What gets measured gets done…unless you’re HR?

Posted by Arthur Mazor and Michael Stephan on January 24, 2019.

Raise your hand if you’ve received a survey in the last week asking for your feedback on a purchase or transaction, posted feedback online, or read others’ reviews to help you make a decision. There’s no disputing the prevalence and importance of measuring customer satisfaction and the widespread use of metrics in just about every facet of business as a tool to evaluate and improve performance. So, if workers are HR’s customers, with the power to make or break business success, how well are you tracking and measuring their experience and satisfaction? And, more importantly, what are you doing to improve it?

Our recent Twitter poll indicated that only about one-third of companies are tracking and measuring workforce experience and satisfaction. The even larger percentage of “I don’t know” answers is equally troubling—if HR conducts a survey and no one knows about it…that’s a big problem.

Many of the more than 13,000 responses included comments observing that tracking and surveys were just lip service or pointless because nothing ever changed. Yikes. Nobody likes to give feedback and feel ignored.

For HR to step into the future, all of this needs to change. And here’s why:

  • Society is judging. The rise of the social enterprise means companies are increasingly being measured by how they operate and the way they show up in the communities where they work and live. Measures of success by investors, workers, and customers are no longer limited to financial performance or best prices, but importantly also by how enterprises treat their workforce and the impact they have in bettering society (or not).
  • People are talking. Who’s doing the judging? Individuals, fueled by the ability to express their opinions via near-constant likes, clicks, shares, comments, and reviews. Online rating and review sites make what used to be confined within an organization’s four walls public knowledge. Individual voices are amplified through social media—the voices of workers, customers, and people with opinions generally. This transparency and near-constant, real-time feedback means workforce experience and people practices have become as important as those for customers.
  • The world is responding. Developing, enhancing, and sustaining a brand reputation as a “Simply Irresistible OrganizationTM” and an outstanding place to work, with a positive culture and workforce experience, has an impact on the balance sheet. Companies doing it right are typically seen more favorably and attract top talent, who can do great work and better serve customers, leading to stronger customer loyalty and a healthier bottom line.

What does this mean for the Future of HR? A renewed focus on workforce experience and satisfaction.
If the social and reputational aspects aren’t enough, add in the business reasons to focus on workforce experience and satisfaction. For one, leaders recognize that it’s important: nearly 80 percent of surveyed business executives rate workforce experience as important or very important.1 This could be because the potential benefits are so strong: enterprises with a top-quartile workforce experience are achieving twice the innovation and double the customer satisfaction (measured by NPS scores) and produce 25 percent increased profits than enterprises in the bottom quartile.2

So, what are enterprises doing to accomplish this? First and foremost, they are studying, understanding, and sensing what’s happening with their workforce to learn what its needs are. Regular measurement is essential—and not in the form of a transactional chore like a lengthy survey, but in a way that lets them get metrics in real-time so they can make adjustments and create a more cohesive experience quickly.

Enterprises are also making sure they communicate, so the workforce knows these pulse checks are happening, understands the hows and whys of what they’re measuring, and is empowered to share honest, authentic feedback. Your workforce needs to know not only that their voice is valued—but also that it is being heard.

Of course, as our Twitter survey comments were quick to point out, measurement without action tends to have a negative impact. So, how can HR navigate the right route to the future?

  1. Discover… Knowledge is power. Study and listen to your workforce segments to understand their unique needs, values, and behaviors.
  2. Empathize… Appreciate worker experiences—identify the Moments that Matter in their journeys to learn what motivates or discourages.
  3. Co-Create… Access workers who are closest to the experience, ideate, and co-design solutions with them.
  4. Iterate… Pilot, test, integrate, and measure. In other words: act—measure—act.

In the Future of HR, everything is a work in progress—fail early, fail fast, measure, and adopt and scale what works. Do this with the influence of workforce, customer, and societal insights, and you’re navigating to the Future of HR.

We’re eager to hear from you, so please join the conversation!

Arthur MazorArthur Mazor, is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, Deloitte’s Human Capital practice digital leader, and the global practice leader for HR Strategy & Employee Experience. Art collaborates with complex, global clients to drive business value through transforming human capital strategies, programs, and services.
Michael StephanMichael Stephan, is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the US and Global HR Transformation Leader. He develops and integrates HR service delivery models across the operations and technology spectrum, with a targeted focus on optimizing the delivery of HR services around the world.

Research supported by: Sunil Rao, Mansi Bhatt, Karnav Shah

1 “The employee experience: Culture, engagement, and beyond,” Rewriting the rules for the digital age: 2017 Deloitte Global Human Resource Trends.
2 MIT CISR Research Briefing, Building Business Value with Employee Experience, June 2017.

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