Our CEO recently returned from an executive summit, and he noted that one of the questions discussed among a group of enterprise leaders was intriguing: “What makes great companies?”
I am certain the discussion was dynamic and generated a lot of different perspectives, but he said that a core theme emerged from the dialogue: great companies are those with 1. a compelling mission aligned to by the company and 2. people who enjoy the pursuit of that mission.
Let’s face it. For enterprise human resources teams, there’s never been a more challenging time to fulfill the people portion of this equation. We’re looking at almost full employment right now in many countries. The UK and the U.S. unemployment rates sit around 4%. Japan’s is a little above 2%. And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are currently more open positions than there are job seekers for only the second time in the past two decades.
So what does this mean for HR? This means the talent you’re working to recruit has more choices than ever before. In addition, the talent you’re working to retain has more choices than ever before. It has never been more important for people to understand and enjoy the pursuit of your corporate mission, so that they’ll make the company great, keep it great, and advocate and attract more great talent.
The Pursuit of Happiness (and Greatness)
How do you tell if people are enjoying the pursuit of your company’s mission, and get ahead of issues if you notice that your top talent is not? This is sometimes harder in an enterprise organization where engagement measures are often less frequent and less personal due to the sheer number of employees.
Here are three key people metrics every enterprise organization should be paying attention to:
- Traditional measures of sentiment. Annual engagement surveys fall into this category and provide at least a periodic pulse check on the health of your organization and people’s attitudes. This shouldn’t be the only metric monitored, but it’s something.
- Job movement measures. Enterprise organizations should also be tracking the proportion of high performers and high potential employees who have made positive or lateral career moves during a specified period of time.
With these metrics, you get a sense of whether or not your company promotes positive talent progression. If your high performers and high potential employees are making positive moves, you can more confidently assume these people are “in”—that they find your company’s mission compelling, enjoy the pursuit, and will continue to work (and advocate) to make your company great because it’s also good for their career.
On the flip side, enterprise organizations should also be tracking voluntary turnover (a lagging measure). We’ve all read the articles that say the number one reason people leave a job is because they don’t like their boss. In fact, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace research shows that about 70% of the variance in engagement among workgroups can be attributed to their manager.
- Management measures. The traditional 360-degree review is one way to look into any management issues. As part of MicroStrategy’s HR analytics, we use a multi-rater tool where every employee gives their quarterly opinion of both peers and management based on three criteria: engagement, capability, and cheer.
Enterprise organizations should also think about utilizing a manager dashboard that tracks, for example, a manager’s number of direct reports, how those reports perform on an objective metric, employee reviews and ratings, and turnover within the last twelve months. An across-the-organization view here allows you to pick up on, and get ahead of, potential issues.
Putting it all together, why do enterprise organizations need to pay attention to their people metrics? First, every organization needs to be seen as relevant and viable in a tight labor environment. HR analytics let you evaluate current status and improve from there.
Second, it’s about the pursuit of employee happiness and company greatness. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report shows that organizations in the top quartile of employee engagement perform 10% better on customer metrics, 17% higher when it comes to productivity, 20% higher in sales, and are 21% more profitable. Being great requires tapping in to the discretionary effort that people are willing to give, defining and determining positive career movement by positive management, and proactively championing the people wanting to create greatness within and for the organization.
To learn more about how to use analytics in human resources, watch the webcast Key Analytics and Mobility Applications for HR. If you’re looking to learn more about HR’s role in your organization’s data and analytics strategy, check out this article: 4 Questions to Help HR Leaders Make Data Strategy a Reality.