Are you tracking the right stuff?

We have covered this topic once in the past, but it is worth revisiting again.

Many employers set goals for their employees, and they measure the results based on those goals. All too often they track the wrong benchmarks, which leads to frustration for the employee.

Consider the hypothetical case of Roxanne the recruiter. Her job is to recruit new job candidates for a staffing company. Her boss needs to have at least 200 job candidates in the pipeline ready to be placed for employment.

Her boss has given her a goal to call at least 25 prospects every day. Months go by and Roxanne makes the calls. It is not fun cold calling people; many of them get angry and hang up the phone. The constant rejection is not a pleasant work environment, but she is maintaining the goal of 200 candidates.

Then, the market changes and the economy improves. More companies are hiring permanent people and it becomes harder to find people looking for work. Roxanne shifts gears and launches a social media campaign to generate more interest. It does work much better, but she still cannot recruit enough people.

When the pool of candidates drops below 200, the boss reviews the call logs. He can see that Roxanne has not been making her calls, and sends her a scathing email. He tells her to make at least 25 calls every day before she does anything else.

Roxanne feels frustrated. She is recruiting more people than ever before. She cannot control external market conditions that affect the net number of candidates in the job pool.

Her goals are tied to numbers she cannot control, and her boss is tracking metrics that do not work well. Roxanne decides to quit her job and find one that is more rewarding.

It would have been much better to track the number of new recruits every month, rather than the number of phone calls made, and candidates in the job pool.

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For information, go to southernarizona.score.org, send an email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.