Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Does Google Have a Retention Formula?

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal this week regarding Google and their need to get a handle on their turnover issues. I thought I was dreaming. Google and a retention problem? We are in crazy times.

The article states that in true Google fashion, they are tacking this problem like any other. They are using math, in particular a very complex algorithm that will predict which employees are at risk for leaving.

I find this fascinating as a person that loves HR Metrics and as a person that loves predictive HR Metrics.

Google is not explaining the details but say, "the inputs include information from surveys and peer reviews, and the algorithm already has identified employees who felt underused, a key complaint among those who contemplate leaving."

Because many of their top executives have recently left, Google felt the need to understand why people were leaving and who is vulnerable, so they could intervene prior to departure.

One of the comments on the Wall Street Journal online community from Gregory Lynn states that, "Google needs to develop a human touch versus always looking to technology." Great point, Gregory!

While the algorithm may give you who is vulnerable, you have to actually do something about the issues that caused disengagement with the company. (human touch)

So while I love the idea of using predictive metrics in HR, you have to balance that with the fact that you are measuring people and they are complicated. And sometimes, you need a little insight with your data. I think when you marry good data with company insight you get some great intelligence to use for better decisions.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Survey Says....

You are so excited to get your employee/customer survey results back and you read through the 110 page report and you have no idea what to do next. Sound familiar?

Many times, our clients have asked us what should we do as a result of their survey results. Employee surveys can yield an overwhelming amount of data. You can have the data sliced by geography, supervisor, tenure, department and so on. The possibilities are endless. What you really want to know is, WHAT DRIVES EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT. Because if your know that answer, you can continue what you are doing well and improve what you are not doing well to increase engagement.

The same is true for customer surveys. You need to know what drives their engagement as well. As you have read on previous posts, we believe that there is a direct relationship between employee and customer engagement. Going one step further we feel that a "service mirror" exists where your employees commitment is directly "reflected" (felt and understood) by your customers.

So why stop with the drivers of employee and customer engagement, take it one step further and see how those drivers impact your business results. See model below:

Yes, this driver and impact analysis uses more complex statistics such as correlations and multiple regressions, but the intelligence created is priceless. Wouldn't you like to know which employee behaviors are valued by your customers that impact repeat business? (instead of endless pages of mean scores that do not tie to anything?) I would!
Looking at the circles in the middle of the model containing, leadership, strategy, culture, employees and customer, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Those are the areas that are very hard for your competitors to duplicate, they are your competitive advantage. Because these areas are unique to your business you need assessment tools that are unique as well. An off the shelf survey product will not give you the data you need to make better business decisions.

So the next time you start a data gathering exercise make sure you customize the survey tool and analyze the results to get to what drives YOUR desired business results. Your thoughts?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Win a Complimentary HR Audit

Could your company be the lucky winner of a complimentary HR Audit to be conducted by Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR? ICC is conducting its first ever WIN AN AUDIT contest. Here is what you need to do:

1) Tell us why you are in need of an HR Audit. What challenges are you facing?
2) How many employees do you have and what industry are you in?
3) Where is your location? (must be within 4 hours of Atlanta or travel must be paid by winner)
4) Company name
5) Be creative; send us pictures, a video, anything!

Here is what you will receive:

1) A comprehensive HR audit that examines the following areas:

a. HR Strategy and Metrics
b. Policies and Procedures
c. Compliance
d. Recruiting procedures and metrics
e. Performance Management
f. Career development
g. Benefits
h. Compensation
i. Recordkeeping

2) A detailed report will be provided with findings and recommendations in order of priority

3) Consultant will come on site for one day and provide winner with a list of items needed prior to coming on site (copies of policies, handbook, etc.)

4) Consultant will phone interview 4 key executives to understand how HR is perceived and how services are being delivered.

Rules of entry:

1) Deadline to enter is May 18, 2009

2) Each company can have only one entry per company

3) Travel outside of Atlanta must be paid by winner

4) ICC will judge each entry based on challenges faced, and business case presented.

Why you should do this:

 You can use this information to prioritize what HR should focus on in the next 12- 18 months.

 Understand opportunities to be considered strategic vs. transactional.

 Make sure your policies are in compliance with new legislation like COBRA, FMLA, I-9, etc.

 It’s NO CHARGE!!! But this service is a $7500 value!!

Email all entries to: cathymartin@intellectual-capital.net.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What your Employee Metrics say about Your Company's Philosophy

I just read a press release regarding the Institute for Corporate Productivity's (i4cp) recent metrics study. The survey gathered data on which metrics companies are using as far as measuring Human Capital and Talent. What I found the most interesting is the following:

"What was most striking or interesting is that lower performers were more
likely to measure ‘cost’ metrics than high-performing organizations,” says
Mary Ann Downey, i4cp’s Talent Pillar director. “While at first glance this
may seem counterintuitive, it most likely reflects the attitude that
low-performing organizations see their employees as a mere expense and not a
source of competitive advantage.”

I believed this anecdotally, but this study has really proved my gut, which is those companies that look at "cost per" type of metrics rather than "value add" type of metrics really view their employees differently. And the big AHA is that LOWER performing companies have this practice according to this i4cp survey.

Another interesting finding was in regards to measuring turnover. While 81% measured attrition of voluntary and involuntary resignations, only 40% used other variables in the analysis. (demographics like tenure, length of service, high potentials, etc). I feel that you must "peel back the onion" (click to see previous post) to get to root causes of employee attrition...even in these crazy times.

According to the study, one of the key components to measure is employee engagement, even now. 93% of the high performing companies used engagement surveys while only 79% of the lower performing companies utilized surveys. Just like with turnover it is critical to get to root causes of employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction. That type of data is essential for HR professionals to understand what initiatives should be priorities. If your customers value and prioritize them, then HR should focus on those things that drive engagement.

So if you are not getting hte results you want and your are focused on cost rather than value and impact, yo may wantt o consider different metics and an engagement survey.

Thinking about an engagement survey for your employees? Click here for a sample employee engagement survey.