Measuring Workforce Data to Improve Organisational Performance

Jul 22, 2016

Collecting and measuring workforce data is a priority for many organisations to benchmark their performance, develop their organisation and to improve performance.


HR Metrics or analytics are a statistical or mathematical way of gaining an insight into what is happening in your organisation. These then in their turn help to inform decision making. When looked at over a period of time (trend analysis) HR Metrics can give you powerful information not just about your organisation, the context within which it operates and how to improve organisational performance.

Data is the raw information you can access from your HR system for example headcount. A metric combines sets of data. Investigating your headcount and salary spend can tell you how much is being spent on, agency staff for example; which may lead you to making different resourcing decisions.

Analysis is about looking at your data against comparators for example a bench marking study, competitors, or even a period of time.
Three levels of Metrics
1. The Basic Level this is where we measure things we can easily retrieve from Information systems and include staff turnover, absence, headcount, training plan completion
2. The Multi-dimensional Level, this is where different data sets are combined for example HR information and financial information. This is where you really start to see some bang for your buck.
3. The Predictive Level; this is where you start to forecast things like attrition rates future remuneration costs
Where to start and how to overcome problems
Start with that data that is easiest to gather this is the information that is recorded as part of the normal business processes. Find out what the senior leaders in the organisation want. Does your organisation use the balanced score card? Review the staff survey. Popular key metrics include employee engagement, leadership effectiveness - from the balanced score card. Motivation, line manager effectiveness development and training from the staff survey. Finally agree the frequency of reporting.
Many HR professionals report difficulties gathering data. As soon as you start to show other managers some basic data about their department or services they will start to see the importance of sharing information with you. Make sure your HR and other systems are integrated. Find out where the people data is in the organisation, define your terms and agree the definition. You would be amazed at how many different formula definitions there are for one measure such as of headcount or turnover. Finance, HR IT, and Perrformance Monitoring teams should collaborate to produce the HR metrics.
Some examples of HR Metrics
Some simple examples include Headcount and Full Time Equivalents (FTE) age and length of service.
A more complex example for modelling would take the following data
1. Turnover in the first twelve months of employment
2. High performers turnover compared and contrasted with performance ratings
3. The attitudes and engagement of those with less than three years’ service from the staff survey
This metric will tell you about the capability of the organisation to attract and engage staff and will then inform the action you need to take to support or remedy the situation.
Let’s look at a real example a social care organisation reported a high number of medication errors by staff. The training metric showed that low numbers of staff were completing the course and the evaluations showed delegates not enjoying the course. The combination of all the information revealed a fundamental flaw in the training of staff and the vigilance of managers to ensure that their staff attended training. The organisation was able to take an informed decision about how to tackle the problem.
Or in a commercial setting headcount figures and revenue information gave clues to where productivity needs improvement in a call centre. When combined with employee engagement information powerful information about the ability of managers to manage the call centre was also revealed again allowing remedial action to be taken.
A final word
Don’t wait until you have the perfect system to gather information and the right number of people to produce a complete data set. You will have retired by then and so will your grandchildren. Just get started, use what you have got and grow the metrics from that point. You will be able to analyse information, identify concerns and benchmark your organisations performance and all this will support your insights and inform the organisations decision making.
Contact Pivotal HR for support with measuring your HR performance.
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