Evaluation in HR

Posted by HR Analytics on Thursday, November 21, 2013 Under: Research

Planning to implement a new program in your HR department? Don't skip out the evaluation step. Many HR programs can benefit from the use of evaluation techniques but unfortunately I have witnessed a number of HR programs implemented with no plan for evaluation. Sure, these programs did not all fail but how do we know they were successful either? Evaluation should be an integral part of any program or activity that HR department plans to stand up, no matter how simple or complex that program is. It could be as simple as a awards program or it could be as complicated as a legal initiative; no matter what the scale of the program is, it can be very beneficial to ensure that the evaluation step is in the program's life cycle--or better yet, all throughout the program's entire life cycle. Evaluations should be conducted regularly throughout the various parts of a program’s life cycle--or at least during periods that allow for drawing inferences on whether there’s alignment between the activities and the goals.  HR programs can draw upon the use of various evaluation techniques and designs such as formative evaluation, summative evaluation, and stakeholder analysis.

When implementing HR programs such as awards programs, specialized recruiting efforts, workplace flexibility programs, or any other workplace programs, program management teams should be thinking evaluation right from the start and should really have an evaluation plan as an integral part of the planning stages.  Not only does it serve as a way to gauge if you're successful at the end of the program but it can also serve as a roadmap telling you how you can get from one milestone to the next and ultimately to your goals.  

Implementation of new HR programs are usually done because they solve problems or improve the current situation.  However, the new program implemented does not guarantee a fix.  Sure, an award program sounds good because it is touted by many other successful organizations and the research supports that it has positive effects on organizations.  However, adoption and implementation of such a practice does not necessarily guarantee success nor does it necessarily guarantee a boost to the company's bottomline.  Awards programs, once implemented in the organization, become a unique living and morphing entity.  Without a proper roadmap or any kind of monitoring/evaluation, this newly implemented program’s success might never be fully realized.  So who knows, that award program might sound good in the beginning but might also end up wasting your resources.   So establish your goals and then identify the outcomes you wish to achieve by implementing this award program.  Identify the inputs, outputs, activities, and the resources you will need to reach those goals and outcomes.  Measure them.  You cannot measure those if they are not measurable so make sure they are.  Actually, make sure these are S.M.A.R.T. --

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic 
  • Time-bound  
Or better yet, make sure these are S.M.A.R.T.E.R (add Evaluate and Re-evaluate) so that you can be sure that you are continually making progress towards meeting your goals.  

Using an easy-to-follow evaluation framework such as the logic model in the evaluation plan can be really helpful.  The logic model helps display the interrelationships among the inputs, the activities, the outcomes, and the goals.  It connects visually, in columns and rows, the resources, inputs, outputs, outcomes, and goals and how they all align.  Logic connects decisions about investments in HR programs to strategic outcomes (Cascio & Boudreau, 2008).  

If you are not evaluating, how would you know that the investment (time, money, and other resources) you made was worthwhile?

“However beautiful the strategy, you should always check the results.” --Winston Churchill For more on evaluation resources, I found these very helpful sites that I often refer to when putting together evaluation plans.  

In : Research 

Tags: evaluation  logic model  smart  smarter 
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