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Making the Most Out of Metrics

October 29, 2019 • Karen Dooley

Making the Most Out of Metrics

Metrics can help decision-makers identify trends and manage the workforce more effectively. Using workforce metrics can support a district’s competitiveness and help the district avoid missed opportunities for improvement.

To forecast future needs, school districts must have an accurate view of current employees and the roles they serve. They also must identify and predict trends in enrollment and employee attrition. HR departments can use metrics to help guide decisions such as succession planning and leadership development by tracking staff demographics, employee turnover, hiring practices, and recruiting efforts.

What data?

The specific data chosen determines its usefulness in the decision-making process. Using the wrong data can have similar results to using no data at all.

Prior to collecting data, consideration needs to be given to the type of data needed. The starting point begins with the identification of your aim. Pin down what you are trying to accomplish through your data analysis and then determine where this data might be found.

Two types of data exist—qualitative and quantitative. Both types can be beneficial in providing information for analysis purposes. Qualitative data is anecdotal and may be gathered through interviews or surveys, for example. Quantitative data is numerical in nature.

Both types of data may lead to smarter decision-making. Specifically, use of data may lead to greater opportunities for improvement, prediction of future trends, optimization of current efforts, and creation of actionable insights.

What is your aim?

The aim is determined by evaluating the strategic plan, district improvement plan, goals, and mission/vision. The HR department should set its goals, design its work, and implement decision-making processes aligned with the district’s initiatives.

Helpful hints

HR departments can take several steps to make the most out of using their metrics.

  • Teamwork—the more minds available to analyze data, the better the results. Several sets of eyes looking at the information can eliminate data bias.
  • Have a plan—determine what the point or objective is before you dive into the data.
  • Current data—data from the past is helpful to evaluate in that it helps identify trends. Current data can be used to develop dashboards making future analysis easier.
  • Identify the problem—knowing what the question is can help determine what data to collect.
  • Right data—if the data needed has not been collected, then determine how to get it.
  • Seek to understand—analyzing and extracting the data can lead to meaningful insight in using the data.
  • Back to the drawing board—do not be afraid to scrap a data search or analysis to revisit another if the end result will be more useful.
  • Tell a story—share your results through visualization. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Measurable goals—establishing goals capable of being analyzed quantitatively or qualitatively can change current data into future action.
  • Continuous process—as landscapes, goals, and environments continue to change in school districts, so should the data analysis process.

Tools and resources

For an HR department to get the most out of their metrics, they must analyze appropriate data, understand it, visualize it in a meaningful way, and share results to make more effective, timely decisions.

A couple of tools can be found in the HR Library that may aide in this process. A talent dashboard is available and serves as an analytics tool to monitor and evaluate employee demographics, recruitment efforts, and retention rates. The tool was featured in an HRX called Talent Dashboard Now Available in the HR Library.

The FML tracker is another tool found in the HR Library used to help districts track the use of FML and temporary disability leave. It includes reports used to analyze the use of leave for a specific timeframe by employee or campus/department.

Additional online tools are available, many free of charge, to assist district’s in creating their own dashboards. These online tools allow districts to design and organize their metrics to best meet their own strategic priorities.


Karen Dooley is a Senior HR Consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Karen an email at karen.dooley@tasb.org.


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Tagged: HR