HR Metrics Gone Wild

Tim Sackett Bad HR, Metrics, Tim Sackett, Workforce Management Articles

Look, I love metrics – ask anyone on my staff – we measure everything at my company. Heck I’d measure how long it takes staff to go to the bathroom if I thought it would help them perform better!  But there comes a time in every company when the Human Resource Department steps over the ledge.  You know the time, when someone in HR had decided that measuring how many tater tots are ingested by the IT group on Friday Fish Stick and Tater Tot day, in hopes they’ll find out how to solve getting the IT group to stop coming in 13 seconds late on the 3rd Friday of every other month – that they found out by secretly placing GPS locater chips into the tater tots to begin with a “test” to see if IT actually spent more time helping marketing than accounting because there was this one anonymous tip from someone they think was in accounting who didn’t get their computer fixed fast enough so they could look up the final results to Dancing to the Stars, and because the engagement scores were .016 points lower last month, this became a priority.

Tapemeasure-flowerWe tend to go a little metric crazy in HR – and that’s exactly how I felt while reading Alex Douzet’s Workforce article, “Quality of Fill: an Emerging Recruitment Metric“.  It’s a good read – check it out – I like the idea in theory – I mean what HR/Recruiting Pro/Leader wouldn’t want to know how well they did in filling positions for your company.  Besides, there’s probably about 359 vendors right now who are trying to sell you an online product that will “definitely” show your Quality of Hire measure.  But it all seems a little too Easter Bunnyish to me…

So, let me just put it into simple terms – so I can understand the logic – then you all can let me know where I fell down (which by the way you always do beautifully):

First – I hire someone

Second – Person starts

Third – At some point we measure how good of a hire the person was

Fourth – I get told how good of a recruiter I am based on #3

Now, it would seem to me there are a few more variables that we need to add to our scenario above; let me give you an example:

I hire Jim into Department A on 1-1-10 working for Supervisor Mary and a team of 5 others in Jim’s role (Frank, Ted, Billy, Jill and Sue). On 1-1-11 – Mary is no longer supervisor – it’s now Ted, who by the way never wanted to hire Jim to begin with, because Jim played against him 20 years ago in high school and beat him in the state tennis finals – and Ted has always thought he was a bad winner.  Also, Billy and Jill have left the company and we’ve brought in Marty and Stan.  Now you’re going to measure the success of the group and tie that to Jim – when the entire group dynamics have changed – and in the end tell someone we were either successful in hiring Jim or not!?

That is reality in organizations – you could also just use quality of fill/hire metrics just individually by using competency based systems and you run into the same dynamic.  Hire Jim in under the competencies decided upon by Sr. Execs – but his current supervisor doesn’t feel all the competencies are equal and Jim is really struggling with one – so not a very good hire – although he’s a rock star in the other 5 competencies and actually help develop the companies next big product.  So, is he a good hire or bad hire?  Subjectivity makes this metric completely worthless.

So, why do we (HR) do this? We do it because executives and hiring managers want it – they think “hey, you know what would be nice – you guys (HR) coming up with a metric that tells us 5 years from now if you did good at hiring 5 years ago.”  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Heck yeah, it would!  You know what would be nice as well Hiring Manager? Actually paying attention next time we do supervisor training on how to deliver feedback more than once per year that is meaningful. Oh, I’m sorry I thought we were sharing stuff that will never happen!