Does Your Organization’s “Magic Metric” Include Employee Recognition?

123RF Stock Photo
123RF Stock Photo

In Fistful of Talent last week, Steve Gifford tackled the ever-present topic of (my take) “what metric should we use to measure employee productivity/performance in terms everyone in the business cares about?”

It’s that last part of the question that’s most intriguing to me – in terms everyone in the business cares about. There are seemingly countless posts, articles, discussions, and even twitter chats, around the science of HR metrics and reporting. The art lies in finding a metric that is meaningful and clear to everyone from a line employee, to a manager in any department, to the C-suite.

Steve calls this the “magic metric,” which should be (quoting):

  • Created and tracked by someone outside of HR. When you call up someone in ops and ask them why it’s high or low, it can’t be something that only you can see in the HRIS. You’ll notice that I had to explain an awful lot about my business for each of these metrics – that’s a good thing.
  • Objective. Managers have favorites, and have excuses for those favorites.
  • Timely. Management by P&L is necessary, but if you only rely on a P&L, your managers will only know that they had an issue a month and a half later when the books close. Find something that you or managers can react to soon after it happens
  • Something which the employee can personally impact. No one likes to be held accountable for things they didn’t do. If the customer added to the specification at the last minute, the project manager can’t get dinged for missing the old deadline.
  • Tied to profitability. I’m thrilled that when customers call the 800 number, they always give your store 5 out of 5. However, if those 5’s don’t translate into increased revenues, we’re going to have a hard time keeping the doors open so we can keep those customers happy.

The benefits of peer-to-peer recognition

All good points on a metric that matters. I suggest a metric that meets all of these requirements in a positive way is employee recognition based on your core company values.

Think about it: If you create a strategic recognition system in which any employee can recognize any other – specifically and in real-time – for demonstrating your core values in their work, you can quickly see who is delivering on what you leaders have defined as most critical to your organization culture and success.

Creating peer-to-peer recognition programs makes them objective. Encouraging recognition in-the-moment makes it timely. There is little the employee can impact more than their own behaviors based on the core values.

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Properly defined, the values are close integrated with the strategic objectives for success. And while HR may be the group tagged with providing the employee recognition program at first, creating a culture of recognition and appreciation is the responsibility of every employee.

What’s your magic metric? Do you agree recognition done right suits?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is senior vice president of client strategy and consulting at Workhuman, where he leads the company’s consulting and analytics divisions. His writing is regularly featured across major HR publications, including HR Magazine, Human Resource Executive, HR Zone, and Workspan.