There’s a cost of doing nothing in your business, especially when it comes to your goals and objectives. The famous insurance salesman Ben Feldman said it best in his famous power quote, “Doing something costs something. Doing nothing costs something. And, quite often, doing nothing costs a lot more!”
No matter what your business is, there are some business metrics that you can’t afford to ignore. So what metrics should you be tracking? There are three that seem to consistently float to the top of every organization’s priority list: DEIB, talent acquisition, and learning impact measurements. Tracking each of these can help uncover discordant parts of your business. They enable you to develop strategies that bring those parts and the rest of your business back in line with your goals. Tracking these metrics isn’t a one-and-done task, though. It’s an on-going process.
Why these metrics are important
Think of your business as a human body and these metrics as the body’s internal systems. When you keep an eye on those systems, you may discover that there are symptoms of a deeper underlying issue. Let’s say that the issue is high blood pressure. Now, in a human, high blood pressure would likely be treated with medication. The strategy these metrics inform is your medication, and like high blood pressure, you wouldn’t treat the problem and never return to the doctor. Instead, you’d likely return after a few weeks or months for a checkup. If the results weren’t as expected, your doctor would adjust treatment, prescribe a different medication, and repeat the process. Now apply that method to your ongoing business metrics tracking and business improvement strategies.
Tracking and understanding these metrics gives you the ability to understand what’s happening in your business, see what gaps exist, and make plans to fill those gaps. You can then return to the metrics once you enacted those plans to see whether they’ve achieved your goals and adjust your strategy according to the results. If all your employees in one part of the business or in one diversity group are performing better or worse than others, paying attention to these data measures can bring the issue to light much faster and more effectively than playing the guessing game.
One potential pitfall of not paying attention to DEIB is that it can negatively impact a business’ ability to attract high-quality candidates. Additionally, customers may be less satisfied and more likely to leave if they perceive the company as lacking in diversity. By contrast, companies that prioritize DEIB may enjoy better customer satisfaction and attract top talent because they’re seen as melting pots of thoughts, experiences, and ideas. In tracking these DEIB metrics, you may find that your company is lacking diversity in certain areas or stagnating in others due to an overabundance of diverse opinions. Instead of making guesses at what might be happening, look at your DEIB data. It will put a spotlight on the parts of your business that don’t meet your diversity goals and enable you to see where diversity may be lacking in your business.
Let’s say, for example, you track ethnic diversity and all seems well, but you may not see that one department is diverse when it comes to ethnicity, but homogeneous when it comes to age or even gender. Keeping a close eye on all aspects of diversity can help you see that. Like ogres (thanks Shrek), DEIB is like an onion. There are many layers. While the one on top may look healthy, it’s only when you peel each layer back, or cut through the center, that you’ll be able to see the onion as a whole and determine what areas, if any, may be unhealthy.
Businesses should pay close attention to the talent acquisition process, from the source of talent to the hiring process itself. Doing so is important because it enables you to build a strong and diverse workforce, reduce turnover, and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. With a data-driven approach to talent acquisition, you can optimize your hiring process and attract the best talent available for your organization. When you keep a regular eye on your talent acquisition metrics, you can see the referral sources of your top talent, the drop offs in each step of the process, and even your ratio of interviews to offers extended.
Furthermore, there is a need for consistency throughout the talent acquisition stage: of process, of communication, and of how you initiate or introduce candidates to your business, its culture, and its established practices.
With so many people in the job market today, it’s even more important than ever to make your talent acquisition process work for both your business and the job prospects. The application and interview process is often a prospect’s first interaction with your company. If the application is too convoluted or difficult, or you fail to get back to applicants in a timely manner, regardless of whether they’ve moved forward in the process or not, they’re likely to come away with a poor impression of your company. Those impressions compound, and if you fail to make data-driven changes to the process now, it could be too late in the future to change a widespread view of whether your company is a place to work or even interview.
In addition, often “onboarding” is a part of this process. What happens in the first week, the first month, or the first 90 days of a new hire’s employment needs to be monitored and streamlined to ensure the new hire is engaged, supported and trained to take on the full responsibilities for the job they were hired to do.
When it comes to learning data, it’s important to understand how employees are being trained for their current and future roles. This includes looking at the impact your learning and development strategies have on your overall business, and drawing a line from where you were prior to the training to where you are now. How has your business performance changed, and how much closer are you to meeting business goals than you were prior to the training? By creating a learning analytics strategy and evaluating this data, businesses can identify areas where they need to improve and take steps to do so.
To put it simply, paying attention to your learning metrics gives you the ability to gauge the real impact, historically and moving forward, that investments into development programs have and have had on your company’s revenue and growth. This results in an understanding of what learning is taking place, what impact that learning has on your overall business (where and how the company is seeing improvement), and what gaps exist that learning and development activities might help address (where your business should invest next). Without a concentrated focus on these metrics, you’re essentially flying blind and run the risk of investing in learning and development that has no impact, or a negative impact, on your company’s health.
Bonus: Check Every Metric Through a DEIB Lens
By examining each step of the process through a DEIB lens, you can identify potential problem areas and take steps to address them. When hiring, your candidates may be very diverse—just as you hope and envision. Let’s say that diversity carries through the entire hiring process, but when new hires are on-boarded into their jobs, you may uncover a significant imbalance in early resignations for one group over the others. That, then, points to a potential point of failure in the overall process. Something is happening from recruitment and hiring to onboarding that could require some additional investigation and work to address.
To put it simply, when you look at each step in the talent process with a DEIB lens, there might be one step with a problem while every other step has a good showing of diverse talent. Seeing this might make you look closer at what the needs are for specific roles, what’s happening between each step in the hiring process, and what the qualifications are for prospects that move forward vs. those that don’t. It may even point to manager ineffectiveness or a combination of factors where candidates from a certain group receive less support in the job post-hire.
For learning, it’s good to understand how your company is doing overall, how team members are being trained for their current job, prepared for the next job, promoted, mentored, etc. Next, you’ll want to approach it from a DEIB perspective. Ask yourself whether the people flagged as having high potential for growth show the same diversity as in your general workforce. Are internal promotions as diverse as new talent onboards? What about the instructors in each learning program?
When you examine your talent acquisition and learning data through a DEIB lens, you’re better equipped to identify out-of-sync areas that you missed when examining them individually.
Start Tracking These Industry Metrics Today
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to have all the answers. Instead, you need to stay on top of the data in your business and make changes to the areas that aren’t commensurate with the rest according to your unique goals. Ask yourself what the cost is of not paying attention to these metrics, not making changes in your business now vs. in the future, and not understanding the trends your data wants to tell you. Time keeps moving regardless of whether you start now or later, but in tracking DEIB, learning analytics, and talent acquisition data, businesses can identify areas where they need to improve NOW and make informed decisions that benefit both their employees and their bottom line. While it may take time to implement changes, the potential rewards are well worth the effort.
If you’ve reached the end of this post and the biggest thing holding you back is a lack of time or resources, we can help! ZeroedIn tracks these business metrics for you and displays the data in easy to use people analytics dashboards. Contact us to learn how we can turn tracking from a stressful, time consuming process into something you can take action on in a matter of minutes. Before you know it, you’ll be making profitable, steady strides toward your long-term business goals using accurate, trustworthy data that spotlights the areas you need to take action on.