Monday, October 8, 2012

All Aboard the HR Metrics Train! (10 Reasons to Climb Aboard)

Cue, Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train music...

It's more than time...hey it's so past time.

The HR Metrics train has left the station and just a few HR professionals are on board.

Dr. Jac Fitz-Enz has spoken about this day approaching for decades.  Dave Ulrich has discussed the competencies we need to be successful on the metrics train.  I have even thrown in my two cents worth since I began writing this blog in 2008.

I know you are reading this and asking yourselves, why do I need to be on this train?

Here are my top 10 reasons for embarking on a metrics journey:

10) We are way past the piece of furniture and I will argue way past being a business partner...HR needs to become a business leader.

9) CEO's are making data based decisions PERIOD.

8) Businesses can no longer afford to be mediocre.  The same principles we use in tracking and increasing quality for our products and services must be applied to our people.

7) HR is not a hobby, it's a serious business function.  Business functions have measures that track their efficiency and effectiveness.

6) The game has changed.  The paternalistic approach to managing employees and fostering cultures of entitlement are so OVER.  It's time to be high performing in all areas.

5) HR is in a period of transition.  We are separating the transactional from the more strategic and impactful work.  But who is going to do the value added work, if HR doesn't step up its game?

4) CEO's are more demanding post recession.  They need to make sure the investment they make in people pays off in profits.  HR needs to show this relationship by telling a compelling data story.

3) Companies are importing talent INTO HR at alarming speeds.  I see major corporations bringing in business acumen talent from other business functions into HR.  I see analytics talent being imported into HR because meaningful data is not being produced from within HR.

2) HR needs skill based training that will up the game, not team building skills and culture change workshops.  (MBA.'s, statistics, finance, accounting)

1) It's the ticket for where HR has wanted to be for decades.  If you can't show your value, you don't have value.

Don't get me wrong I see positive signs of movement in this measurement direction all the time.  I spend a lot of time with HR departments ALIGNING what they do with what the organization strategy dictates.  The next natural step is to measure and track progress of that strategic execution.

Where are you in the metrics journey?  How did you get started? (#hrurarockstar)


david k waltz said...


While metrics and data can be an important component in managing the enterprise, I also caution not to get too wrapped up in them. Often organizations measure what is easy or feasible rather than what is optimal.

For instance, in the book "Talent is Overrated" the authors make the point that time spent engaging in what is called "deliberate practice" is what leads to improved performance. One manifestation of this is to perform activities that "push the limit" of what one is currently able to do. However, in practice the metric chosen is something like years of experience. What the research shows is that a person who has engaged in "deliberate practice" for 5-years will be leaps and bounds more qualified than someone who has 20 years of experience doing the "same ole thing", yet the inferior candidate will win out according to the measurement employed.

Unknown said...


Thanks for reading. It sounds like a new metric needs to be used for the scenario you described. I agree experience is not the right one. Perhaps looking at outcomes would be a better approach.