Of effectiveness and efficiency studies

question-markI’ve spent the past few weeks hunting for solutions to three business requirements. I have spent considerable hours on calls and in meetings trying to figure how HR greats across are solving for these. I always end with a few questions –

“How do you know this is working?”

“What are the metrics that you have used to measure success?”

“Have you carried out an effectiveness/efficiency study? If not, do you plan to do so?”

& guess what? I have a feeling you aren’t going to be surprised by the answers. Hardly 10% could give a satisfactory response.

Let me share an example. Rewards and recognition (R&R) is a practice in place for most teams and organizations. In an attempt to design one for my team, I went into meetings with the below questions –

“How do you know these are the optimal number of awards? What happens if you knock one off or add two? How do you know ‘X’ is the right number?”

“How did you arrive at ‘Y’ amount?” (In case of a monetary benefit).

“How do you know your R&R system is working?”

I probably received some of the most creative answers in the industry. Some of course, had sound replies but for most, it went something like – ‘People are happy, our survey questions have high scores, the rewarded behavior is encouraged and so on.’

I thought – if I added an extra award every year, it is highly likely that my people will be happier, positive scores on surveys will rise and the rewarded behavior will be encouraged but that’s not essentially the most effective method.

As an industry, we don’t spend enough time evaluating practices. There is a problem, we solve for it, put the solution in place, monitor for a while and then let go. Maybe years later when we see everyone in the industry doing something new or hear our employees create noise about it we go back and evaluate. Is it any wonder then that we cry about our practices being outdated?


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