Friday, July 16, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why HR Professionals Should Use Metrics

I speak and consult a lot on the topic of HR Metrics and it is one topic that I have been passionate about for a long time.  I always begin every one of my discussions with the business case for metrics.  Undoubtedly, I still get the question, "Why should I (HR) be concerned about metrics?"

Here are my top 10 reasons to why HR should be using metrics:

10.  Because Dave Ulrich and Jac Fitz-Enz says so
  9.  Measuring stuff is "in" this year
  8.  My boss is the CFO and he told me to
  7.  I heard, "what measures gets done" at a conference
  6.  I like those scorecards with all the pretty graphs and colors

And now, for my serious reasons....

 5. Performance is king, using this metric with other data is critical to retention, productivity, and engagement
4. Your C-Suite is much more demanding of data from HR post-recession
3. Your people as a competitive advantage depends on measurements leading to improvements and business results
2.  HR has been talking about being strategic, metrics is a tool that allows you to BE strategic
1.  If you are not using metrics you are already behind, companies now are moving from metrics to analytics  (to be predictive)

And here is reason number 1(A):  IF HR DOESN'T OWN HR METRICS SOMEONE ELSE WILL.

I personally prefer to keep HR metrics within HR.  So, if you aren't the number crunching type, then go out find yourself a great statistician, teach them the HR technical stuff if they don't know it and start measuring!!!

What are your reasons for measuring HR?  Perhaps, we can make this a top 20 list!


Chris Young said...

Great reasons to for HR pros to start using metrics, Cathy! I have shared your post with my readers in my Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week (found here: to encourage them to start making use of HR performance metrics if they are not already doing so.

Be well!

Unknown said...


Thanks so much for including me on your "Fab Five." I appreciate you reading and our continued support.


Barbara A Hughes said...

Great post, Cathy, and great reasons to make metrics the must-do for HR practitioners. The "serious" ones support the change in the way performance is going to be gauged in the future: from activity to impact; from a job to mission-critical contributions (yes, Jac Fitz-Enz really has got to me!). The only way this new kind of structure is going to be implemented is through the gathering of the right data and analyzing it in the right way.
There are going to be so many ways an organization can fulfill its human capital requirements; so having the right metrics now will enable an HR professional to move to analytics that can predict who, how and what. That's real value-added work.

Michael D. Haberman, SPHR said...

"Analytics"? Tell us more. What are they, how are they being used, and how can we learn?

Unknown said...

Wow, Mike...thanks for the great questions. First what are analytics, I don't know the official definition, but here is the Cathy version:

To me analytics taking data analysis several steps further by using historical data to research potential trends, analyze the effects of certain decisions or events, (initiatives) or to evaluate the performance of a group, business, team, etc. a

The goal of analytics is to improve the business by gaining knowledge and being PREDICTIVE which can be used to make improvements or changes.

So, we use analytics to try and predict rather than track what has already happened (turnover). So if we tracked turnover over time, looking at who was leaving by performance scores and engagement scores, we could predict how many top performers that are highly engaged would lost in a year. (If the company did nothing about was was causing the attrition)

That is a very basic example, but you get where I am headed. Like Barbara said last week in her post, it's about workforce capability instead of workforce planning,Jac Fizt-enz uses analytics to predict future capability needs.

I would start reading all of his books on the subject as they are excellent.

Thanks for the questions....

Debbie said...

Cathy - Thanks for the list - interesting! I'd like to add to the thought that you need the metrics to establish the baseline so you can track the history and get to some point of making intelligent predictions about what's happening. Since we're dealing with people you may not always be able to predict the "next move", but for other aspects of performance you can't begin to be proactive without knowing where you've been, and understanding the root causes of the ups and downs.

Thanks for the chat! Have a great day.

With a smile,

Unknown said...


I agree, establishment of a baseline is key so that you can have a starting point and begin the benchmarking against yourself process.....Thanks for pointing that out! #11 and growing!


Amandapanda801 said...

I think HR companies should also be familiar with Psychometrics.. That is also on the "in" list. There's a company called Central Test that offers these kinds of tests and I think anyone who is trying to recruit should use them on potential candidates to have a second opinion.

working girl said...

Because they help you spot potential problems before they escalate. Because they support good workforce investment decisions.

Unknown said...

Hi working girl:

Excellent points, thanks for reading!


Katja said...

Thank you for a great post and discussion. The topic of Hr metrics and especially forward-looking metrics is important and modern. I have included your opinion about it in my overview
I hope you don't mind a link :)

Unknown said...

Thanks Katia for including my thoughts in your overview. I appreciate you reading!

Happy New Year!