We all know that you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
Knowing what to measure, and how to do it isn’t always easy – and in Human Resources, just as in Operations, getting it wrong can lead to bad decisions. Setting performance measures can change people’s behaviour as they work towards the measures, and if the measures aren’t good, there can be unforeseen results: not always good ones. Let’s just not discuss the bankers rewarded for taking high-risk positions, leading to the current financial problems …
But measuring the right things is a far broader topic than just performance measures; it involves getting a proper handle on the ‘people’ data. If – for example – you don’t track the age profile of your staff, you may find that one year you lose a great deal of human capital and knowledge because many of your most experienced staff retire, with a consequent loss of expertise within the company. If you’d been fully aware of this risk, you could have set up flexible retirement schemes, or managed the succession planning process better, or come up with a scheme to capture the critical knowledge that those individuals had.
Infohrm are holding a conference in November to look at how to use data analysis and data-driven decision making to improve business outcomes. The keynote speakers include very senior staff from RBS, Metropolitan Police and the National Australia Bank (all people-driven businesses) as well as academics who specialise in strategic workforce planning and human resources. Other presenters will be there from Nokia, National Grid, Royal Mail, BAA, Deloitte, Allied Irish Bank and Unilever.
That’s a group of speakers with a lot of experience talking about their companies and how they measure, analyse and report on workforce data to meet consumer demands, control costs, drive business change and maximise stakeholder engagement. Should be very interesting … and it may be a cliché, but learning from the experience of others, particularly the giants in the field, might just get you a better view.