Categories Articles, Staffing & Recruiting

rewards for hitting metricsToday’s Applicant Tracking Systems make it easy to track and monitor every action that your sales or recruiting team generates: every call made, every submission, every interview.

If done wrong this can be demoralizing and counterproductive. When done right, it can increase morale and enable you to tune up productivity.

Here are five quick tips that we’ve found in common among our customers that use data to track and manage their teams the right way.

1. Focus on metrics that matter

Your sales or recruiting process probably has several distinct phases from start to success. You want your metrics to reflect achievement of each of those phases, so that they measure and show you the step-by-step progress towards success.

Our most successful customers track 4 to 6 key activities for their teams. If you are tracking more than that you probably have activities that are redundant, are a subset of another, or aren’t truly key to the process. You are also diluting the team’s focus on the few that matter.

2. Competition

When visiting one of our customers I was approached by a member of their team with a request to modify the activity email that goes out each night. She wanted it made more competitive. So we made a version of the nightly email which contained a leaderboard for each activity type: a ranked list of who had made the most calls, the most sendouts, etc.

Competition is baked into the culture for many sales teams. They thrive on it. You can support that competitive culture and use it to drive productivity if you focus it on the metrics that matter in #1 above.

3. Visibility & transparency

Once the competitive heat is turned on your team will focus their attention on the numbers. This is what you don’t want to happen:

“Wait, I did 30 calls last week not 20, I don’t believe these metrics.”

If you’re going to focus attention on the numbers you need your team to believe in them. This will come if the team can “unpack” any metric to see the source details.

Often they will discover that the reason the metric doesn’t match their expectation is because some element of data was not recorded in the ATS correctly. Thus visibility drives a secondary benefit for you as a manager: data compliance.

4. Don’t get played

Metrics are a double-edged sword. The benefit is your team will try its hardest to maximize those metrics. The danger is your team will succeed…at the expense of something else vital to the business.

Example: you measure sendouts. Your team responds by doubling the number of candidates sent, even if it doesn’t make sense for the client.

One solution is to watch your ratios. Track the number of submissions, sendouts, interviews, etc for each successful placement. If you see a sudden spike in the number of submissions relative to your placements, you should take a look to see why.

5. Everything in context

Mary and Joe both did 10 sendouts last week. Should those two results be considered the same?

Of course not, because a metric is most useful when viewed in context. For example:

  • Mary could be a new recruiter while Joe is a veteran
  • Joe’s 12-month average might be a consistent 30 per week
  • Mary’s 10 were against several different job orders whereas Joe’s were against one

When managing metrics make sure you have the tools to evaluate them over time and relative to teams or cohorts.

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Samuel Clemens
Sam is founder and chief of product & marketing for InsightSquared. Previously, Sam was VP Product at HubSpot, VP Product at BzzAgent, and on the founding team at Elance.com. His background also includes venture capital with Greylock Partners, the Algorithms group at Amazon.com, and management consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton. Sam has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Applied Math from Yale. In his off time he dives shipwrecks in the New England area.
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