Benefits and Compensation

Metrics ‘Gotchas’—Blindsided in the C-Suite


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.


In fact, thousands of managers have put their faith in Employee Compensation in [Your State]. The [Your State] refers to the fact that a separate edition is published for each of 43 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia. So if you live in Illinois, Employee Compensation in Illinois is the reference you receive.




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Each edition of the Employee Compensation in [Your State] service contains these key elements:


—Recommended Rate Ranges localized for your state and region for hundreds of jobs, based on surveys and official data. You shouldn’t pay the same in Manhattan, Kansas, as you do on Manhattan Island in New York. This program makes sure you don’t.


—A to Z State and Federal Law Comparisons.  Comp and benefits are regulated by a tangle of laws. Employee Compensation offers an alphabetically arranged set of practical analyses on how to comply.  Look up “ERISA” or “Overtime” or “Workers’ Compensation” and you instantly have a plain-English explanation of how the controlling laws—state and federal—apply to you.


—A Full Job Descriptions Program. Employee Compensation offers a complete tutorial for setting up a job descriptions program. Many ADA-compliant sample descriptions are provided, ready to copy and use.


—Employee compensation and benefits surveys. BLR’s exclusive survey data come from thousands of organizations just like yours. You get three surveys: exempt compensation, nonexempt compensation, and employee benefits.


—Free newsletter and updates. The Employee Compensation newsletter helps keep you on top of new state and federal compensation and benefits laws. Six updates throughout the year keep your book current with all new compensation laws.


—Complete wage and salary administration guidance. Walks you through the entire compensation process with step-by-step instructions for analyzing and pricing jobs, writing job descriptions, employee compensation policies, and more.


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.


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