Importance of HR Dashboard

It’s all in the numbers as they say, and the numbers can be quite telling from an HR perspective, allowing VP’s and Directors of HR to quickly gauge what we call the “HR Health” of their organization.

Many of today’s HR solutions offer you the ability to create dashboards that contain your most important workforce metrics, so that you can quickly spot trends, set strategy and remain competitive in the marketplace. With the move to cloud-based HR systems, the trend towards full HR solutions and “big data” being collected, it is far easier today to visualize the HR Health of your organization with the right tools.

Traditionally, HR has focused on individual metrics, like total headcount, or turnover, and usually in report format. Think about how powerful, and insightful it would be to have a Dashboard containing multiple metrics, on a single page, always in front of you. Financial people look at stock prices and sales continually. Why not HR? The technology and data are available today to help HR professionals continually monitor the lifeblood of their company – its people.

What kinds of metrics would be leading indicators of HR Health – and be important to have on your dashboard? Some of these metrics might include:

  • Headcount by function
  • Vacancy by location
  • Employee turnover (overall company, by department and manager)
  • Employee turnover for company vs. typical industry average
  • Employee satisfaction (assess whether its high, medium or low morale)
  • Progress of objectives
  • Employee loss risk
  • Top reasons that employees leave
  • Voluntary and Involuntary separation percentages
  • Money invested annually in training and development
  • Talent vs. potential
  • Hiring/ Recruiting expenses
  • Quality of new hires (% still on staff after 180 days)
  • Overall performance rating
  • Time to fill open positions
  • On-boarding Process (costs and time spent)
  • New hire sourcing & costs
  • Average tenure (by department)
  • Wage rates/scales compared to industry averages
  • Is the organization top-heavy? (% with management titles)
  • Percentage of employees that participate in your 401k program
  • Looking at some or all of these metrics would provide a more complete picture of your HR Health and help you determine if new strategies or initiatives are needed.

    Why is monitoring HR Health so important? Looking at these factors is critical because the majority of a company’s expenses are tied to people — salaries, cost of benefits, recruiting costs, skills and knowledge development. Company success is directly linked to these items.

    Start Simple! Begin with some basic data points, and then add more complex metrics later. The main point is to use the technology to better manage your workforce and gauge your HR Health. You’ll have real-time data that can be used to drive your HR strategy, new policies and actions. In 2015, let’s set a goal to create and continually monitor these dashboards

    At SARK, we give our students hands on training as to how to create and maintain an HR Dashboard.

    Common interview questions

    Although there is no set format that every job interview will follow, there are some questions that you can almost guarantee will crop up. Here’s a list of the most common questions and a guide to the kind of answers your interviewer wants to hear.

    Tell me about yourself - This is usually the opening question and, as first impressions are key, one of the most important. Keep your answer to under five minutes, beginning with an overview of your highest qualification then running through the jobs you’ve held so far in your career. You can follow the same structure of your CV, giving examples of achievements and the skills you’ve picked up along the way. Don’t go into too much detail – your interviewer will probably take notes and ask for you to expand on any areas where they’d like more information. If you’re interviewing for your first job since leaving education, focus on the areas of your studies you most enjoyed and how that has led to you wanting this particular role.

    What are your strengths? - Pick the three biggest attributes that you think will get you the job and give examples of how you have used these strengths in a work situation. They could be tangible skills, such as proficiency in a particular computer language, or intangible skills such as good man-management. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at the job description. There is usually a section listing candidate requirements, which should give you an idea of what they are looking for.

    What are your weaknesses? - The dreaded question, which is best handled by picking something that you have made positive steps to redress. For example, if your IT ability is not at the level it could be, state it as a weakness but tell the interviewer about training courses or time spent outside work hours you have used to improve your skills. Your initiative could actually be perceived as a strength. On no accounts say “I don’t have any weaknesses”, your interviewer won’t believe you, or “I have a tendency to work too hard”, which is seen as avoiding the question.

