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Workforce Analytics: Seven Common Mistakes in Selecting HR Metrics

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Lois Melbourne
on March 12, 2012

Unfortunately, measurements and metrics can so easily go awry: most data pulled by organizations are not very informative or interesting. So as we struggle to create reports that will help our organization’s leaders solve business problems, how do we know that we’re pulling the right data and assessing the right information?

I’ll try to help you beware and be prepared.

Here are what we’ve found to be some of the most common metric selection mistakes. [These mistakes – and other topics related to the terminology behind workforce analytics – were covered in greater depth during last week’s webcast on “The Building Blocks of Workforce Analytics”, the replay of which is available for viewing.]

Seven Common Metric Selection Mistakes

1. Not tying metrics to business goals: Metrics don’t add value if they aren’t tied to specific business goals.

2. Selecting too many metrics: More metrics do not always lead to more knowledge.

3. Metrics are not driving their intended action: Make sure that every metric you select has an intended action behind it.

4. Only using “standard” measures: Avoid just using standard metrics, and instead really try to figure out which metrics are important based on your organization’s unique needs and opportunities.

5. Not keeping a record of methodology, formula or definition: Define the formulas behind metrics and where the data comes from, because it drives confidence in the data. Record which metrics you’re measuring and how you’re measuring them.

6. Not comparing figures: Benchmarking and trending are very helpful. Current numbers are important to know, but it’s more important to know if your figures are improving or worsening.

7. Facing difficulty extracting data: Don’t give up if you’re having difficulty getting data out of your systems. Keep at it, and you’ll succeed in the long-term.

How do you select the right metrics?

Avoid selecting metrics that are easily accessible but don’t solve real problems for your business. And shun “nice to know” metrics that don’t translate into business imperatives. They’re a waste of your time and effort. Instead, start with your organization’s unique business problems, design your workforce analytics to help solve these problems, and then select your metrics.

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