Lessons from the 2006 SHRM conference: Metrics: Track each employee’s ‘Baseball card’ statistics

On the back of each baseball card are the vital statistics that immediately tell you the player’s proficiency in various skills: hitting, fielding, etc. It would be great to have such cards on each of your employees. And, in a sense, you can, says Gary Giles, president of analytics provider ClarityMatters, which was recently acquired by Kronos.

The problem: Too many employers track the wrong statistics. "I guarantee you that there are metrics that you use today that are of little resemblance to the metrics that are of value to your organization," said Giles.

In baseball terms, Giles said, major league teams have always looked at players’ batting averages (percentage of hits per at-bats) as the most important metric. But one general manager in Oakland found great success with (and wrote a book about) focusing on a different metric: on-base percentage (percentage of times reaching base safely per at-bats).

Most currently popular HR metrics tend to focus on expenses of employees and retention metrics. But Giles said you shouldn’t stop at employee data; you’ve got to include information from finance and operations to obtain a holistic view of the employee.