The SHRM Atlanta 23rd Annual Conference ended with a session entitled HR Thinking Creatively: How All Lines of Business Affect Your Recruiting Strategy presented by Julie Moreland of PeopleClues and Dave Ryan of Melo-O-Cream Donuts International. To me their message was about developing metrics in HR. Metrics that matter.
It is well known that HR is trying to become more metrics focused. We have been doing that for a while. However, much of the early efforts, and for some their current efforts, have been focused on measuring HR activity. We pay attention to things like number of résumés received; time to process; cost-per-hire; time to respond; time to hire, etc. and these things should be measured. However, these HR activities are necessarily what is important to the business. According to the presenters, what is important are measures that are going to help you focus on your “talent.”
Lead and Lag
Dave and Julie, in their presentation, talked about metrics that let you focus on quality and ability. Some of these measures are lag indicators, such as productivity, sales and profitability. Some of them are lead measures, such as quality of hire. Combined together they can become predictors. The message was that if you want to be effective in your job and truly contribute to the business you need to work with finance and operations in order to get numbers in order to determine things such as profitability per employee; sales per employee, etc. Then as you make interventions and changes you can track the effectiveness of those changes.
I did ask the question about how you go about getting that information, since in many organizations other departments are not used to getting those kinds of requests from HR. The answer was you need to develop relationships with those other departments. You need to get out of the HR silo you have gotten used to working in and develop trust.
A few general comments I wanted to make about the conference in general. It was very well done and very well run. The group of volunteers that participated need to be heartedly thanked for their fine work. Everything ran smoothly as far as I could see. I asked a number of vendors how the show had gone for them. Some were pleased with the traffic others were a little disappointed. That will happen in every situation. I hope the attendees learned about new products and new offerings as that is much of the value that comes from a conference.