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HR Thought Leader

Insights

Embracing

the Power of

Performance

Analytics
Engage2Excel recently sat down with Brian Kelly, CEO at Vestrics, provider of the
leading workforce optimization platform for human capital. Kelly is widely recognized
as a thought leader in the workforce analytics marketplace, having previously served
as Co-Chair of the Institute of Human Resources Workforce Planning & Analytics
Working Group and Vice-Chair of the Society of Human Resource Professionals
(SHRM) workforce metrics taskforce.

We talked about how HR leaders can do a better job predicting and validating the
business impact of employee recognition investments. Highlights from the interview
appear
below.
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Embracing the Power of Performance
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Analytics

HR Thought Leader Insights

the other hand, often lack a clear line of


sight to desired outcomes. HR and
manufacturing facilities, IT infrastructure
business leaders have struggled to
and marketing programs, they are
generally able to forecast and demonstrate define the connections between
engagement, recognition and business
return on investment for these initiatives.
impact. So theres less clarity regarding
Why have HR employee engagement and
the rationale for implementing these
recognition programs not been similarly
programs.
managed from an ROI perspective?
A. Well, in each of those scenarios you

mentioned, desired outcomes and


Also, from a quantitative standpoint,
industry-standard measure-ments are
people are often more difficult to analyze
typically clear and very well-defined. In
than manufacturing systems and IT
the case of a manufacturing facility, for
infrastructure. And, until now, there
example, goals typically include
hasnt been adequate data available to
efficiency, quality ratios and productivity
accelerate the transition to documenting
improvements. In terms of marketing
not only correlational links between
efforts, organizations can easily measure
things like engagement and proprogram impact by tracking things like
ductivity, but also causal connections.
number of sales calls, leads in the
Theres no longer any debate about the
pipeline, closed deals and revenue.
EmEmbracing thecorrelation
Power of between
Performance
engagement and
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ployee engagement and recognition

Q. When companies invest in

HR Thought Leader
Insights

When youre able to


demonstrate how

A. Yes, segmentation is critical. In order to

im-plement effective engagement and


recognition initiatives, you need the
capability to isolate how specific program
recognition causes rather than
variables impact various roles and groups in
just
the workforce. Its like the difference
between X-ray and MRI technology. An X-ray
influences a desired business
shows you the big picture; an MRI reveals
outcome,
the underlying layers of muscle and tissue.
We need that level of granularity in
Q. Perhaps another challenge in
performance data. Advanced technolo-gies
you can
deliver dollars-andterms
of docu-menting
causal impact
like the cloud and analytic platforms are
and
ROI
for engagement and
cents
ROI.
enabling segmentation and scalability.
recognition programs is the fact that
Engaged2Excel, with its optimal blend of
most of todays monolithic platforms
consulting services and technology
dont allow HR practitioners to
expertise, is poised to help organizations
segment and analyze data by
collect and analyze the required data they
business unit or job family?
need to develop prescriptive HR programs
that demonstrate direct causal connections
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Embracing
the Power of Performance
with
targeted business outcomes.
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Analytics

HR Thought Leader
Insights

Q. Traditionally, HR has been

about the quanti-tative nature of human


responsible for employee happiness.
capital as a strategic asset driving
Engaged employees are good for
organizational success. Senior management
business. But what about the more
and the board want to see what matters
quantitative elements weve been
the ROI for engagement and recognition
So as part of HRs mandate to
talking about today. Are we measuring Q.
programs.
demonstrate links between programs and
how well leaders and their teams
business impact, what kinds of metrics can
execute the CEOs strategic agenda
be used to measure, manage and improve
and achieve business objectives? We
engagement and recogni-tion investments?
have to change the nar-rative so we
A.
All metrics deliver valuable information, but
stop
talking
about
spending
money
A. HR has tended to focus on the
the real question is what are you trying to
and
start
talking
about
investing
in
qualitative aspects of workforce
achieve? Whats the business rationale for the
the
workforce.
engagement and those are
program? That clarity of purpose is required in
important. As a CEO, I want my
order to establish meaningful metrics and
team to enjoy their work and be
performance indicators to measure the
part of a vibrant culture. But,
effectiveness of engagement and rec-ognition
frankly , in the absence of business
programs. Lets say your goal is to improve
results, my board and investors
customer satisfaction in the call center. If you
dont give a damn about the warm
want your best phone reps to continue assisting
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and
fuzzy. They are more
your val-ued customers, youll want to design a

HR Thought Leader
Insights

improves retention rates for your


We have to change the narrative
highest perform-ers. So your metrics
so we stop talking about
should focus on indicators like
spending money and start

talking
about
investing
the as
Q.
Lets say
innovation
is a top in
priority,
tenure to ensure that your program
isworkforce.
typically the case in emerging tech
achieves desired results. Similarly, in
startups. Do you think it makes sense to
the sales organization, youll want to
create and implement targeted recognition
recognize and reward the most
productive reps who deliver the greatest programs designed to cultivate innovation?
value to the business, so the metrics for
A. Absolutely. Innovation is about
these programs should also focus on
embracing risk, thinking outside the box and
how long sales superstars remain with
accepting failure. Innovators make
the company.
mistakes, recalibrate and refine, and
When thinking about metrics, instead of
continuously apply course corrections as
starting with what you are already
they try new approaches before bringing a
tracking, consider beginning with a
product or service to market. The problem is
clean slate. Forget about your current
companies dont typically incent their best
data systems for a moment, adopt an
and brightest to take the risks required to
aspirational view-point, and think about
propel innovation and gain competitive
the
top ten measurements you wish
you
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advantage. Employees are also not

HR Thought Leader
Insights

to raise their hands and question


the viability of an established
schedule or propose a new direction
for an already planned product
launch. Thats part of the reason
many long-term, multibillion dollar
projects result in failed initiatives.
Many times, opportunities to
change course present themselves,
but employees are not properly
incented to readjust stated goals.
Recognition
programs
Q. In closing,
can you that
share an
successfully
nurture
innovation
example of how companies can
require
a new mindset.
use performance
analytics to improve the effectiveness of
recognition
programs?
A. Sure. Lets
look at healthcare.
Its a great example to highlight
many of the things weve been
talking about today. Quality of

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care has always been a priority for healthcare


organizations, but now theres a direct
connection between quality of care and
government reimbursement rates, which are a
key component of revenue. Patient satisfaction
and improved outcomes are no longer just part
of a healthcare organizations mission, they
directly impact business results. Look for
healthcare industry recognition and reward
programs to undergo fundamental
transformation in the next two years.
Healthcare providers will increasingly rely on
the intelligence delivered by performance
analyticsto launch recognition programs that
incent their employees to help improve quality
When
thinking
metrics,
of care scores
andabout
boost the
bottom line.

instead of starting with what you


are already tracking, consider
beginning with a clean slate.

Embracing the Power of Performance