The HR Metrics You Should Be Watching
Metrics are essential for making informed decisions. But a 2021 survey by Deloitte found that only 3% of executives have the required information to make good people decisions. And when the information is available, it's often siloed, leaving department leaders with mere snapshots of the whole picture.
Collaboration is critical across all areas of the business, and not just at the employee level. Senior executives also must share information to ensure the sum is greater than its parts.
For HR leaders, this means keeping an eye on the companywide employee experience, and how that may change from function to function. But more specifically, what are the metrics should HR leaders be watching — and why?
Entry and Exit Metrics
With a challenging labor market and a high attrition rate across the country, onboarding and exit behavior metrics have never been vital.
Emily Killham, director of research and insights on the people analytics team at Perceptyx, said businesses often miss these two critical engagement points in the employee lifecycle. Yet, the total employee experience can be improved by analyzing the data capture at these two key moments of an employee's journey with the company.
Related Article: Employee Stay Interviews: The Key to Retention?
Happiness and Well-being
There's been a lot of talk since the onset of the pandemic about the importance of employee well-being and overall happiness at and outside of work.
A study from Warwick University carried out on more than 700 participants found that happy workers are, on average, 12% more productive than others — and real-life examples show that increase can be a lot more. To illustrate the power of happiness on productivity, the researchers looked at Google. The company has applied employee happiness to boost productivity improvements and experienced a 37% increase in productivity as a result, the study showed.
"Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off," said one of the professors in charge of the Warwick study.
For Sanya Nagpal, head of HR at Leena AI, employee happiness is the only way HR managers can help find the overall sentiments of the workforce. "HR teams need to focus on measuring how happy their employees are," she said.
However, she said, measuring happiness is only the beginning. Nagpal said too many companies are quick to measure and collect data, but few act on the insights gleaned from it — often due to a lack of resources. But there are many AI-enabled tools today that can help HR leaders implement meaningful change efficiently by identifying pain points, conducting compatible studies and offering the right improvements for the workforce.
Related Article: The Complicated Relationship Between AI and Human Resource Management
DEI and Belonging
Diversity, equity and inclusion has also been top of mind for leaders these past few years. What the discussion has brought to light is how DEI goes well beyond the issue of race, gender and age.
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Some employees may be held back in their career development due to unrecognized biases in managers, for instance. The danger lies in not recognizing that those biases exist, which is why metrics on programs like career or skill developments, as an example, can make a significant difference in understanding drive and productivity in the workplace. Are some employees not being heard or given an opportunity — and why?
It can be extremely demotivating for employees to feel pushed aside, and identifying these pain points is important for HR. "Recognizing and addressing biases is a critical enabler in successful future work," wrote Christie Lindor in a piece for Reworked on this matter. "If done well, managing biases not only helps generate an inclusive work culture, but can fundamentally become a superpower that differentiates your company from the rest."
Beyond the Metrics
Data is only part of the equation. How the data is handled and analyzed is where the real value lies.
Killham said HR leaders have to look past the long list of metrics they monitor and think more about connecting the dots coming in silos from multiple sources. By analyzing the information gleaned from the multiple sources of data, HR leaders can get a deeper understanding of what is actually going on in the business and how it's affecting overall culture.
Are employees overworked across the organization — which would indicate a potential lack or misallocation of resources — or is it more centralized across one area of the business — which could mean poor processes or coaching? A manager's communication style, for instance, could also be impacting their team's success, which would only be possible to see when aligning the data from across multiple sources.
By utilizing better data analysis (or looking through the data in innovative ways), HR teams can not only help improve happiness across the organization but also find ways to empower middle-tier and senior leaders to do the same.
Related Article: What Comes Next in the Evolution of HR?
HR Technology Can Help
There are numerous tools today that can help HR with enhancing the overall mood of a workforce and strengthening the culture. These tools often make the collection of data more straightforward and less intrusive, in addition to helping with the analysis and action phases.
When the right metrics are taken and acted upon, the benefits to the company are significant, from cost savings to improved talent retention and greater productivity. As the digital workplace continues to evolve, it's important HR teams keep pace, updating the way they collect data to support greater efficiencies.
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