Several years ago I presented the results of an HR metrics survey to the Institute of Human Resource Directors in London. The results and my analysis was received with pin-drop silence. I was followed by an HR professor who quietly and laser like ripped the shit out of my analysis, ending on the quip that:
‘The day finance understands HR, we might just take notice of at least some of what they say. Until that time, we need metrics in which we can believe and with which we can imbue candidates with confidence.’
For those that might not be familiar, this is THE definition of being filleted in public. But as I’ve said before, we need ROI style metrics so that both HR and finance can understand the value of blogging. I asked Microsoft uber blogger Robert Scoble to direct me on this. His response:
I know anecdotally that employees have told me they joined specifically because of our blogs and Channel 9, but I don’t have any hard data to back up those anecdotes.
Gretchen Ledgard, who works in Microsoft HR also responded:
In HR, we don’t have any “official” measures for blogging, but we do follow trends like # of applications and hires tied to our HR blogs’ source codes and, of course, anecdotal feedback. However, we realize that those numbers (applications and hires) miss a lot of readers who either don’t apply through an official blog application channel or discover our blogs *after* they’ve applied.
In a follow up email. Gretchen says:
…We have not found a solid way to track ROI, but the positive anecdotal feedback we receive is enough to convince our HR leadership team that it’s well worth our investment.
Ok – so Microsoft is the company we all love to hate and at which we all love to throw bricks. Most of the time. Given what I’ve asked about ROI, given the strictures of Sarbanes-Oxley and given the importance of Microsoft as a global organisation, do these ‘metrics’ impress you? I’m impressed by two things:
I asked Gretchen if it is OK to post her thoughts directly -
- Answer: ‘post away’
- The answer is anecdotal, they’ve yet to find a ‘metric’ people can accept yet blogging is deemed to have value they believe exists but are as yet unclear about measuring. So what? Does it matter that we don’t have the pivot table on this?
I think I know how to turn these kinds of answer into metrics that finance and HR can understand at one and the same time.
- How about blog influence per hire compared with quality of hire?
- Or…employee hire cost per blog that influenced the hire?
- Staff retention/satisfaction rating when encouraged to blog?
Anyone want to argue this? Add some more? Am I going in the right direction? Am I going HR soft in my old age? I don’t think so – yet.
PS – I’m categorising this as ‘ethics’ and ‘employee’ and ‘client relationships.’ That’s deliberate.