Tuesday, April 18, 2006

We keep score by the numbers, don't we?

We keep score by the numbers. A simple concept, right. How many touchdowns, homeruns, goals, etc… is the way we gauge how well our “team” is doing. It’s all measurable and simple to understand and the livelihood of the team and management hang in the balance.

Isn’t odd then that while we find it perfectly acceptable to track the performance of our favorite sports teams by number, we seem to have such a hard time doing it for ourselves? Seriously, unless you work in Finance or Sales, using numbers to track team performance is somewhat of a black art. Sure, most of us can speak about attainment against revenue targets, but do any of us get below the easy stuff and look at the more strategic things?

When is the last time you looked beyond your revenue numbers and checked on other important “scores”? Turnover rate, time to hire, alignment of performance scores to company results, employee satisfaction / engagement? None of these is quite as exciting as hitting that big sale home run, but believe me, if you are not paying attention to these other measures, the likelihood of long term success for your business is pretty darn bleak. There are too many studies to link to (not to mention a mountain of common sense) to support the supposition that an engaged workforce are the best resource to achieve business success…. They succeed better, stay longer and become an absolute “talent pump” brining in new referrals and building new skills. It is alarming that such a commonly understood cause and effect relationship between these things and organizational success should go largely ignored by front line managers.

Get your HR people to tell you about the turnover stats, time to hire metrics and employee engagement measures of your staff. Understand these numbers and what they are telling you, then ACT on the information to improve!

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