Metrics:Does your measuring stick stand up?

How do you measure success? The old stand-by measuring sticks of job creation and capital investment sentiment do not measure up. Boards, elected officials, and economic developers are talking metrics-what are you saying?

We measured job creatiometricsn and capital investment when we were industrial recruits, but now we are economic developers-so what makes sense?

EDO’s are being asked to report on results and track long list of metrics. Here is what we have found they are tracking.

Dashboard Items for Communications

  • Leads, Projects, Locations/Expansions
  • Unemployment Rate
  • New Business Starts
  • Existing Businesses Assisted
  • Dollars invested in TPED per job and per capital investment

Metric to be Tracked

  • Prospect Inquiries
  • Projects Worked
  • Prospect Visit
  • New Locations
  • Per Capita Income
  • Mean Income
  • Average Household Income
  • Labor Force
  • Unemployment
  • Commuting Time
  • Businesses Visited
  • Business Expansions
  • Employment Growth
  • Employment by Industry
  • Educational Attainment
  • TPED Private Investors
  • Total annual private investment in TPED
  • Numbers in Training Programs at BRCC
  • Community College enrollment
  • Community College Customized Training Programs
  • High School Graduation Rate
  • Certification in additional to High School Diploma
  • College Placement

Reportable Items

  • Participation in Marketing Events
  • Public engagement – presentations, news columns, etc.
  • Marketing events with region and state
  • Website traffic
  • Track clicks on eblasts, newsletters, electronic communication
  • Business served by the EDO
  • Business establishments
  • New businesses started
  • Event Participation
  • Visitor Traffic at Visitor Center
  • Hotel Occupancy
  • Occupancy tax revenue
  • Retail Leakage
  • Downtown Vacancy Rate
  • New Housing Starts
  • New Amenity Development
  • Available Buildings
  • Square Footage Available
  • Available Sites
  • New developments
  • Site Certification
  • Infrastructure Projects
  • Other capital improvement projects impacting economic development

IEDC released a report on metrics because of the chatter and buzz. http://www.iedconline.org/clientuploads/directory/docs/EDRP_Metrics_Full.pdf

As a former practitioner, I know we set metrics to be successful in order to keep our job, but what if we changed our focus? What if we educate our boards and communities on what really matters? For example, your community values entrepreneurship, then the metrics should reflect the outcome of entrepreneurial programs, business starts, business expansions, ?patents?, tech transfer, small building vacancy, incubator graduation and revolving loans made. Yes, jobs will come as a result of the above, but this alone does not tell the story.

We recommend tracking metrics that will tell you if your specific goals are being achieved, not an arbitrary gauge. If your goals are aligned with your vision and mission and you are accomplishing your goals, you will be successful.

There are many things we should track to know how our organization is performing, such as clicks on eblasts, however, for our external reporting identifies the key metrics for each goal and report that to your stakeholders. The highest performing EDO we know tracks EVERYTHING, but reports externally what stakeholders care about.

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