Thomas Forstner is the Head of People & Talent at Juro – a contract management platform on a mission to help the world agree more – where he is building a human-centric, scalable People & Talent function from the ground up.
There are ton of metrics you could measure as a People and Talent lead at a fast-growth company. But tracking them all simply isn’t valuable. Instead, you should be economical and focus on a few metrics that can tell you the most about your function, keeping the rest in the background until you need to delve a bit deeper.
So which metrics do you choose to focus on, and which do you put on the backburner?
It’s a hard choice, there’s no doubt about that. However, some employee metrics are more valuable than others in terms of what they tell you and how important that insight is to your broader business strategy.
Ultimately, you want to grow your team consistently with the best talent, facilitate their development and ensure they’re fulfilled and engaged in their role at your company.
This Process Street post will explore the ten best metrics to track in 2022, including:
- Top metrics for employee retention & acquisition
- Performance metrics: Essential data for employee development
- Employee metrics to improve wellbeing & satisfaction
Top metrics for employee retention & acquisition
How fast is your team growing?
When measuring how your team is expanding and growing, your headcount growth or average monthly hires is the best (and most basic) metric to track.
Whilst what this target looks like will depend entirely on your company’s unique strategy and growth plan, most scaling businesses will be looking to consistently hire great talent, and so will aspire to increase their headcount in some way.
Headcount growth metrics can be tracked in a wide range of ways. For example, a small but fast-growing company may aspire to double headcount within the next year. Meanwhile, other businesses might aim to hire a certain number of employees each month, or per quarter.
One thing to consider when setting headcount growth targets is the need for some degree of flexibility because hiring the right candidate slightly later will typically still be better than hiring the wrong person according to schedule. Similarly, it’s important to consider how much more time and resources need to be spent filling more senior positions, and how headcount growth targets will need to fluctuate to accommodate this.
What’s your turnover number?
High turnover can be incredibly expensive for businesses, and it can also be indicative of larger, more deep-rooted issues within a business.
Replacing the average employee costs SMEs £12,000, but this cost can vary depending on the salary and role of the employee that leaves. The costs associated with losing and replacing a member of your team can be significant, and so need to be budgeted for accordingly – particularly if turnover rates are increasing.
More importantly though, if a high proportion of employees are leaving the company to move on to other things, it could be a clear indication that something’s going wrong. For instance, it could be that the company culture has started to turn sour, or that employees are feeling overworked and undervalued. It could even mean that the business is changing too much and that employees that once championed the business feel that it’s no longer a good fit for them.
Finding this common denominator as early as possible is critical to ensuring that the company is an attractive one for employees and that the business is able to maintain the team they need to achieve their goals.
That said, it isn’t entirely healthy to have a long-term turnover rate of 0%. It’s natural for individuals’ aspirations to change and a company to grow, particularly if you are managing a team within a start-up. At the pace a start-up evolves, the company can sometimes outgrow employees, or employees sometimes outgrow the company.
This growth is healthy for both the employees and business, so whilst you should ensure that your turnover rate isn’t too high, you should also ensure it is actually attainable.
Do you know who your “flight risk” employees are?
Just as you should be tracking the number of employees that are joining your team, you should also be keeping an eye on any flight risk employees, too. But what are flight risk employees, and what does insight into this metric allow you to do?
For those that aren’t familiar with the term, flight risk employees are members of the team that are more likely to leave the company, usually for a competing opportunity. In general, these can be employees that are dissatisfied for various reasons such as their current pay, position, or opportunities for development within the business. However, they can also be disengaged employees or top-performing employees that are now more likely to get approached by companies offering a new opportunity as a result.
But how exactly can you detect these high-risk employees? Try marking people that give an engagement score of 6 or below (i.e detractors) in your engagement survey as potential flight risks, or measure their satisfaction over time using regular pulse surveys.
Being able to identify a high-risk employee is critical for hiring teams since it provides them with the opportunity to address the risk early on before it progresses into something more challenging to mitigate. It also means that, if an employee does decide to progress with their career elsewhere, the recruiting team is more prepared when finding a suitable replacement.
Performance metrics: Essential data for employee development
How many new hires pass their probation period?
When measuring how effective your recruitment efforts have been and how well a candidate has been set up for success, it’s useful to track the percentage of probations passed and failed.
This can be a controversial metric, since many talent professionals deem onboarding to be the responsibility of a manager and the employee, with less input from hiring and talent teams. However, setting responsibilities aside, this can still be an insightful metric to measure, and it informs a variety of teams in different ways.
Not only will this figure tell you whether you’re hiring the right candidates, but it will also tell you whether or not the company’s onboarding plans are enabling the candidates you hire to be successful, as research has revealed that businesses with a robust employee onboarding process tend to improve new hire retention rates by roughly 82%.Even beyond this, a low proportion of passed probations could be a sign that expectations are being miscommunicated, or that the targets being set for your new employees are too ambitious. It could also be the case that your probation periods are either too long or too short. In most offer letters and employment contracts, a probation period will last between three and six months, and anything shorter may not give an employee enough time to settle.
