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Maybe it’s the first you’re hearing about needing an HR metrics strategy or perhaps you’re trying to assess if it’s time to reboot your current plan and create one more effective. Either way, here are seven signs that it’s time to reboot your HR metrics strategy and implement meaningful metrics at your organization.

1. Metrics, what metrics?

If you aren’t currently tracking any metrics on a consistent basis, ahem or at all, then it’s definitely time to reboot your HR metrics strategy. It’s no longer acceptable for an HR organization at a company of any size, to not be using the available data points to use quantitative measures to increase your HR credibility.

HR metrics are the easiest way for you to prove your worth to the organization as well as start being seen as a profit center, instead of a profit taker. It’s not that complicated to get started, but if you’re not already tracking metrics, do not pass go.

2. You don’t have a consistent HR Dashboard

I remember a few years back when I first implemented an HR Dashboard at a company I was working at. Since it wasn’t a huge priority for the organization, the Dashboard was an activity that tended to be dropped off the list of “things to get done” each month. The Dashboard came out… when it could, not on a reliable schedule.

If your Dashboard is published on a willy-nilly basis, it’s doing more harm than good for your HR metrics strategy. When you establish a new tool, such as a Dashboard, it sets expectations to the rest of the organization and helps them learn what is important for your team – and how to look at the bigger picture of HR. When you provide that type of detail one month, but not the next, you’re reinforcing not only that the information you’re sharing isn’t important but you also have to continually teach the organization how to use/interact with the Dashboard over-and-over again. Not fun.


3. Your “Dashboard” consists only of graphs and charts

Perhaps you’re still at phase one of your HR metrics strategy – that’s ok, but if you’re using only graphs and charts in your Dashboard, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to step-up your game.

Your HR Dashboard should include relevant information in mini-stories. Anyone in the organization should be able to look at your Dashboard and clearly understand why the information you’ve shared is critical to the company’s success. Simply plotting points on a chart or sharing numbers does not do this – it leaves the interpretation up to the reader.

There are various ways to include stories – sometimes with words, sometimes with how you create your graphics. Essentially, if you’re only plotting numbers and showing them, you’re not really providing any value. The key with HR metrics is getting to analytics – having your metrics tell a story.

4. You only track the “traditional” things like retention, turnover, engagement

One of the biggest indicators that it’s time to reboot your strategy, is if you’re tracking the same things you were tracking five years ago… or worse, tracking things because they made the top five things to track on the SHRM website. An effective HR metrics strategy is one that is directly tied to your company’s annual goals – which means, it’s plausible that the metrics are updated on an annual basis.

There may be some metrics that you track to see consistency over time, such as retention rates, but you should always be updating new metrics based on what the company is trying to accomplish and what they value. You need to be able to “pull the thread” from your HR metrics to the company’s success – otherwise, your metrics are meaningless.

5. The leaders in other departments never comment on or ask questions about your dashboard

This is the kiss of death… if other leaders are not asking you questions about your Dashboard or commenting on its usefulness, you’re basically creating something in vain. The goal of your HR metrics strategy is to engage the rest of the organization with HR – showing the importance of the activities and projects that you’re executing. They need to care about the information you’re providing.

On the other hand, if the questions you are getting are along the lines of… “What does this mean;” “What can I do with this;” or “How should I be using this information?” your Dashboard isn’t clear enough.

You need to keep testing and tweaking with your Dashboard until you are sure you’re providing meaningful information and insights to the leaders outside of HR.

6. You don’t refer to your dashboard when making HR project decisions

How does your HR department make project or budget spend decisions? Do you discuss the needs of the organization alone, and then execute? Do you refer to any of your metrics, including your Dashboard, before moving forward? Or something else?

Most HR departments make decisions the way they’ve been doing for years – a leader with influence in the organization starts grumbling about something and HR reacts. Without question. Without a plan. Without evaluating data.

If you’re not looking at your Dashboard or employee engagement numbers or any available data – you’re making a bad decision for the company. I know it’s easier to be reactive and deliver what you’re hearing is needed. But that’s not strategy – and you’re not letting your metrics do the work for you.

7. Your numbers are just that… numbers

This is probably the hidden indicator that your HR metrics strategy isn’t working – you’re just left with a bunch of numbers. On the surface, you’re doing the necessary work – you’re gathering data and compiling numbers. But you stop there.

Metrics is about understanding what those numbers mean. It’s about taking it metrics and turning them into analytics – and using that information to influence your HR strategy. If you don’t understand what the metrics are telling you – the trends they are unveiling, the gaps they are showing, the key points to improve your performance, you may as well not have metrics at all.