    Why should we hire you? or What can you do for us that other candidates can't? - What makes you special and where do your major strengths lie? You should be able to find out what they are looking for from the job description. “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills and the ability to build long-term customer relationships” is a good opening sentence, which can then lead onto a more specific example of something you have done so far in your career. State your biggest achievement and the benefit it made to the business, then finish with “Given the opportunity, I could bring this success to your company.”

    What are your goals? or Where do you see yourself in five years time? - It’s best to talk about both short-term and long-term goals. Talk about the kind of job you’d eventually like to do and the various steps you will need to get there, relating this in some way back to the position you’re interviewing for. Show the employer you have ambition, and that you have the determination to make the most of every job you have to get where you want to be.

    Why do you want to work here? - The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought. If you’ve prepared for the interview properly, you should have a good inside knowledge of the company’s values, mission statement, development plans and products. Use this information to describe how your goals and ambition matches their company ethos and how you would relish the opportunity to work for them. Never utter the phrase “I just need a job.”

    What are three positive things your last boss would say about you? - This is a great time to brag about yourself through someone else’s words. Try to include one thing that shows your ability to do the job, one thing that shows your commitment to the work, and one thing that shows you are a good person to have in a team. For example, “My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can always rely on me, and he likes my sense of humour.”

    What salary are you seeking? - You can prepare for this by knowing the value of someone with your skills. Try not to give any specific numbers in the heat of the moment – it could put you in a poor position when negotiating later on. Your interviewer will understand if you don’t want to discuss this until you are offered the job. If they have provided a guideline salary with the job description, you could mention this and say it’s around the same area you’re looking for.

    If you were an animal, which one would you want to be? -Interviewers use this type of psychological question to see if you can think quickly. If you answer ‘a bunny’, you will make a soft, passive impression. If you answer ‘a lion’, you will be seen as aggressive. What type of personality will it take to get the job done?

    You should always have some questions for your interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the position. Prepare a minimum of five questions, some which will give you more information about the job, and some which delve deeper into the culture and goals of the company.

    Understanding the HR “Y’s” and “Why Not’s” of the Millennial Generation

    By 2020, the Millennial generation – also known as Gen-Y, will make up 50% of the workforce. There are differing opinions about exact dates, but Millennial generally refers to those born between 1982-2003. That means those born in the early 80’s will be at the midpoint of their career by 2020. Why should that matter to HR leaders? It matters because Millennial have different workplace needs, expectations and motivators than previous generations.

    Millenials place high value on career and personal growth, learning opportunities, workplace flexibility, connections, entrepreneurship, and a sense of meaning from their work.

    To remain competitive and attract and retain the growing Millennial workforce, HR strategies for recruitment, engagement, and retention must align with this workforce group’s priorities, values and expectations.

    Achieving those organizational goals will require that HR strategy and practices realign in three key areas:

    1. Workplace Culture
    Most Millennial plan to stay at a job for less than 3 years, according to The Future Workplace; and the concern about “job-hopping” is fading. At the same time, it still takes one to two years before a new employee reaches his or her full potential. So while the job-hopping stigma may have diminished, the negative impact to your business has not.
    Millenials place a high value on workplace culture. Sooner rather than later, organizations should 1) understand their current culture, and 2) begin making the changes needed to attract, develop and retain employees of that generation. Cultural attributes that matter include corporate responsibility, mobility, flexibility, transparency, collaboration, and frequent recognition and feedback. Some ideas to consider:

