all employees carried with them a "Baseball Card" aka Employee Talent card. On that card, you have stats like:
  • % of goal attainment

  • % of revenue increase

  • % improvement in a specific competency from last year

  • # new accounts won and lost

Having information like this would sure make it easier to: 1) Acquire new talent (draft) 2) Trade non-performing or misaligned talent 3) Fire under performing talent

During the employment cycle employees can add to their Talent Cards by including things like:

  • Performance ratings last 3 years

  • Productivity numbers

  • Special project results

As in baseball, I can't imagine keeping an employee that gets up to bat time and time again without EVER hitting a ball. These cards could replace resumes and performance appraisals all in one swoop! (I mean crack of the bat!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

How to tell a GREAT data story

Many times we are asked, "How do I present my data (employee engagement, HR scorecard, customer data etc.) to management?"

I learned this lesson the HARD way. I can't tell you how many data-rich presentations I have given or listened to where managers were checking their email, drawing stick figures, or maybe even dozing off!

So, I decided it was time to get their attention at the beginning of the story. I simply moved the climax of the story right to the front. The reason being, we all know how long our executives pay attention to the spoken word and PowerPoint. If we are lucky maybe 2 minutes.

Based on our experience, we now start with a "Killer Slide." This slide tells the data story in one or two very succinct pages. For example, regarding employee engagement, management wants to know what drives it, how the company is performing in that area and what are we going to do to fix it or sustain it. Sounds like a lot for 1-2 pages, but it can be done. The rest of the story is just back up for the killer slides. Some managers will want all the details, some do not.

Another important element of a great data story, is the action plan. Give the team the facts in one to two pages, then unfold your well thought out plan for improvement. Even if the data is good, there is always room to raise the bar.

I know it is tempting to insert endless graphs, charts and verbiage. The goal of the exercise is to take action and to increase company performance not to showcase excellent Excel charting skills.

Remember who your audience is, they are not novel readers, they like the cliff-notes!

Friday, August 22, 2008

12 HR Metrics to START with

Many times over the last few months, I have been asked, "Which HR metrics can I start with?"

My standard answer is usually, those metrics are unique to your HR department and your company strategy. What I have realized is that some people just need a starting point. Because there are so many HR metrics to choose from it gets very overwhelming. So, if I wanted to start with just 12 metrics, these are the ones I would pick:

1) Revenue per employee (to see trends which will lead to asking "what happened there?")

2) Turnover/Retention by department, supervisor, performance, age, etc.

3) Recruiting: Cost per hire

4) Recruiting: Choose appropriate efficiency measure, response time, time to fill, etc.

5) Recruiting: Average new hire performance rating

6) Total HR expense/total revenues

7) Company and departmental level employee engagement scores

8) Compensation budget variance

9) HR service delivery satisfaction rating

10) Training spend per Full time employee

11) Training: Appropriate results based metric after training i.e. customer satisfaction score

12) % of strategic competencies available in organization

These 12 should get you off to a good start and will produce the classic follow up question, "why is that?" Answering the WHY questions will help you customize your HR metrics to your own company needs.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Turnover Analysis: Peel back the Onion!

So many times when we ask our clients what they are measuring In HR, we hear, "Turnover." I think turnover (some are now using the term retention) is a very good metric IF you analyze the data correctly.

We see a trend in our practice, where managers are looking for "root causes" regarding workplace issues. Turnover is no different. When you report turnover numbers to management, they want to know three things:

  1. Who is leaving?
  2. Why are they leaving?
  3. What can we do to retain them?

To answer those questions we need to get out our detective equipment and start digging. Instead of looking at turnover for the entire enterprise or by department, go a few steps further. Investigate turnover by:

  1. Tenure
  2. Supervisor
  3. Performance
  4. Age
  5. Location
  6. Engagement scores

By taking a more granular approach to analysis, you will find out some amazing information. For example, what if you looked at your high performers and your most highly engaged employees and found that turnover is 20% for that group? After, panic sets in, then you need to start understanding WHY they are they leaving. This requires looking at qualitative data like exit interviews, focus group data, managerial interviews, etc. The goal is CAUSATION so that you can make improvements to the work experience.

Age, is another interesting data slice. With four generations in our workforce it is interesting to look at turnover by traditionlists, boomers, Xers, and Yers.

Get out your magnifying glass and happy analyzing!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Carnival of HR

The Carnival of HR is a synopsis of 25 or so HR related blogs compiled by one blogger. This is the 40th post for the Carnival. It is VERY interesting reading and of course yours truly is mentioned.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Activity vs. Value Measures

I have just read an article on HR Executive Online, entitled, Barriers to Becoming More Strategic. Here is an exert:

"HR should also develop a strategic plan with measurable performance metrics to demonstrate how their work contributes to the agency's mission. Potential metrics, Davidson says, include:

* Cost and time per hire.

* Number of employees who have attended diversity training.

* Number of employees who were hired from a specific target group -- veterans with disabilities, for example. "

I will argue that the above mentioned metrics will be a huge barrier to becoming strategic. Those metrics are just about activities . They are important to track regarding productivity, costs and compliance. They are important for an HR Department to monitor. But my question is, "What was the result?" It is like having half of the story.

What really matters are the results. To be strategic HR must focus on the Value Metrics.

So instead of cost per hire and time to fill, focus on performance, productivity and revenue increases of new hires.

Instead of #'s of employees that attended a training session, focus on what business results what achieved after that new knowledge was obtained (ROI).

Instead of just looking at hires from specific groups, look at retention and performance of those groups as well.

Wouldn't you rather go to your CEO and say, "AS a result of our Customer Service Training...our customer satisfaction index increased 5% last quarter and we are ahead of last year's budget on new business by 14%, our CSR retention rate is 87% resulting in an increase of revenue per employee of $1200.


You could say, "We trained 142 employees last quarter." I am sure that will get you invited to the next Executive Meeting that you have been dying to attend.