As we've already discussed, this year's Bullhorn Engage conference gave us plenty to consider in the fast-moving staffing world. This was certainly true when it came to the subject of how we qualify our metrics. But what does this really mean? And how should organizations like ours be doing this? There were several sessions that focused on organizational metrics and data quality.
It was underscored several times the importance of regarding only valid metrics, and added that if a company measures the wrong metrics, it is very likely to end up directing the wrong behaviours with your teams. It is important to look at your data and figure out where you are going to get better results from your decided course of action.
There are many interesting metrics that can be analyzed within your data but they may all not lead to more placements, gross margin or tangible benefits. But if you can find those few nuggets that can increase your time to hire, your hit ratio or enhance any of your conversion ratios, you are definitely finding money making opportunities.
Reporting and Metrics were very central to the conference and there were a few pieces of info that came from several of the sessions...
OK, making decisions from false data leads to bad decisions... So what do we do? Well, if faulty data is even a small problem in your organization, this should represent a clear call-to-action for you. It means that you need to be scrubbing your data more carefully.
Putting it bluntly, you have to be able to throw out the numbers that don't make sense - even when at a glance they make you look good! Like us, you've probably noticed that you routinely encounter all kinds of invalid cases in your metrics that can skew them for better or worse. While it may be tempting to publish numbers that reflect an unseasonably high close-ratio on your part, the conclusions drawn from them won't be any more valid. At best, you'd be setting a client up for an unrealistic expectation, and at worse you'd be lying.
It's always better to throw your own numbers out the window than run the risk of having a numbers-savvy client (or potential lead) throw them out for you.
You want to ensure that the value of your metrics are effectively communicated and not just blindly accepted internally. Broker an understanding of their true meaning for team members of every level within the company. If you want your metrics to encourage the right kind of decision-making, you will need to achieve buy-in from these people. Talk about the real trends hidden in the numbers, and not just the numbers themselves.
Finally, keep your numbers as straightforward and non-convoluted as possible. Use visuals, if these help to convey your meaning. Then share your insights and make them accessible to team members and stakeholders.
In a data-driven environment, decision-making must be a top-down push. If an understanding of your metrics' value doesn't reach the uppermost echelons of your organization, the numbers are unlikely to engender any real positive traction. Staffing companies do not compete in the 'Big Data' space, but should focus on small to mid-size data instead since this is where we see small numbers having the greatest impact. In this regard, the integrity of your small data becomes a surprisingly powerful factor in effective decision-making.
The bottom line is that we all make decisions from flawed data, regardless of our size or levels of expertise found within our organizations. The point is to use this flawed data, and any related missteps to get better at our craft. We simply need to be committed to moving beyond that in order to properly evaluate our people, our clients, and the ways that we do business. When we do this, we uncover shorter avenues to providing better and more accurate work, strengthening our own business (and that of our clients) at the same time.
About the Author
Wendy Kennah is the Director of Recruiting for Procom Consultants Group in Toronto, Canada. In her role, she has overall leadership and accountability for the strategic direction, development and growth of Procom's recruitment practices and policies. Procom specializes in the Information Technology contingent contract and permanent staffing industry.
Previously, Wendy was the Vice President of Recruiting for Brainhunter, Inc and was responsible for the National Recruitment strategy in Canada.