Monday, September 12, 2011

7 Deadliest Sins of HR Metrics

When it comes to HR Metrics these days there is no shortage of information, opinions and blogs like this one. What I have learned after reading, teaching and presenting on the subject for almost 10 years is that in order for HR to be considered a player and a rock star, you must measure your impact. All the other functions measure, so why not HR?

In my travels I have heard many excuses, and even written on that subject here. But, I have also seen some really BAD practices when it comes to HR Metrics. Please don't commit these deadly sins:

1) Thou shall not measure meaningless crap (not measuring what is tied to impact)
2) Thou shall not measure endless crap (measuring too many things that don't matter)
3) Thou shall use valid, reliable and clean data (enough said)
4) Thou shall display the data in a meaningful way to those that use the data (stop with the rows an columns, it's boring)
5) Thou shall tell a compelling data story that leaves managers and leaders wanting more (tell them something they didn't already know, and it's not cost per hire)
6) Thou shall balance your metrics measuring both efficiency and effectiveness
7) Thou shall never start measuring until you map your organizational strategy first.

I am very encouraged to hear so many HR professionals embarking on the metrics journey. I get many questions on how to start (see #7). The point is, HR is at an important juncture, we have been through the personnel phase, the get a seat at the table phase (please say that's over) and now I believe we are at the influence phase.
Influence (transitive verb): to affect or alter by indirect or intangible means
I love that definition as HR has always had the word "intangible" associated with it. Intangible doesn't mean you can't measure it. Indirect doesn't mean you can't measure impact. You just have to know what questions to ask and which connections to make. HR is perfect for this task.

Let's use our influence to make a difference in our organizations...


Judith Lindenberger said...

Cathy, I agree with your seven sins and especially like the idea of telling a story with metrics. It is much more compelling.

Judy Lindenberger

Unknown said...

Hi Lindenberger:

Thanks for stopping by and reading! I learned that lesson the hard way :(


Anonymous said...

It is nice after a long time that HR will stop to evaluate 'personality', particularly with numbers.

Unknown said...

Thanks for reading...HR must measure many things including its own efficiency and effectiveness.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Cathy! Sin #7 resonates with me as the 1st and most important. Every HR organization must link the work they are doing to the companies over-arching business strategies. I attended your HR Strategy & Metrics Alignment training in DC and our HR organization has begun the alignment process.

Thank you!

Unknown said...

Hi Lisa:

Thanks for stopping by. Glad to hear you are in the process of alignment. I am sure you are doing an awesome job!

Have a great rest of the week-