Data helps executives make fact-based decisions. And in order to get data, you need metrics. It’s pretty simple, actually. Teams need bigger budgets. Leaders need metrics. However, very few metrics succeed in making an impression with the C-suite executives.
To make that impression, it makes sense to get rid of the common HR metrics that often fail teams. Here are some of them.
Mistake #1: Not telling the stories behind the numbers
Here’s what you need to remember: you’re probably the only one who can make sense of the numbers you are presenting. From your point of view, you see a breakthrough. From where your stakeholders are seeing, they see figures and graphs and keywords. Unless you can tell the stories behind the figures, those numbers are useless regardless of what they represent.
If you want your stakeholders to share the same level of excitement, you have to give them a clear picture of what you are presenting. Don’t just take screenshots of your dashboard and expect your leadership team to understand. Break it down for them and explain it in a meaningful way.
As the expert, don’t leave it to your audience to make sense of the figures. In fact, use this as an opportunity to create value in what you do. Don’t just think of metrics as a collection of figures. Think of them as stories that you can use to paint a more vivid picture of what is happening in your organization. Use the numbers to support your initiatives.
Mistake #2: Disconnect between the metrics and the business goals
In the past decade or so, the HR department has transformed into a strategic business partner. It’s no longer a department that handles the concerns of the employees, rather a key player in shaping the business strategy. Given such transformation, data gathered from HR-related metrics is all the more powerful.
However, some HR teams are having a hard time connecting their metrics to the business’ overall strategy and goals. If the metrics you bring to the table fail to support the business’ goals, it greatly damages the department’s reputation and standing at the leadership table.
There are many metrics that you can use to support your initiatives, but make sure that it ties to the business’ overall goals. Simply put, ensure that the data you present is something that the company cares about.
For example, it’s not enough that you get high figures in engagements. You need to explain why high engagement within the organization matters and you need to tie that answer to the business. In this case, high engagement is important because it retains top performers and lowers the rate of turnovers.
Don’t just present the numbers. When you explain the story behind the figures, you need to give them a reason why this data or metric is important not just to the HR teams, but also to the business as a whole.
Mistake #3: Letting vendors do the work
Many companies hire external vendors to conduct annual engagement surveys, and the results would come in beautifully designed deck and Excel sheets. Some would think that these are good for sending and sharing already as they are all professionally done. This is when many HR professionals fail to grab the opportunity to add value to what they do. If a vendor can provide you all the needed data, then the tables are reversed, as you become the middleman.
To make sense of the results of the engagement survey, you first need to define what engagement is, what it means to your company, and how it connects to the business goals. Then, you look at the data and make sense of the numbers and interpret how it plays with the business strategy.
In other words, you need to do your job and add value to the engagement survey results by explaining to the C-suite executives what is happening, what needs to be done, and most importantly, why it should be done.
Data can provide you the figures, but it is up to you to make the story work and connect it to the business. Like rookie mistake # 1, don’t expect everyone to see the figures like you do. For everyone else, it is just a bunch of graphs and numbers until you tell the stories behind the figures.
Mistake #4: Having too many metrics
There are many metrics to choose from, but quantity doesn’t always lead to more knowledge. If you keep tracking everything, you might end up learning nothing. The key is to select the right metrics, which starts in your definition of HR success and what it means to the business. From there, you can trim down the metrics to the ones that really matter.
Mistake #5: Only focusing on recruiting metrics
Recruitment metrics are one of the easiest to track. And yes, they really need to be monitored, but that doesn’t mean it should be your only focus. Recruiting people is just one aspect of HR. What happens after they are rolled in? You can’t just deploy people and not track their progress.
Create and track metrics that are conclusive of a person’s career lifecycle in your organization. You can use recruitment metrics as a starting point, but you have to expand from there. It is vital that your metrics not only show how HR is a strategic partner in bringing in new people to join the team, but also its value in the lifecycle of an employee within the organization and how it connects to the business goals.
Make Your Metrics Count
Use metrics to make the business understand the total value HR brings to the table. A good point to remember is that you have a lot of stories about your work in HR and the numbers to back it up. Don’t let your numbers just be numbers. Use them to tell your story and create value in all the great work that you do.