  • Flexibility rather than strict conformity to set 9 to 5 or 8 to 6 hours.
  • Loosening the “walls” of the workplace. Technology enables many job roles to be performed anywhere. (This also greatly expands your talent pool!)
  • Contrary to some negative stereotypes, Millenials work hard and want to contribute, but are less likely to define themselves solely by their job. Work-life balance isn’t a wish, it's a requirement
  • Provide ongoing feedback and recognition. Rely less on the annual review for the sole source of feedback.
  • Increase visibility of corporate giving and social responsibility initiatives. Include a time-off benefit for volunteer work.
  • 2. Context-Aware Technology
    Technology has been ingrained in their lives for as long as most can remember, and Millenials are the first socially networked generation.  As they enter the workforce, they expect the same quality of user experience at work that they get at home. While older workers may be more forgiving, the new generation isn’t.
    When HR and other corporate systems are hard to use, these employees won’t just be disappointed, they will disengage and avoid using those systems as much as possible. So while you may be offering high value benefits - learning opportunities, skill development and career growth – your workers won’t recognize or benefit from your efforts.
    Instead, provide your people with contextually relevant information in easy-to-use technology that is integrated into their daily work life. Called contextual computing, Fast Company predicted that it will be the dominant technology paradigm within 10 years. HR innovators are adopting it today. Context-aware technology delivers a personalized experience to each individual and delivers information that is relevant to the employee’s  current task.  No jumping through hoops to find information or going from system to system, fighting with a poor user experience. This technology uses data about the user and the task they are working on to deliver relevant information – like training — at the point of need.

    3. Data-driven HR Strategy
    HR must start adapting today to the changing workplace and the needs and expectations of Millenial employees.  Access to accurate, real-time, actionable data is needed to measure the effectiveness of new programs and make quick, data-driven decisions and improvements.
    HR professionals need to become more data savvy, with HR roles specifically focused on data analysis and recommendations. Ongoing tracking and analysis of HR program effectiveness regarding employee engagement, productivity and retention will allow organizational leaders to know what is working, what isn’t, and get the biggest return on investment.

    Acquiring, developing and retaining talent has been on CEO top 10 challenge lists for years. Now is the opportunity to ensure that your organization is attracting the best and brightest. As Millenials become the workforce majority, HR leaders who adapt their organization’s culture, policies and technology to align with the needs of this growing population may finally kick that challenge off the best CEOs’ list.

    Employee Recognition: Reduce Turnover; Improve Productivity
    It’s no secret that the cost of replacing an employee is high – sometimes up to 10% of the employee’s salary.  Research also shows that motivated employees can have a strong impact on your customers’ experience.  We have learned that happy and engaged employees are undeniably linked to more satisfied and loyal customers, which leads to growth and profitability.  Below are the top ten ways you can bring employee recognition to your workforce.

    1. Recognize achievements and contributions: Annual review time is not the only time when you should acknowledge the work of your team. Take time regularly to recognize people individually. When possible, offer recognition on-the-spot to link the praise with the behavior.

    2. Encourage creative thinking: Listen to your employees’ ideas and implement them when you can. This helps to build a more collaborative and innovative work environment.

    3. Get to know your staff:  Remember your team are humans first, employees second. So get to know them personally by asking them questions. And find when you find out what motivates them the most, look for ways to incorporate that into your recognition strategy.

    4. Make work fun: Whether it is through elaborate employee appreciation events or simply providing treats during a break, your team will remember the fun times when they might be having a rough day. This can make all the difference to someone considering a job change.

    5. Be Transparent: Provide a clear picture of your company’s vision, mission and strategy. Not only will this help your employees understand the direction the company is taking, but will also help them to project your vision and mission with customers.

    6. Provide positive reinforcement: Don’t focus on the negative. People are more apt to respond to positive cues than negative. Like the old adage says, you are likely to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    7. Celebrate successes: Going beyond individual recognition, it is important to publically celebrate your teams’ successes. Did you exceed your quarterly sales goals? Don’t wait until the end of the year to celebrate everything, treat each success as its own special accomplishment.

    8. Be flexible with scheduling: Work with your employees and do your best to accommodate their individual needs. Doing this can help illustrate to your team how much you value their work and dedication.

    9. Let employees have freedom, but hold them accountable: Do you really need to have strict rules in place? Or do you trust your employees to know how to act professionally? You hired them to be the face of your business. Show them that you believe they know how to do what is best for the customer and company.

    10. Provide growth opportunities: Give your people the opportunity to attend industry events, conferences or training programs. Not only will they learn new things, but they will also have the opportunity to socialize with their co-workers and industry peers. Events are a great place to spark innovation and ideas.

