If you work in Human Resources, everyday you have data driving decisions that you make.  Hopefully, the data that you have is good since you are basing significant decisions on what this data is telling you.   But out of all of the data that you sift through what is the most important information?  I have discussed this subject with my ProjectSocial partners Laura Schroeder and Lyn Hoyt and they have also posted about the subject.  Check them out.

Meanwhile, as I undertook to answer that question, in my mind I thought a lot about what is

Photc Credit to Pike Research

measured, what is used and what is left unused.  Those of us in HR talk about Human Capital, engaged employees and work life balance.  But for those of who work in manufacturing the most important data we look at is PRODUCTION data. It is measurements like, how many did we make, what was the cost of goods manufactured,  what was the throughput,  what was our up-time ratio, what was our unit labor cost, how much waste was created.  Where I work,  those numbers take precedence over all other data items.

While there efforts made to measure more esoteric things like employee engagement,  job satisfaction and how family friendly our organization is, those things do not drive the business in manufacturing.  Now, this might be wrong but that’s how it is.  This may also be why so much of our manufacturing is leaving our country, because we honestly and simply do not put people first.   

I think the needle is moving and continues to move in that direction placing more importance on the people.  However, HR must do more to get the money and operations types to see the benefit to these factors and measurements. And it truly is a struggle because the corporate types  are always looking for immediate gratification.  Things like what were our profits – this period; this quarter. Most corporations, public or private are unable to look past the end of the quarter.

So I have established what data is used the most where I come from, but on the flip side what data would I like to be looking at that I don’t have?

I would like to have some true and legitimate form of an Employee Satisfaction Metric. Again I use  the word – sadly I do not have what I feel is a real measurement of how happy the employees of my Company truly are.   Having said that, if I did have it I am not sure that I could act on it.  It could be that if I reacted in the ways the employees wanted me to, I would skew the other metrics, the PRODUCTION Data (the most important metric).

So it seems like a viscous circle.  I guess I have to look to the wisdom of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to understand that You Can’t Always get what you want.