Measuring ROI: Mixing data with engagement

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Engagement strategist Rachelle Falls has over 15 years’ industry experience – as a talented speaker, writer and consultant, she wears a multitude of HR hats and even hosts an HR radio show, HRNOW. Here, Falls tells us how to make managers realize there’s more to success than just numbers.
“My boss is always concerned with recruiting numbers…from the number of interviews we hold to how many hires we can count each month. We’re a data driven organization, but how can I stress the importance to leadership that there is more to hiring, retention, and promotions than just numbers?”

 This is a question I hear a lot. How do we get leaders to look beyond the numbers for ROI and look more at engagement as a stronger measurement for what we’re doing right and where we need to make improvements? Engagement is not just an HR issue. Engagement is an organizational necessity to ensure that customers, candidates, and employees remain your best brand ambassadors now and in the future.

The Numbers Game

When we’re driven by numbers, we become too focused on the bottom line.  This tends to limit our ability to see the factors that contribute to the data. I call it “data vision.” We’re so determined to meet quota that we place a greater emphasis on what the output is, rather than what got us there in the first place.

Yes, we need data. We need metrics. These figures give us a solid starting point tobegin the evaluation of whatever we happen to be measuring…whether that’s determining the time it takes to fill a requisition or the average time it takes for an employee to advance to promotion. Data is a starting point. However, data doesn’t always tell the story. It may provide a framework, but to fill in the good stuff, you’ve got to look at what’s happening around you.  For example:
  • What does the candidate experience look like?
  • How often do you engage with your customers online?
  • Is onboarding a firm-wide activity that involves everyone?
  • How often do feedback conversations occur?
  • Are performance goals reviewed regularly?
  • Is technology mobile and accessible to everyone?
Making data work for you is important. If you’re just looking at the numbers, you’ll fall short on understanding what the story is “behind the scenes.” Incorporate the questions above with your data analysis and then work out a strategy. shared these tips on making data work for you:
  • “Put together a team that includes people familiar with the work being performed; staff with analytical skills; and subject-matter experts. Bring in key partners and stakeholders, and include people who aren’t part of the process but who have a vested interest in the outcome and are willing to challenge the status quo.
  • Ask questions even if they can’t be answered with current data. The exercise will help highlight what data or information is needed.
  • Using the questions as a starting point, brainstorm to define a current process or activity and what a future, improved version or result might be, focusing on top issues and agreeing on a desired outcome or outcomes.”
 Understand what the data is, why you need it and how it relates to your business goals. As an HR professional, you’ll be focused on attraction, retention, and building your internal pipeline, just to name a few. So, instead of looking at how many hires you have each month, determine the following:
  • What sources does my team use to find candidates?
  • What does our employment brand say about the organization?
  • Have we built the right relationships and formed the right networks?
  • Do we support and promote employee referrals?
Use current data as an initial “pulse check” and then get started…ask the questions, set goals, involve the right stakeholders and implement an action plan. Rinse and repeat. Then take that data and mix it with engagement.

Mixing Data with Engagement

Combining data with engagement is the way to go if you want to ensure organizational success. Data alone is not responsible for an engaged workforce. Data can help lead us to solutions and improvements to engagement and therefore, should not be evaluated in a silo.

If the plan is to drive revenue, you need to understand what is driving the innovation and creativity- from product inception and design to implementation and market delivery. To rise to the top, you need the best talent, and they must be engaged and focusing on what’s happening now and what can be done tomorrow.

Think ahead.

What skill sets do you require? How can you attract the best talent and make sure you’re competing with industry leaders?  What does future job growth look like, and are you able to establish a long-term career plan for employees?

Building a workforce that is both motivated and engaged will foster a great sense of team work, collaboration, and loyalty.

Instead of focusing on recruiting and retention data alone, mix the numbers with the story of engagement. Understand what works and where the gaps are.

Use data to pinpoint measurements in time, while using engagement to tell the story and determining if you need a better plot or a different ending.
This blog post was first published by RiseSmart. You can read more from RiseSmart here or you can visit Rachelle’s blog, Corporate HR Girl, here.

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