    While most people say they would work harder for extra cash, according to research non-cash rewards are more motivating. Tangible/non-cash awards elicit more frequent visualization, which leads to both greater performance and higher goal commitment. While the assumption is often made that low-income earners are best motivated by cash, we have learned that tangible rewards still have a greater impact on desired business outcomes. Cash quickly becomes an entitlement, whereas non-cash rewards provide long-term motivation.

    Lessons from hiring mistakes as realized by recruiters
    Hiring the wrong person will not only cost a company in terms of time and money, it will also deeply impact team dynamics & morale. Senior execs share their experiences.

    1) Ravi Shankar, Chief People Officer, Mindtree
    The Mistake
    One of the mistakes I used to make, as many recruiters in the early stages of their careers do, is not asking specific questions that reveal a person's competency. Recruiters tend to ask questions such as, "Tell me about yourself", and what ensues is a chronological bio-data of what candidates have done, what they have studied, what posts they have held, or how many people they have managed. But this does not provide any insight into what they know. Just because a person managed 50 people; it does not mean he or she is a good people manager. It's like someone telling you they went into a kitchen and cooked some food. You don't know if they cooked it well, what mistakes they made, what their specialisation is, and so on. It took one of my senior managers to point out that we need to check for specific competencies for me to change my methodologies early on.

    The Learning Now, when I go in for interviews, I don't have a generic set of questions. I am well-prepared, with very specific, investigative questions that will help me probe and get the data I am looking for. This gives me much more control over the conversation. I also try to point out the value of this to my younger team members. 

    2) Pratima Salunkhe, Chief, Talent Management, RPG Enterprises
    The Mistake
    We tend to give more importance to achievement than the cultural fit. In one of my previous firms we hired an executive for the profile of marketing head. It was an IT services company and he was from a media firm. The candidate was an achiever and had proved his mettle in marketing in his company. We picked him up immediately but within the first quarter, realised there was a lag between culture and expectations. Ultimately, he had to part ways.  

    The Learning One has to understand while hiring that cultural fit, compatibility and capability are on par. We often get taken in by the top-school tag.

    3) T Shivaram, Head, Human Resources, SAP Labs India
    The Mistake
    I took a wrong hiring decision in my previous role. Besides not aligning with the culture of the company, the candidate's performance was below expectations, leading to significant unpleasantness and stress in the team.

    The Learning
    This mistake made me realise the need to rely on multidimensional feedback of a potential hire instead of a unilateral view, which could often be biased. Besides, I understood the importance of the context in which the candidate achieved success in his or her previous job. My learning was also that great performance is not likely to repeat itself, as a person who is successful in a given environment or culture may fail when transplanted to a different surrounding.

    4) Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-Founder & Senior Vice-President, TeamLease
    The Mistake
    A few years ago, I made the most miserable hiring mistake which set us back in time. We were looking to fill a key leadership slot, which impacts business directly. When I met the candidate we had already spent over six months in our hunt without much success. The candidate promised to bring an enterprising mind and subject matter expertise. He had the right qualifications, had worked with the right kind of companies and had seen his share of achievements.
    But there was one thing that didn't seem to be in place - while he has worked with organisations for a fair amount of time, he seemed to have shifted roles too often. While for each he had a logical explanation, it wasn't convincing. And he was running his own company, which he had started with a few college friends. He wanted to come out of this venture because he wasn't sure of the marketability of the product. Inspite of his immaculate profile, this last bit was bothering me for no obvious reason.
    Given the urgency to close and the fact that on paper he seemed the closest fit, we hired him. He was to relocate from Gurgaon to Bangalore for the role. Within two months of taking up the assignment, he went home ostensibly to bring his family to Bangalore, but never returned. He left a message citing his father's health as the reason. This set us back by a year and created a huge void in a significant role.

    The Learning
    My biggest mistake was that I ignored my gut-feeling. The second biggest mistake was that I got desperate to hire. Finally, I didn't dig deeper into his incentives to make a move which involved relocation.