Something is missing from most metrics efforts: the right metrics, not the best ones.
At the heart of any successful organization there is the recognition that only through the firm’s talent will it achieve its objectives. With that in mind, the talent management organization’s role is to align its strategy for acquiring, managing and developing talent to the business’ strategic objectives. Business leaders want to assist with this goal. According to Aberdeen Group, the top priority in 2011 for best-in-class companies is aligning their business and talent strategy.
Ask the Right Questions
What does this mean for talent managers? It means something more than having a seat at the table in strategic discussions. It means becoming an indispensable part of any conversation about how to achieve the organization’s goals. People execute business plans, so discussions about organizational strategy and goals must consider how the company will acquire and manage the talent it needs to be successful. This is what aligning business and talent strategy is all about.
There has been a lot of discussion lately among talent management experts, observers, bloggers and practitioners about the best metrics for talent management functions to track and report up to the C-suite. The thinking is that with the right metrics, talent managers can objectively measure their performance and demonstrate their contributions to the business. Having done this, they will have shown the value of being included in more strategic discussions.
Do a quick, unscientific search via Google to see how pervasive this type of thinking is. Type in, “What are the best talent management metrics?” The question will produce more than 1 million hits, and most commentators refer to metrics reflective of a fairly consistent set of categories: efficiency, employee retention, engagement, quality of hire, internal talent development and mobility. Tracking these metrics could indeed help talent managers demonstrate their contribution to an organization’s strategic objectives, but something is missing.
Change that search query slightly to, “How do you choose the right talent management metrics for your company?” This question will produce far fewer results — only about 170,000. This suggests that while many talent managers may be asking the right questions, they may be focused on the wrong answers. Their quest for relevance and inclusion in strategic discussions has led them on a search for the best metrics, but the best metrics may not be the right ones to gauge organizational effectiveness.