Key Metrics You Should Be Tracking

If your people are your most important asset, why aren't you spending more time optimizing their talent? Here's how to do it.

Let me guess: You say your people are your most important asset.

Then why don't you spend more time using metrics to track--and then optimize--their talent?

Your business is already driven by data. You collect customer demographic information, retention rates, analytics website visitors, etc. For technical products you track clicks, taps, crashes, pretty much every metric you can get your hands on.

You love data (if you don't, you should) so why not use the same data-driven approach to get the best out of our employees?

"It's not just about getting people through the door," says Chris Hollindale, cofounder and CTO of Hasty, a seed-funded start-up whose stated mission is to improve the health of humanity. "It's also about helping them perform at their best once they are part of the company."

That's where adding a few key metrics can make a tremendous difference.

Here's Chris on the growing quantified-self movement and how it can help you build a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce:

Health

It's no secret that keeping your workforce healthy and active also keeps them productive and reduces time lost. Plus it can also be a great way of lowering the cost of health insurance premiums; a growing number of company wellness programs offer discounts to health-conscious workforces.

This is one area where the quantified-self movement has proven to be particularly effective. If you've ever tried using a Nike+ FuelBand, a Jawbone UP, or apps like RunKeeper for runners or Strava for cyclists, you've seen the powerful effects of the game mechanics they employ.

By tapping into our naturally competitive instinct, these products encourage us to live more active lives so we can reach our own goals, or for the more competitive among us, beat the performance of our friends.

Plus by incorporating game mechanics into your business you can give employees incentives to make healthier choices. That's great for them and for you. For example, you could set up internal step-tracking leader boards and hand out monthly prizes.

With quantified self tools a healthy competition between employees is easy to set up and maintain and is a great way to help employees become fitter and more productive.

Mood

In large companies, a typical method of managing employee feedback is to use a formal process, typically in the form of a quarterly survey, that allows employees to anonymously tell the bosses what they think about the business.

Processes like that may be useful for larger companies but they are inherently inefficient. By taking place infrequently, feedback is biased towards a particular point in time, and it takes more time to evaluate and act on by that feedback.

To reduce employee feedback loops and gain an immediate, up-to-date view of how employees are feeling, companies could utilize a simple mood tracking system. By tracking employee moods on a day-to-day basis, it is easy to see the changes that particular events have, whether it's the introduction of a new employee perk, the announcement of an exciting new business partnership, or the resignation of a well-respected employee.

There are a now a wide range of mood tracking applications available, and for something more custom, a mood tracking form could be a straightforward addition to something like a company intranet page.

It's amazing to see the effect that seemingly small things, such as a new office coffee machine, can have on your employees.

Don't let them tell you every three months; let them tell you every day.

Time

One of your most important roles is to ensure your employees use their time effectively. It's even more important that your employees know how they are spending their time, when they are at their most productive, and where there are inefficiencies in their work day.

With modern applications such as RescueTime it's possible to capture this data automatically. The advantages are huge: Managers and employees can easily spot time sinks, like large blocks of time being wasted answering emails every day, and leaders can see when their teams are most productive and can avoid scheduling meetings during those periods.

Automated time tracking solutions are the perfect tool for ensuring time is being spent on key business goals and to ensure important tasks aren't neglected.

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