The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Metrics That Drive Your Business Forward



Metrics are an effective way to evaluate performance, if they are evaluating the performance you want. Creating metrics can be a very eye-catching project – that does nothing but show others that the human resources department is really busy. As with any other functional area, your HR team needs a business plan where it can be accountable for results.

The creation of metrics should begin with an annual plan for human resources that supports operational strategic goals. There should be alignment between the needs of the business, compliance and the needs of your customers built into the planned metrics. An effective HR goal outline will show how the HR team is integrated into the overall organization and which programs are necessary to ensure annual corporate goals are met.

The plan should outline specific goals that do not have to do with every day expectations of HR. Create reports and data that will help the management team make better and faster decisions. Create three- to five meaningful data points that will tell managers how to drive the business. For instance, instead of time to fill a position in recruiting, create a correlation between recruiting sources and performance review scores in the first 90 days. That is meaningful information that you can use to drive better talent into the organization.

Metrics can be a very powerful motivational tool – sometimes working in a way that is not intended. Everything you measure for your team will drive their performance. For instance, in recruiting the “time to fill” metric will create an incentive for your HR team to put a body in the seat, and this is likely not the appropriate long-term goal. You want them finding you the best candidate – not just the quickest. Consider a metric that would reference the HR team member coordinating recruiting with the score of the new hire on your 90-day review. Successful placements should be those new hires that are successfully integrated into their positions and receiving a good review from their managers. A poor score would have a negative impact on the metric, where top performers would cause the recruiter to stand out as a top performer as well.

While quantifiable metrics are important, you need to evaluate HR on the softer side of business as well. Key requirements for HR include the ability to provide guidance and counseling to managers on employee performance issues, mediating issues between employees, providing communication that helps drive the mission forward, etc. These are all the expectations you should have from your HR executive, along with the various drivers of your individual vision, mission and goals.

Require your HR leader to present their top 3-5 goals via metrics at monthly or quarterly meetings. Successes should include examples of what worked, and misses should provide areas for feedback from the team.  Your executive team needs to be in the trenches with employees and have an appreciation that the HR function is providing real value driving the organizational mission.

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