I was recently asked the following question: “What kinds of KPIs and data do you think are critical for a People Experience leader to be tracking and why?”
With so many options available, it’s so important to identify key areas that need focus instead of trying to boil the ocean.
In today’s episode, I share the three priorities I believe every people ops leader should have when it comes to tracking employee data.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
Three data priorities every people ops leader should be focusing on.
Why not sharing feedback results with your team is actually more harmful than helpful.
The true source of employee survey fatigue. Hint: it’s not the number of surveys you send.
A change management best practice that will substantially improve your chances of transforming beliefs and behaviors successfully and sustainably.
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Here's the edited transcript:
3 Priorities Every People Ops Leader Should Have When It Comes to Data and KPIs
There are so many different types of data to collect and so many different ways to do it – so what matters most?
If you caught episode eight, you know that I believe every company should be tracking their eNPS (or employee net promoter score) quarterly. It’s a simple metric that will help you keep a pulse on the organization. If you didn’t catch that episode, I highly recommend circling back. I walk you step by step through how to implement the survey in your organization and what to do with the results you receive.
But what about data above and beyond an eNPS score?
When it comes to data tracking priorities for people ops professionals, here are the top three:
You must commit to tracking data consistently and be transparent about the findings.
You must proactively work to address what’s been uncovered in the data and show progress when possible, so employees know what they share matters.
You should always use the quantitative survey data collected to prioritize where further quantitative data needs to be sought out.
1) You must commit to tracking data consistently and be transparent about the findings.
And yes, it’s as obvious as it sounds. When it comes to collecting employee feedback and tracking sentiment, it’s important to be consistent in how and when you survey. If your schedule and format is constantly changing, employees can and will become either overwhelmed or disengaged. I’ve found the best results when I keep things consistent and transparently share a high-level overview of the results with the team.
This last part is usually what scares people. “SHARE THE RESULTS? That will be disastrous! Our employees will discover we’re really a horrible place to work!!” Ok, so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but every time I get pushback on sharing it always stems from the same place – a desire to hide the warts. I’ll tell you what I always tell my clients. Your team already knows. They know what the problems are. They are the ones who just told you. By addressing it directly, you’re acknowledging that you hear them and agree there is a need for improvement.
That in itself is incredibly powerful…and brings me to our next priority.
2) You must proactively work to address what’s been uncovered in the data and show progress when possible, so employees know what they share matters.
Now I’m not saying you have to address every single issue identified in the survey. That honestly wouldn’t be a good use of your energy and resources. What I am saying is that employees don’t get survey fatigue from taking too many surveys. They get survey fatigue from taking too many surveys without seeing any changes resulting from them.
I love to give the example of a couple planning dinner.
Say for example I was to text my partner asking what they wanted to eat. They respond pizza. I say that sounds great. But then I don’t come home with anything. Or I go completely rogue and come home with just ice cream. Sure, I’m addressing hunger in some way – but ice cream for dinner isn’t really the ideal solution.
Now if this happened once, it’d be totally forgivable. But what if this was the pattern once a week? I ask. They respond. I agree and then either don’t follow through on picking up the food or bring home something completely different than what was suggested. After a while, you’d either: A) keep giving the same response with no expectation of change –while slowly questioning whether or not this was the right relationship or B) you’d stop responding altogether.
That is exactly how employees respond when nothing ever changes between surveys. Your biggest data priority needs to be using it. It seems simple, but it can be a big undertaking, especially when dealing with the many fires and urgent needs that come up for any people ops team.
At the end of the day, remember you can always start small. One small change is better than no change at all!
And that brings us to priority number three.
3) You should always use the quantitative survey data collected to prioritize where further quantitative data needs to be sought out.
Now as a quick refresher, quantitative data refers to any information that can be quantified, counted or measured, and given a numerical value. Qualitative data is descriptive in nature, expressed in terms of language rather than numerical values.
Priority #3 is to analyze the quantitative data you collect and find out what areas need further qualitative data to tell the whole story.
Why the extra step? Because in my experience, the numbers rarely tell the whole story, especially when it comes to what “fixes” or tactics need to be applied. This is where focus groups, 1:1 interviews, and open-ended questions are extremely valuable. I usually find that quantitative feedback is great at helping discover the what, while qualitative feedback is great at uncovering the why and how.
Anytime you’re looking to make positive workplace change, it’s crucial that you’re focused on all these areas - not just the what. I’ve found that even incredibly well-intentioned people can focus on the wrong tactics and strategies when they only have the limited context that quantitative data can provide. This is what makes seeking out the latter so important.
If you’ve never collected qualitative data before and aren’t sure where to start, go back and listen to episode #6: “The Simple by Extremely Effective Method I Use to Collect Inclusive Qualitative Data from Employees” In that episode I walk you through one method of qualitative data collection step by step.
It will be a great place for you to start collecting this kind of highly valuable feedback.
Of course, I’m curious. What kinds of KPIs and data do you think are critical for a People Experience leader to be tracking and why?