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Yesterday I hosted a webinar all about how to boost your HR budget using metrics – and one thing became clear to me while answering questions during the Q&A: HR metrics is starting to become a buzz word, but it’s still not clear for many HR professionals why metrics matters.

I know all of my super data-focused analysts are cringing since they can show you, with exact numbers and studies, why HR metrics matters. But unfortunately, they are not the majority of the HR population.

So here’s a warning – to all of the HR professionals out there, who are more generalists or business partners, or in a center of excellence: your HR department is losing a significant amount of money if you’re not using HR metrics.

Let that sink in for a moment – is your HR budget so vast that losing money is acceptable, or is this something you want to change now?

You’re Not Investing Your Money Appropriately

HR metrics is another tool you can use to help improve your HR activities, and one of its most important uses, is to take the guesswork out of how you’re investing your money. I know that up until now, HR departments simply followed the trend or caught up with a competitor’s approach. Heck, I know for a fact that there are HR departments out there that are simply looking to CEB or SHRM to dictate how they should be organized and what they should invest in.

Terrible, horrible mistake.

Simply following the leader is not going to deliver results for your company, plain and simple. Investing in a new HRIS system or Engagement Survey software, may not be the right call for your organization – and those are huge monetary investments.

Instead, you should be using HR metrics to dictate how you invest your money, based on your company’s bottom-line and annual goals. For example, if your company wants to increase their profit margin, all of your HR investments need to show quantitatively, how it will result in positive margin. You’re simply throwing money into the wind, if you invest in anything HR-related without having the metrics to support your decision.

You’ll Continue to Struggle to Get Support

With HR being at the center of many change management initiatives, especially as the role of the Human Resources department grows and changes, you will struggle more than ever to not only get your leaders on board with these changes, but also in finding talent who wants to work in your HR department. And we all know we don’t need any more trouble in either area.

But when you are not able to provide meaningful data to your business partners, the old moniker of “because I say so,” will not only fall flat, but also ruin any credibility you have. The world of business we’re in as a whole, is not okay moving forward without real, hard justifiable information. Leaders and key talent want to be able to buy into something that they can get behind, knowing they’re supporting the right thing.

How many times has a new project or initiative come your way that seemed to be created out of thin air… and you weren’t sure you wanted to join the project? I can think of hundreds of those projects – and some proved to cost people their jobs when they failed.


NOW is the time, at the forefront of the current HR transformation, to start having higher expectations of your HR department. To start thinking like our counterparts think, Marketing, in particular. The HR department can easily become the scape goat – after all, we’re known for by reputation as being “fluffy,” and “figure heads,” and “yes men.”

You will continue to earn that reputation if you aren’t able to show exactly why you’re spending money in the ways you’re doing so – and more importantly, why the company should care about HR. Show them how your activities are directly aligned with the business, and you’ll start becoming strategic partners to the business – not the fluffy forgotten group.