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Metrics beyond the numbers – the power of change

Does this sound familiar?

You spend hours gathering information from various places to report on your key metrics (data, key performance indicators (KPIs), dashboard, or whatever else it’s called). You clean them up, put them in a nice, pretty format, perhaps even do a little investigation to understand why one of the numbers seem off. Or, if you’re lucky, a tool does this all for you, so all you have to do is grab the results.

You then turn the metrics in or present them to your boss or management team. Five minutes later, you are thanked, sit back down, and the discussion moves on.

Then you do it all again at the next meeting weeks or months later.

But nothing changes.

Metrics are useless if they are not agents of change.

Metrics are the fuel behind strategies, the maps for process and operational investments and improvements, and the guideposts to reward systems that govern employees. Metrics mold an organization’s investments, focus, behavior, practices.

Metrics are power.

Metrics that do nothing but decorate a presentation with pretty graphs are just a waste of time.

How can you tell if your metrics are a waste of time or not?

Easy… are they providing one of the following:

Metrics that drive DECISION

Decision-based metrics give the organization direction on where to focus, where to invest, and what to set as goals. They cultivate conversation and debate, provide points of contrast and analysis between options, and expose potential weaknesses or opportunities that can be acted upon.

Decision-driving metrics will enable the organization to make well-informed strategic decisions by investing in the right products, services, operational improvements, and markets, while mitigating costly risks.

Metric: Candidates are increasingly valuing candidate experience. According to external sources, in our industry candidates are turning down positions due to poor candidate experience 30% more often than last year.

Result: Invest in candidate experience improvements. Use practices from other leading organizations in our industry including better cultivation and engagement solutions and engaging programing such as tours, gift shop, and thank you gifts.

However, if done incorrectly, when they are misleading, inaccurate, or focus on the wrong areas, decision-driving metrics could lead the company astray.

Miss: Internal post-hiring process interviews show that 80% of candidates who turned down positions said it was for salary and benefits.

Therefore, if we had used the investment to increase base salary by 5% rather than on candidate experience improvements, we would likely have increased the acceptance rate by at least 40%. Whereas the investment in candidate experience would at best, increase the rate by only 20%.

Common examples of metrics (data) that drive decision include:

  • Return on Investment (ROI)

  • Risk analysis

  • Product/system usage

  • Customer/candidate decision trends

  • Industry trends

Metrics that drive PERFORMANCE

Performance-driving metrics help the organization find and resolve problems in day-to-day operations. They expose deviations in the performance or production of a system or process so it can be corrected.

Performance-driving metrics will enable the organization to remain productive and operational. They prevent mishaps and mistakes before they become a problem.

Metric: Average spend on candidate acquisition by source, with a goal of no more than $2/candidate. Our sources are:

  • Source 1: $500/month yielding 500 candidates: $1 per candidate.

  • Source 2: $300/month yielding 600 candidates: $0.5 per candidate.

  • Source 3: $200/month yielding 50 candidates: $4 per candidate.

Result: Source 3 is over double the cost per candidate than desired, and 4 to 8 times the cost of the other sources. It must be removed.

However, if done incorrectly – when they miss important pieces or misrepresent the full process – performance-driving metrics can leave the organization ignorant of potential issues until they are neck-deep in the consequences or can result in a detrimental corrective action.

Miss: Source 3 has produced the most qualified candidates and hires as compared to the low hire rates of the other two. Looking at the cost per hire (rather than the cost per candidate):

  • Source 1: $500/month yields 5 hires: $100 per hire

  • Source 2: $300/month yields 1 hire: $300 per hire

  • Source 3: $200/month yields 20 hires: $20 per hire

By removing source 3, the average cost and effort per hire will increase over 5 times and will likely take longer to find enough qualified candidates, ultimately costing the organization thousands.

Common examples of metrics (data) that drive performance include:

  • Team performance metrics

  • Project milestone metrics

  • Time to do a task

  • Cost to do a task

  • Customer/candidate feedback / ratings

Metrics that drive BEHAVIOR

Behavior-driving metrics influence the actions and behaviors of the employees and teams. They guide the employees on where to focus, what to prioritize, and how to approach tasks to reach the promised reward. They increase self-awareness of their own capabilities and performance in the role.

Behavior-driving metrics will drive the team toward the goals the organization needs to thrive.

Metric: Each recruiter must log at least 20 initial candidate interviews a week.

Result: to meet the metric, successful recruiters are very good at finding candidates and getting them to agree to a call. They run their calls efficiently and are constantly cultivating the next set of candidates to keep the volume consistent.

However, when done incorrectly – when driving toward the wrong goal or ignoring important behaviors – behavior-driving metrics could drive the teams in opposing or incorrect directions.

Miss: Conversion rate from initial call to qualified candidate is less than 10%.

To meet their metric, recruiters skip or brush through qualifying steps. They fill their calendars with whoever will talk with them rather than spending the time to find qualified candidates worth talking to. This results in weeks going by before finding a qualified candidate a hiring manager is interested in pursuing, increasing time to fill and frustrating hiring managers.

Common examples of metrics (data) that drive behavior include:

  • Individual Performance metrics

  • Bonus / compensation metrics

  • Promotion requirements

  • Leadership KPIs

Bringing it all together - the good, the bad, and the waste of time

Metrics are so much more than numbers to be collected in a dull or painful routine. They are more than pretty pictures and slide filler. When used correctly, metrics drive change. They are powerful, insightful, and actionable. They are the fuel that drives decision, protects and optimizes performance, and motivates and guides every employee to be the best contributor they can be for the organization.

If your metrics are not driving decision, performance, and/or behavior, stop!

Rather than using numbers that do nothing but waste time, start instead with the questions you need to answer to run the team, organization, and processes. Then identify the metrics that will answer those questions.

You can do it. We can help. Career.Place in partnership with the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals, is launching a metrics workshop in Q1 of 2021. From defining the questions to identifying the data to designing the metrics, we will walk through every step of building strong metrics that are powerful, insightful, and actionable.

Let us know if you’re interested in learning more about the metrics workshop.

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