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Welcome to episode 36 of the Rethink HR podcast, brought to you by bettHR.

In today’s episode, I share four easy ways you can uncover the HR metrics around you, without needing a complicated HRIS system, a data analyst, or a dashboard. Instead, it’s about using the information you have at your fingertips and learning how to create a story around what that data is telling you.

You can find simple metrics by looking at:

  • Questions, Questions, Question—examine the questions that come in from mass emails, projects, campaigns, and so on. Questions indicate interest (and a communication gap!).
  • Completion Rates—what are employees finishing versus just starting.
  • Instant and Follow-up Feedback—from your inbox or meetings, what are you hearing from people as questions, feedback, notices, and so on. This indicates interest, uncovers potential gaps and wins.
  • Performance Skews—review outliers to see trends and understand the story behind each skew.

If you want to get the free guide to help you get started with HR metrics, click the image below.


Melissa Anzman (00:00): HR metrics aren't those things that just sort of pop up out of nowhere. You have them right in front of your face, but you do have to take the time to know where to mind them and understand clearly once you found them how to implement them and incorporate them into your HR strategy. I'm Melissa Anzman. HR practitioner turned CEO of a thriving employee experience company, but it wasn't all that long ago that I worked as an HR business partner, responsible for increasing employee engagement at companies nationwide. And I struggled to move the needle, even after trying everything under the sun. Fast-Forward past many fail tactics and lessons learned, and you'll see how I've been able to crack the code and replicated at companies of all sizes for creating true engagement and doing HR work that matters work that changes the lives of leaders, HR professionals, and employees.

Melissa Anzman (00:54): By focusing on the employee experience, I created the rethink HR podcast to give you actionable step-by-step strategies to help you make an impact. If you're an HR leader or one on the rise, who's looking to stop spinning your wheels, doing the same tired activities that aren't driving results, or you, I want to have a career. You love your right place. Let's get started. There are so many of you out there just like I was as well, who are in HR and in positions of leadership, but not necessarily power or decision-making positions. Does that sound familiar to you? Many of those big decisions or conversations tend to happen behind closed doors among HR leaders, or perhaps if we're being more clear or generous, they're made by the C-suite and told to HR as to what their focus should be and likely most of you listening, aren't a part of these conversations, or they haven't asked you for your input yet.

Melissa Anzman (02:05): So what can you actually do to move the HR organization forward when it comes to HR metrics and today in the final episode of this HR metrics series for now, you know, we're going to come back and do a lot more and metrics soon. I want to share with you how to find those HR metrics that you are ignoring, or that happened to be in front of you, that you just haven't found yet. Because when you add HR metrics into your HR practice, into your toolkit, you have the ability to drive the future of HR at your company, whether you are in a low level role, high level roles, senior level role, or what have you. And this is this one thing. Now I always have like a few things, but HR metrics is this one thing that you can take right now while listening to this episode and implement and find, and it can instantly increase your visibility within the organization and deliver that profitability, ROI that we're so looking for.

Melissa Anzman (03:11): Now, the answer as to what can do that and how you can start is probably surprising. Cause there is a lot within your pursuit, within your purview as to what you can influence with HR metrics. Even if it isn't a top down approach that you have to wait for, you still can drive from where you are up using HR metrics. Now you're not likely going to be able to change the way that your senior leaders make decisions. It's about HR metrics or larger HR projects, which we can lament at another time. But you are able to start using an uncovering these HR metrics that you're currently ignoring in order to drive your own HR practice forward. So one of the best ways to find HR metrics for you is the questions that you get. Or as I like to say, questions, questions, questions. This is one of the easiest ways for you to identify opportunities.

Melissa Anzman (04:17): And that is through listening. It can also uncover those HR metrics that you're just not tracking yet and which ones you should be tracking. So I want you to think about how many times you send out an email explaining the entire detailed process or procedure or campaign or project about how to complete performance management or merit processing or annual enrollment or updating an address. And you still get a flurry of questions on these topics, no matter what you do, you're getting these questions. It is so clear and obvious to you, but you still get employees asking you about the things you already have shared with them. And this is a huge indicator for you to stop ignoring an HR metrics opportunity. Also, it's a huge indicator to you that you need a better and wrote more robust HR or employee communications plan, which we'll get to in another episode.

Melissa Anzman (05:22): But for now, these questions should absolutely raise your antenna for an HR metrics, opportunity questions about a topic. Even if you've done a good job at communicating and planning, it highlights these questions, highlight that there's something missing and it's a process that's so important for your employee that they want to be sure to get it right. And perhaps it means it's not user-friendly or what have you. And so essentially we need to do some metrics around it. We need to understand what isn't happening. So we want to start by tracking the solution. Now it can be as simple HR metrics, such as we sent instructions to X number of people. We got this many questions and this completion rate of the activity, those are three metrics that we can put together to tell a story. Nowhere in there did I say you need a big HR analysts to come in or a big HR I S system to complete it.

