Aligning HR activities and metrics with company objectives isn’t just prudent. It’s a way to ensure that the HR team will be seen as a key strategic partner in business decisions—and a way to help the entire organization achieve goals from the top down. You’re all on the same team, so it pays to be working toward the same goals!
Here are a few of the many ways that the HR team can ensure that HR activities and metrics align with company objectives:
- Train managers to cascade goals to the next level, modifying as appropriate. This means a manager will take his or her goals as a starting point when forming team goals. They need to assess how each team member contributes. For example, if an organizational goal is to grow revenue by 10 percent, this is a fairly easy one to cascade to every sales manager and sales team member. When there are not direct translations, think about how an individual can impact an organizational goal indirectly.
- Review common HR metrics and present them in a way that benefits executives This may mean that the data have to be analyzed in a new way or presented in a new format. The key is to ensure that the focus is on the metrics that assist the executive team in making decisions that help the organization achieve its goals. If you’re unsure which metrics are important to the executives, start by getting more information on organizational goals and what types of reports are already used.
- Don’t forget that presentation matters. While the data presented are of course important, they will lose impact if presented poorly. In practice, this means looking at all metrics that relate to the organizational goals and considering how to best present them in a way that facilitates decision making. For example, if an organizational goal is profit improvement, perhaps HR can present a reduction in turnover in dollar terms—and then show how that reduction reduced expenses, thus improving profitability. This presents the data in a way that ties into organizational goals, rather than simply showing turnover percentages without tying it together.
- Ensure that data gathered is consistent.In other words, make sure that the entire organization is working off of the same input. For example, if one department is reporting turnover as only employees who voluntarily leave and another is reporting turnover as every employee who is no longer with the organization (including those who were fired), then the data are not comparable. This results in poor decision making—all because of an easily avoided problem.
- Utilize performance management or HRIS systems to help the organization achieve it’s goals. Sometimes organizational goals require new teams to be created or require employees to gain new skills. Optimally implemented performance management and employee development systems can assist in this area by helping to identify the best employees to put on project teams and who will need additional training for the company to succeed.
- Ensure managers are using the performance management system properly. Even if goals are cascaded and employees have the right tools and training, it can all fall apart if the performance management system is not used to its full potential. For example, if managers neglect to perform appraisals in a timely manner or fail to give realistic assessments of employees, the employee goals will be less relevant. Consider whether it’s realistic to have a pay-for-performance system to drive results.
- Get back to basics by ensuring that the organization has the right talent, and monitor employee engagement levels. It sounds simple enough—accomplishing goals requires having the right people for the job. Obviously, this is a task that HR can assist with by fine-tuning hiring and recruitment to ensure that the company is sourcing the best talent for the tasks at hand. Additionally, HR teams can assess employee engagement levels—which certainly impact productivity—and see where the organization can improve.
What other ways have you found to ensure that HR metrics are aligned with the organizations strategic goals?
**This article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel with specific questions.**
About Bridget Miller:
Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.