Even with the best of metrics, you’re not home free, says Attorney James P. Greene. Once top management starts in on your stats, you won’t likely escape unscathed. Be prepared to be hit with these common “gotchas.”
Greene, a member of the Ann Arbor, Michigan, office of the law firm Dykema Gossett, and director of the firm’s Employment Law Department, offered his tips at BLR’s recent Employment Law Update in Las Vegas.
Gotcha #1. Different Interpretation of Results
Say you have submitted statistics showing that retention has improved. Your stats are unassailable—checked by a statistician friend—and, in spite of yourself, you are pretty proud of what you have accomplished in retention. Don’t be surprised when a senior manager says, “I think ‘improved retention’ just reflects the fact that we’re hiring less qualified people—no one else wants them.”
Gotcha #2. Inaccurate or Misleading Information
Managers always make decisions with incomplete information, so they are used to that. But they want the information they do have to be reliable, warns Greene. Make sure that information you do supply is accurate, and that you can back your figures with clean, readily available original data. If your data are questionable, be up-front about it, says Greene. Clarify what the problem is, how far off the conclusions might be, and why you still think the information is worth considering.
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Gotcha #3. You Measured It, Why Didn’t You Fix It?
You have done extensive studies and have unearthed several significant problems. Expecting a pat on the back? Be wary of approaching management with metrics that indicate a problem, says Greene. They often will respond, “When you found this problem, why didn’t you fix it?”
Gotcha #4. You Measured X, Why Didn’t You Measure Y?
Similarly, whenever you present one measurement, at least one senior manager is going to think of something else that you could have measured instead.
What can you do about gotchas? Although it’s worth trying to anticipate gotchas, it’s unlikely that you will predict them all. Fortunately, in many cases, grilling the presenter is just management’s way of checking that you are confident of what you are presenting.
Overall Outcomes for HR
Ultimately, says Greene, if you can master metrics, you’ll see a clearly improved communication of HR’s impact, and a repositioning of HR with respect to organizational leadership.
King of Metrics
Of course, the first HR metrics are still some of the most important. We’re talking about compensation and benefits metrics. HR managers who deal with compensation have always compared their organizations’ data with data from competitors nationwide and from neighboring employers of all kinds. For more than 20 years, they’ve relied on an extraordinary program from BLR to deliver those data.
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Each edition of the Employee Compensation in [Your State] service contains these key elements:
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Use the links below to see samples of the program and newsletter, as well as a full table of contents of what’s included.
The program is priced affordably for small companies as well as large, at about $1.50 a working day. That’s coffee money for just about every form of information most managers need to run a competitive and efficient comp/benefits program.
You can check out the entire program in your own office for up to 30 days, with no need to buy. (We even pay return postage.) Just click the link below, and we’ll be happy to set things up.