Melissa Anzman (06:28): These are simple, simple ways that we can do it. And what you can also think about is maybe have a more interesting HR metric that ties to your company goals. Cause that's, what's important, right? So we can use something like this. Many people cared enough to ask about X for this deliverable. And so on. These are easy HR metrics for you to set up and track and create those stories around them. So essentially these questions are an enormous opportunity for you to stop ignoring things that are available to you right in front of your face. And that have meaning to the organization because they are all ready asking those questions. And this is going to be an easy in for people to start paying attention to you and your HR metrics, because it's about a topic that you can showcase subjectively that other people in your organization care about because they asked a question which means inherently they care.

Melissa Anzman (07:36): Now the next HR metric that is right in front of you, that I'd like you to start paying attention to our completion rates. Now, many companies track things like performance review completion rates or merit increase processing or annual enrollment completion and so on. But what if you took the macro idea and stop ignoring it on a micro level? So completion rates are conversely uncompleted rates, unfinished rates. There is an entire metric that is ignored that can have a significant impact on your HR business. So basically we're tracking toward a desired behavior. We want our employees to do acts and this many people actually did it. And that's important information that you can uncover for having and knowing significant opportunities to explore and improve upon things like leadership, credibility, overstating messaging, a disconnect between leadership and the frontline and so much more. These are the types of metrics that can help us uncover that.

Melissa Anzman (08:44): So while we may be hitting a hundred percent completion goals for annual tracking, and that's a good metric for us, you can uncover even more by doing better. So I want you to look at some of the activities that you've asked your clients and employee populations to complete big and small, what are they getting done and what is getting done well and what is being ignored. And he wants you to track those things. Because again, metric is something we tell a story around that has significant value and impact to the organization. Clearly understanding what is being done. And if it's being done, how well it's being done is a great metric. And conversely, knowing if people are just ignoring something is super helpful as well. You didn't get into it

Melissa Anzman (09:41): HR to crunch numbers, but there's got to be some way for you to show the results of your hard work and figure out what's really working for your company and spatially right now, every HR professional today has to be able to identify what to track, how to quantify it and what to do with the results at better. We want HR pros to be able to leverage HR metrics, to do more great work for their people. Our goal is to help you track the right things in the right way, without relying on out of touch outsourcing or a one size fits all solution. HR metrics 101 Is designed to help you do just that it's a four week online course that introduces you to HR metrics, how to choose the right ones for you to track in your current role. How to turn numbers into stories and build a business case around what you've discovered. When you know your metrics, you can focus time on the work that matters by having a clear roadmap for your priorities. You can significantly increase your results across the board by boosting your efficiency and forgetting the days when you felt like you were throwing spaghetti against the wall. And you'll instantly raise your authority and profile at work. Meaning more great opportunities will come your way to find out if HR metrics 101 can help you meet your goals and Excel in your role in HR text BETTHR to: 44222.

Melissa Anzman (11:22): Another way for you to really look into and dive into metrics that are in front of you. As I want you to really think about what I call instant and follow up feedback. Now this is a little bit like questions, but the way you go about them is a little different. So what this means is this is feedback that you get either instantly or as a follow-up I know inherit and its name, you understood it, but how this works in real life is things like the questions that you get when you're having one on one meetings. So the whole follow-up thing here, it's not just a question where you send out a mass email and you get questions back. That's a questions, questions, questions, one. But this approach is when you're having those one on one conversations or one-on-one meetings, or even one to a small group meeting.

Melissa Anzman (12:23): And you're getting questions in real time, as you're explaining something, as you're rolling something out and so on, and this is really going to help you understand what's really important for them and where the message may come offline. Another place this happens is in your inbox. So forget about the questions for this one, because we'll capture those. But in addition to questions, I want you to take note of how many emails you're getting about certain topics. So maybe they're not questions about performance management, but feedback or highlighting things to you or sharing an interesting lesson or an error on a training deck, or what have you. This really means that you have employees, eyes, maybe it's your management. Maybe it's the employees that you serve, but you have a, it populations, eyes on this stuff on this project. We want to know that because that gives us that instant feedback.

Melissa Anzman (13:28): And we have that built in credibility already that people are already interested in it because they are taking action and sending you notes or having conversations with you about it. So this is something that, again, you measure of out of 500 emails that I got 236 of them were about performance management. Now, obviously that's a little much, we don't want to necessarily count all of our emails, but what I would want you to do is start flagging your emails with different categories, whether it's by project or effort or even metric. And I want you to either create folders or labels, however you manage your inbox. I want you to start tracking how many questions, what feedback points, items of interest, et cetera, come your way on that topic. And you can create an entire metric around that. So that is the instant and follow up feedback situation.

