The Right Way to Get Your HR Data-Tracking System up and Running

Shelley SmithBlog, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Predictive Index

Triumphant Data Man


It seems like everyone in HR is talking about succession planning and employee engagement, but no one knows what to do about it. If you want to see real results and real change in your company or business, you need to get busy tracking cold hard facts and data.

Less Talk, More Data

First, get HR’s goals in line with the company’s goals and objectives. If you don’t know what your company’s goals are, step up and ask. Rather than looking foolish and clueless, you will look like a smart go-getter. Then put those goals down in writing so every employee at all levels can agree to them.

If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some questions to get you started:

Which topics get discussed at every executive meeting?

Which issues keep decision-makers up at night?

How do those same folks define a successful year in review?

Remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t know. And if you don’t know, you will make assumptions, which could lead to wasted time and effort, the exact opposite of the streamlined process you seek.

Deal with resistance

You may know the importance of data, but getting management buy-in isn’t always easy. So many HR and C-level executives are passionate about their work, but passion isn’t enough.

Passion may spark your drive to get started, but you have to see it through with data. (Tweet this)

If you encounter resistance from executives within your organization, here are some ways to handle the situation:

Have the other person go through the data with you.

Instead of trying to beat the final decision-maker over the head with all of your research, sit down and say, “Show me where you think the data is wrong or not valid.” Doing so will allow you to better understand how the other person is interpreting the data.

State your case with numbers, not emotions. (Tweet this)

Include doubters in the data collection from the very beginning.

Ask that person how he defines trustworthy data collection, and make that person or process part of the game. If doubters already trust the source, they will trust the data.

Prepare and present a variety of options and outcomes.

Show what will happen if your HR department continues to forego tracking data and instead does nothing. Will money be wasted on inefficient processes? Will employee morale take a hit from constant turnover? Will talented middle managers leave the company to work elsewhere?

How to start

Where you begin tracking data depends on the goals your company wants to accomplish. Since turnover is such a HUGE issue for most companies, here are some tips to track that data:

• Make a list of open positions.

• Track the time each person in your organization spends on tasks such as defining roles, placing ads, reviewing and screening applications, conducting background checks and assessments, and holding both phone and in-person interviews.

• Multiply the number of hours by the average wage of each person doing the work.

• After a new hire starts, track the average ramp-up time and again track hourly wage times hours invested.

• Track the time and wages of everyone involved in onboarding in the HR department, as well as those responsible for training the new employee. Don’t forget to track the impact on the new hire’s department as he gets up to speed.

• Add everything together to get an idea of the time and dollars you spend on employee turnover.

How does this help you?

If you’re trying to increase staffing, you now know not only how much time and money it takes to fill and train for each position, you also know the exact steps to take.

If you are trying to put training in place to cut down on turnover, you now have numbers and can put together a plan to streamline your processes.

If you are trying to get assessments and tools in place to help with the time it takes to define, recruit, hire, and train, then you now have numbers to show current costs vs. investment and expected ROI.

Keep that data coming!

Even though tracking your company’s HR data may seem difficult at first, if you break it down into tasks and track the time and money invested in each task, it doesn’t feel so intimidating.

Depending on the size of your company, you could go super simple and keep track of your numbers with pen and paper. If you want to be more high tech, there are plenty of free apps and programs available. My favorite is toggl, which is great for time tracking.

No matter how you choose to track your company’s HR data, what matters is that you track it. (Tweet this)

You can’t lay out your case to the CEO with hunches. The sooner you get your data-tracking system in place, the sooner you can prove your point with facts, not opinion.

Want to learn more about how to track and use HR data? Check out my on-demand FREE webinar for action-packed tips and ideas.