Judi McMullen became Vice President of Human Resources for Cuyahoga Community College in June, 2010, leaving her role as Global People Consultant at Ernst & Young. Her mission: improve the caliber and deliverables connected to every aspect of Human Resources services. The first challenge: deciding what really matters most. The second challenge: deciding how to measure current performance and how to chart ongoing progress.
The old comment, “50% of marketing works… but I don’t know which 50%” could be applied to human resources in many organizations. Judi deploys metrics as one of the major weapons in her arsenal to figure out which half of policies work by measuring the results of key HR initiatives. Judi likes to say: “some is not a number, soon is not a time frame!” She insists on strapping a solid deadline and objective to every program, and she uses metrics to make sure things are running on schedule. Metrics track the “how much” and “when” for process improvement. They give decision makers the objective data to identify specific constraints limiting department effectiveness.
Judi stresses the importance of finding the right metrics, since the easiest things to measure often won’t tell you anything important. For instance, a variance in postage expenses is easy to chart, but remains an insignificant detail when you need to control costs in a multi-million dollar division. The wrong metrics aren’t much better than none at all. To calibrate the right metrics, Judi pulls team leadership together, validates what matters most, and defines the best way to measure progress.
Judi’s role as Vice President of Human Resources at Cuyahoga Community College is demanding and can drain every ounce of energy she can muster, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Her mission is even tougher: “Achieving the Dream.” The key ingredient in fueling the “Dream” is talent. Recruiting, developing and retaining the best and brightest are never ending tasks. She uses metrics to evaluate every stage of the process, from hiring to tenure. Metrics on the front end include: cost of sourcing, time to hire, third-party fees – executive search, background checks, etc.
Could the failure to understand and employ metrics be costly… or even deadly? Yes. A study of Tri-C’s health insurance plan revealed a low participation rate for preventative “check-ups.” Metrics revealed that many people suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes had not attended recommended check-ups that could have caught the problem sooner. Awareness of these metrics and the resulting programs to increase participation and awareness in wellness screenings has and will save money and lives.
Judi uses metrics in her personal life and believes everyone should use metrics every day. She even tracked her running times for her training regime for the 5k Reindeer Run. She argues that without metrics, we wouldn’t know who should populate the Hall of Fame. Without performance measures, even Babe Ruth may never have achieved hero status. Without measurement, there is no way to determine improvement or decline. Athletics, weight loss, or achieving record enrollment in a leading community college…. all rely on metrics.