Melissa Anzman (14:26): Now, I also want you to consider things like rates. So this is a huge one, but I want you to think about things like response rates, which we've talked about a little, but also things like bounce rates. If you have an intranet, how many people come to your intranet and bounce before that first 10 seconds is up. And I want you to think about like again, participation rates, completion rates, and this you can look at from your learning system, how many people sign up and how many people actually finish and complete that learning. I want you to really look at those things. And one of the most important ones are your email open rates. Now, most of you are not tracking your emails, which I get it. I okay. I hear you, but it is a great source of HR metrics for you. And it is, there are many free, different ways that you can do it.

Melissa Anzman (15:16): So you don't have to spend a lot of money with a big company wide system to do it. You can track it from outlook. You can track it from I'm dating myself here, Lotus notes. If you want, if you have a Gmail company account, you can track it. There, there are different tools to do that. But tracking your emails, particularly at a minimum, your mass emails that go out who opens them, how many replies you get, how many link clicks you get and so on is really important. And for your HR metrics, because again, it tells you how credible your emails are. So if you're a language as a working or not, but also how many people are interested in that topic and idea, and it indicates to you if there is a metric needed around that really important, don't forget it. And you can also do the same for your own emails.

Melissa Anzman (16:05): Should you want to, I don't love a read receipt. Like that's one way people do it. I actually like the tracking functions. But if you're all about a read receipt, that is cool too. As long as you understand what it is, you are tracking and why you're doing it for HR metric purposes. And finally, I want to talk about performance skews. Now, I, I'm not going to dive into everything that is wrong with traditional performance management. Yay, because we've talked about it and there's a lot wrong and there's a lot. We can't fix it, all the things like. So in general, I'm not a huge fan, but I do think that there is a lot of value in understanding performance deliverables and metrics and expectations and all those things. But again, not for this conversation. However, since most companies are still taking a more traditional approach to tracking performance, using ratings and bell curves, even though you say you are using a bell curve, we all know you are, you can use the same information to uncover HR metrics that apply to the groups that you support in HR broadly, as well as on a micro level.

Melissa Anzman (17:15): So I want you to start thinking and looking at the performance skews, these are the trends and outliers under a specific leader. Maybe you're looking at the manager director level while maybe the review process doesn't get that granular and only looks at the department as a whole, either way. I want you to start to look at where people are landing. So for example, if one leader has a team filled with the highest level of performers, that's interesting too, for perhaps that team truly is filled key talent, and that manager is a hiring and leadership or a rock star, but maybe that leader just really wants to keep their team whole or conversely wants to break up the teams. So he's indicated key talent so that they get rotated. Maybe that leader is just lazy and didn't want to go through the process of performance management or perhaps he wanted them all to end up at a normal rating, but wanted to start high.

Melissa Anzman (18:16): So he had some room to be talked down during the bell curve conversations. The point here is there could be a lot of things that these outliers indicate for us, whether they are high outliers or low outliers. And there are a lot of possibilities for this. This is again, just a brief example of some of the things that can be going on, but when you look at your outliers or things that I would say would be like interesting data, like, Hmm, that's interesting. I want you to pay attention to the trends and you can create metrics around this. You can look back to the prior year to see if that's available to you and see if this is something that that leader always does. If it's new this year if it matches up and how it matches from a prediction perspective going forward, and how can you be proud of better prepared to have the conversation or complete the process from here on out.

Melissa Anzman (19:15): Now, this process of looking at performance cues is going to help you dig deeper and S and really understand where your HR focus can be and needs to be because we're creating those metrics around what the business actually cares about. And so that is how we tie this all together. And the business deeply cares. If there is a leader who is being unfair or overly fair, or is holding their key talent back, or is really promoting their people because they're great, or maybe they're just really great hiring managers and really great leaders. We want to know that as an organization. So understanding your outliers, both positive and negative with those performance skews will be a great metric for you to keep an eye on and also help you understand where new training is needed, where you can do peer to peer training, if someone's great at something and someone isn't so great, and other HR solutions as a whole, these, these are really quick ways for you to uncover different HR metrics that have enough thing to do with those standard traditional let me look at my I S system, or I need a big data center to tell them to me, or I need to be really good at math in order to calculate.

Melissa Anzman (20:36): It gave you all of the formulas you need, which are really, here's my number. Here's the other number? What does that tell me? So these are great ways for you to start and really start understanding not just how to create HR metrics, not just to uncover what's in front of you, but also to learn how to tell the right story behind these metrics, because that's the important part here. We want to make sure that not only are we seeing these numbers, but we're helping our organization, including our boss, understand why these numbers are important for the business and the company's long-term success.

Melissa Anzman (21:14): Thank you so much for tuning in for this episode of the rethink HR podcast. For more information, including show notes and resources, please go to RethinkHRPodcast.com/36.