Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5 Ways to Start Measuring HR Data




Many times I am asked by attendees at our workshops, "How do I get started with HR Metrics?"

My standard answer is...just start.  Kinda like Nike...just do it!

I know data, numbers, statistics, analytics and metrics are all very daunting for HR professionals as they aren't typically our sweet spot.

But think about the demand for people related data.  The demand is definitely up as CEO's are no longer making investments until they are relatively confident that that investment will yield a return.  The evidence that CEO's need for the business case for those investments is NOT a gut check, it's real data pointing to an increase in profits, revenue or productivity.  Period.  End of story.

So in HR's conquest to provide relevant, business related intelligence on an organization's most expensive asset (people), the journey to analytics must begin now!

Here are 5 ways, I think HR professionals can get a start on measuring HR Data:

1) Take inventory on what is currently being measured in regards to "people data."  Even if it's only turnover, that is a start.  If the answer is truly NOTHING, then start measuring one thing that is a priority with your business leaders.  After taking inventory see if there is a way to make the data you have more relevant by displaying it on a more creative interesting way.  Is there a way to dive just a little deeper into the data to tell a better story?  i.e. what is causing turnover and how can I fix it, and how much money can we save if we embark on this initiative?

2) Meet with business leaders to see what is keeping them up at night.  See what is preventing those leaders from accomplishing their goals and objectives.  I bet 80% of the answers will be people related. After these discussions see if you can help your leaders by analyzing data that you have in HR.  Maybe they are concerned with bench-strength or retention of high performers.  By analyzing workforce data you may be able to assist managers in these critical areas.

3) Try to solve a productivity issue.  These are always fun.  Maybe you have one area/department/function that aren't performing as well as previous periods.  Start looking at things like profit/employee and revenue/employee to see if you can spot trends.  Maybe, there is a process or training issue you can uncover and solve.  Think about how big of an HR hero you will be if you can assist with increasing productivity!

4) Take a business approach to data.  Don't just start reporting and analyzing data for the heck of it.  Start with a continuous improvement or revenue generation mode.  With people data being so prevalent you can get into analysis paralysis.  Make sure that you understand the strategic direction of the organization first and foremost.  Then use people data to understand what truly drives business results.  For example, in a hospital setting, choice of hospital is driven by patient satisfaction.  Patient satisfaction is driven by the level of care they receive by Doctors and nurses.  Understanding what drives doctors and nurses to deliver this patient care is critical.  Is it flexibility with work schedules, is it pay/benefits?  Is it work satisfaction?  Is it access to the latest technology?  The point is find out with your data so that you KNOW those drivers.

5) STOP WITH THE EXCUSES.  I can't think of any reason not to get starting measuring something.  I have heard just about every excuse in the book and quite frankly none of them are valid for me:

  1. I don't have time-Really?  I think you have to make time, because someone else will.
  2. I am not analytical-either figure it out or hire someone that is
  3. I don't have a budget-start small with resources you have and then when you start to get leadership's attention budget will follow.
Are you convinced yet?  READY SET MEASURE!

Can you tell I just got back from a little vacation...I am all fired up!
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