Regardless of the cause, having a high number of employees failing their probation period or needing it extended can be a worrying sign, and one that requires some digging and attention.
Are there enough career progression opportunities for your people?
The percentage of promotions is also a valuable metric to track when it comes to measuring the performance and development of your team. If you’re hiring well, you’re likely hiring ambitious individuals that are looking to progress in their careers, and career progression metrics will reflect that.
Within a performance and growth culture, the number of employees developing their skills is a vital measure of success. This is something you want to see happening consistently across all departments – not just in one area.As a rough goal, it makes sense for at least half of your employees to progress in their careers within roughly 12 months. Although, striking the right balance between offering promotions regularly and making them meaningful is challenging.
With a structured career progression plan in place that employees and managers can track progress against, it can be much easier to predict when milestone progressions ought to occur, and flag when they’ve been too slow.
When was the last time you did a performance review?
Like promotions, performance review scores are also an important measure of how well an employee is performing in their role and within the company.
Often measured out of either 5 or 10, performance review scores have become an established tool in appraisal processes and are used to rate an employee’s performance over the past quarter or year, for example.
Although this metric carries a lot of value for employees individually, it can also be used to gain insight into the broader performance of certain teams. For example, if an entire team is being rated below average, it could be a sign that there is inefficiency or friction occurring in the team, and that procedures need to be put in place to eliminate these.Also, if there are low-performance review scores across the business, it could be a sign that individuals are lacking motivation, that the training isn’t proving effective or that the performance goals are simply unachievable.
Employee metrics to improve wellbeing & satisfaction
Is your employee NPS too low?
Would your own employees recommend your business as a good place to work? If not, there’s a problem.
Using an Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), you can measure how likely your employees are to recommend your company as a good place to work. Like an ordinary Net Promoter Score, the employee equivalent determines how an individual feels about the company, and how satisfied they are with their experience so far.
An eNPS can flag the number of potential flight risk employees a business has and communicate the general mood of employees throughout the business to highlight any cause for concern. If your eNPS is very low, it’s likely that employees at your business aren’t feeling fulfilled, or are disengaged with the company. This will need to change.One of the biggest benefits of using eNPS is that, while not an exact science (you need a whole survey for that), even this single question can serve as a universal score that can be consistently compared and measured over time. It’s also a quick and easy source of information since an eNPS question takes just seconds to respond to, meaning that you often have higher participation rates and more accurate data.
How psychologically safe is your workplace?
According to research by McKinsey, 89% of employees believe that psychological safety is essential within the workplace, and we couldn’t agree more. That’s why it’s vital to track it as a metric within your business.
First coined by Amy Edmonson in 1999, psychological safety means that individuals are comfortable speaking up in team situations, whether this means delivering constructive feedback, asking questions, or suggesting innovative ideas and solutions.Within a work setting, employees should feel empowered and respected enough to share their ideas and opinions. Not only does psychological safety provide the platform needed for employees to prevent failure, but it also ensures that a business can get the most value from its employees by leveraging their diverse perspectives and opinions.
Are your employees forfeiting their PTO?
This metric may seem novel, but there’s a lot of information you can extract from the amount of PTO your employees are taking.Although most employees are entitled to 28 days of paid time off (PTO), many employees, particularly in the corporate world, are reluctant to take time off. According to research by ACAS, 39% of UK employees have taken less paid time off than in previous years. In many instances, this reluctance to take holiday is due to unmanageable workloads holding them back, or the fear of disappointing their employer.
Let’s be clear: This should never be the case. Taking time off is essential for an employee’s wellbeing, and absolutely everyone needs time to rest and recharge away from the world of work. Although it might be unintentional, if you find that your employees aren’t taking the time off they’re entitled to, it could be because they’re uncomfortable doing so.
The best thing you can do in this situation is to provide reassurance to your team that time off can be a good thing, and not something that should come with guilt.
This can be achieved by showing each manager the amount of PTO their team has actually taken in comparison to how many they should have taken by that point in the year. By doing this, managers can actively encourage their team members to take the time off they’re due.
You could also put some measures in place to ensure that work is managed effectively by other team members whilst an employee is away, to reduce the anxiety felt when taking time off.
How do you decide what to prioritize?
Ultimately, when deciding which employee metrics are worth focusing on, you should think strategically about how closely the results relate to your overarching business targets and how much useful information they can provide you with.
Of course, it can be tempting at times to measure and track a large pool of employee metrics, particularly for data-driven businesses. However, it’s important not to do this at the expense of the metrics that matter most.
Rather, you should prioritize the employee metrics that support you most in achieving your long-term strategy, and keep the other metrics in the background until you need to investigate issues a little bit more. That way, you can keep a closer eye on the numbers that have the biggest impact on your business and function.
Which metrics do you choose to focus on in your organization? Let us know in the comments below!