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The majority of HR professionals are in positions of leadership, but not necessarily power or decision-making. Sound familiar? Many of the BIG decisions or conversations, tend to happen behind closed doors among senior HR leaders.

And likely, you’re not a part of those conversations or they haven’t asked you for your input.

So what can you actually do to move the HR organization forward? To drive the future of HR at your company, from a mid-level or heck, entry-level role?

The answer may surprise you: LOTS. In fact, you may be more effective at driving change from within the organization that from the top-down. We all know how “effective” communication cascades are.

While you may not be able to invest in the piece of HR metrics software that you’re salivating over through #HRTech tweets, you can start using and uncovering HR metrics that you’re currently ignoring.

Questions, Questions, Questions

One of the easiest ways for you to identify opportunities is through listening – and it can also uncover important HR metrics. How many times do you send out an email explaining the entire detailed process about how to complete performance management (or merit processing or updating an address…) and you still get a flurry of questions.

No matter what you do. It’s so clear and obvious to you, but you still get question upon question.

This is a huge indicator for you to stop ignoring a HR metrics opportunity.

Questions about a topic, even if you’ve done a good job at communicating and planning, highlights something is missing. It’s a process that is so important for your employee that they want to be sure to get it right, and/or it’s not a user-friendly (ahem, “easy”) transaction for them to complete.

Start tracking the solution.

It can be a simple HR metric like: we sent instructions to this many people, this many questions, and this completion rate. It can perhaps, dictate a more interesting HR metric that ties to your company’s goals: this many people cared enough to ask for “x” deliverable, and so on.

Essentially, questions are an enormous opportunity for you to stop ignoring the HR metrics available for anyone within the organization to start paying attention to and reporting on.

Completion Rates

Many companies track things like performance review completion rates or merit increase processing. But what if you took the macro idea and stopped ignoring it on a micro level?

Completion rates, or conversely, uncompleted rates, are an ignored HR metric that can have significant impact on your HR business. Basically, you’re tracking towards a desired behavior – we want our employees to do “x” and this many people actually did it.

That’s important information that can uncover significant opportunities for you to explore and improve upon. Things including leadership credibility, over-stating messaging, a disconnect between leadership and the frontline, and much more.

So while hitting the 100% completion goals for annual tracking is good, you can uncover even more – doing better.

Look at some of the activities you’ve asked your clients and employee population to complete – big and small. What is getting done, what is getting done well, and what is being ignored… and track it.

Performance Skews

I’m not a fan of performance management in general, at least how it’s done at most companies… but that’s not for this conversation. Since most companies are still taking a more traditional approach to tracking performance using ratings and bell curves, etc., you can use the same information to uncover HR metrics that apply to the groups you support.

Start by looking at the performance skews – the trends and outliers under a specific leader. Maybe you’re looking at the manager or director level, while the review process focuses on the department in its entirety. Either way, start looking for where people are landing.

For example, if one leader has a team filled with the highest level of performers, that’s interesting to explore. Perhaps that team is filled with key talent; maybe the leader wants to keep their team whole… or conversely, wants to break up the team so he’s indicated key talent so they get rotated; maybe he’s lazy and didn’t want to go through the process; or perhaps he wanted them all to end up at a normal rating, but wanted to start high to be “talked down” during review meetings.

There are a lot of possibilities for outliers – this is just a brief example of what could be going on. When you look at your outliers or interesting data, pay attention to trends. Look back to the prior year if it’s available to you, and see how things match up and what this means from a prediction perspective and how you can be better prepared to have the conversation or complete the process.

This practice will help you dig deeper and stop ignoring important information and HR metrics that are right in front of you, largely being ignored because they are not “macro” enough for your organization to invest time and money in. And that’s ok. It gives YOU the opportunity to shine and be an HR Metrics warrior.