Measurement: The Key to High-Performance Everything

Earlier this month, I crossed the one-year mark in my role as Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group. It’s been a wild ride – believe it or not – and this blog serves as a great map of the places I’ve been and the things I’ve turned my mind to over the last 12 months. In my very first post, I pointed out that there are many paths to excellence in talent acquisition and set out to illuminate them. I’d like to think I’ve done an OK job of it.

Looking back, however, I see a few ideas popping up more frequently, certain paths crossing again and again. Candidate experience, social and mobile technology, recruitment marketing and employer brand – and most recently, impact: Each has persisted as a driver of change in talent acquisition, and a prominent theme in my blog. But underlying each of these is a critical common component: measurement.

For all the buzz around video interviewing and employee referrals and mobile readiness, measurement – tedious, unsexy measurement – is the one target many organizations are still chasing (some high-performing organizations included).

I’ve spent the last year researching talent acquisition priorities and process. I’ve delved into the essential elements of high-performance onboarding. I’ve identified the critical components of effective recruitment marketing. I’ve investigated key practices in behavioral assessments, candidate relationship management, social talent acquisition, and more – and each one has led me to the same conclusion: the single most important driver of high-performance anything is measurement.

Allow me to elaborate.

Each year, Brandon Hall Group celebrates organizations around the world that have achieved excellence in human capital management (HCM). The application process is rigorous, as only the best can earn a prestigious Brandon Hall Excellence Award. (Winners are announced in a special web event Sept. 9 – please join us!)

Not only do we ask applicants to tell us their story – their challenges, their solution, and the outcomes – we ask for measurable results. And this is where many struggle.

Most rely on anecdotal information, sharing quotes from employees, line managers, and business unit leaders taken from emails soliciting feedback. A few have a limited number of data points, typically ranging from program completion rates to general employee satisfaction. But occasionally, you’ll find organizations that are closely tracking HCM performance before and after the initiative, and are able to use benchmark data to illustrate just how successful their programs were – as well as where they still need to improve.

As you might imagine, these organizations soar to the top, garnering the highest marks and earning the top awards. The reason is twofold:

  • The data gathered and shared paints a clear picture of impact, and serves as a baseline for evaluating similar initiatives.
  • The ability to measure today enables the organization to plot a course for tomorrow – which is the direction high-performance HCM continuously works toward.

I’ve written about the importance of measurement and the challenges organizations face when trying to gauge impact in talent acquisition, and I expect I’ll still be standing on this soapbox this time next year. For now, we’re still accepting applications for our Excellence in Technology Awards. Considering the fact that almost every single piece of talent acquisition technology I’ve been briefed on has built – or plans to build – an analytics and reporting function, I hope we’ll see more client success stories chock-full-of measurable benefits.

If you’ve got a compelling story to tell, I invite you to submit an application. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Excellence Awards, we’re hosting our first ever HCM Excellence Conference in January, where we’ll honor this year’s awards winners, and learn from leading organizations in executive roundtables and interactive panel discussions. I hope to see you there!

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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