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  • Writer's pictureAndy Foy

The one metric that many managers overlook

Updated: Jan 14, 2023



How can Managers seriously shift the Dial on organisational performance and effectiveness of people at work?

How do you know where to focus your limited energy and time to be effective?

How do you become more strategic, proactive and predictive with your people management?


Let's start with a question. In other words, what is your key People metric?


This is important; and it's not what you are probably thinking it is.


Ask yourself what is the one thing I can measure that will drive success in my business?

The one that drives your organisation's effectiveness?

The one that drives people's performance?

The one that measures the impact of your organisation's values?

The one that indicates your organisation is aligned?

The one number, that does all the aforementioned things?

That one magic number??


I'll give you a hint. It's not employee engagement.


That's important, it's an outcome metric, but with every organisation there is something else, another more powerful metric that you need to know.


It will differ for each organisation but it is key to your people management effectiveness.


Let me explain.


I once worked in an organisation where I concluded that the key HR metric was...

Executed Gross Margin (EGM) at point of invoice.


It was a Construction Services business.


If we were maintaining or improving EGM as our projects rolled through and progress invoices were being made, our behaviours were aligned to our outcomes. When things started to slip on this metric, I could take a look at the project and there was always a people problem at the heart of the issue. Cost to Complete meetings became my gauge of HR effectiveness.


What did this metric represent? So many things…


Our Values.The values of Doing what we said we would do (Commitment).


Resourcefulness, Safe work practices and looking after our environment, Courage, Innovation and Agility.


But so much more...


You can't run a project successfully without good project management.

You can't be a good project manager if you don't manage your people well.


If you don't have good systems and training of PM's and tradies, you don't get good project execution. You get mistakes, missed change notifications, rework and delays.


You can't hand over a project from sales to construction successfully if the right processes are not in place.


You can't realise the EGM if your sales behaviours and activities are not aligned with the project’s management and the outcome you are looking to achieve.


Using this business focused, Data Driven approach, I implemented a number of significant changes.


From the way we paid our sales incentives, our sales training, our training of Project Managers.


Working with our business excellence team to set up a single BMS for projects which tracked the journey from sales quote to execution.


Solutions and behaviours were aligned and focused on achieving EGM at point of invoice.


Why at the point of invoice?


Again we were looking to drive behaviour. Invoice early and often. Bring in constant progress payments, decrease risk, improves cash, improves visibility, puts less pressure on the project.


Enabling our project managers and tradies to execute better. Problems got flagged earlier. Solutions became proactive rather than reactive.


Business effectiveness, outcomes and profitability improved and so did our engagement scores. All by monitoring our EGM and tracking back through the projects.


If you are an HR or People manager looking to shift the dial in your HR Impact in your business, find the metric(s) that matters. The one that will serve you and your organisation well.


It might be something like:

  • Time spent in Store (people don't spend money or stay somewhere they aren't treated well or like).

  • Dispatches on time (If trucks are correctly loaded and can leave the depot on time there is more chance they can achieve their delivery objectives)

  • Room maintenance and cleanliness. (People will complain and not repeat stay in tired unclean hotel rooms)

  • Speed of service/resolution (people only want to phone somewhere once and get their problem solved quickly)

Find that one metric. Track back.


Look at the key activities but MOST IMPORTANTLY, the behaviours that need to take place for that metric to be achieved.


Then focus on what you need to do to achieve the behaviours, outcomes and you need.

Measure, manage, refine.


I can guarantee there are actually a small number of business metrics in your organisation that will be key to driving your People, Profit and Culture outcomes.


See what you can find and look to plan and build your People and Talent strategy from there.

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