The HR department is just as central to company success as any other. Accounting, product development, marketing, sales, and IT all have a place at the table. But when HR managers experience a need or a crisis, they often have trouble making their voices heard among executive decision makers. Why does this happen? What leverage do these other departments tend to have that we don’t have? The answer is simple: numbers.
Unlike most other departments, HR challenges and goals aren’t always easy to quantify. That’s because we deal in a currency of human beings and human capital, and it goes against our nature to distill human needs, value, and problems into straightforward metrics. A high turnover problem, for example, may require budget resources to resolve. But it can be hard to make this case to upper management without putting a number on the problem first.
So how can you gather metrics that allow executives to make sense of the challenges you face? And among these varied data streams, which ones matter the most to company success?
Metrics and Hiring
When you decide to quantify “successful hiring”, what does your company focus on most? If speed matters, measure the time it takes to fill each position and look for cost effective ways to reduce that number. But keep in mind the fast/cheap/good paradox. Almost every resource it takes to run a business—including employees—can be obtained fast, at a low cost, or with high value. And as the saying goes, you can have any two of these, but you can’t have all three.
If “good” hires are the goal, define those terms. Are good hires employees who last more than a year? More than five years? Consider handing surveys to managers of new hires and ask how they rate the success of each hire after one, three and five years. If “cheap” hires are the most valuable, how can you target undervalued candidates with high upside potential? And once they’re onboard, how can you get the most productivity from these workers while keeping salary costs under control?
Metrics and Retention
Hiring isn’t the only element of staffing that can be quantified and measured. In order to measure and control retention, you’ll need to find ways to put numbers on worker satisfaction. You’ll also need to quantify how your company stacks up against the competition in terms of salary data, workplace culture, perks, and opportunities for advancement.
Start by distributing surveys at least once a year among your teams, and balance this survey data against that of thoughtfully designed exit interviews. Make sure you draw as much information as possible out of departing employees, and find ways to crunch their reviews into meaningful data points that can be used to generate change. For more information on how to do this, reach out the Des Moines staffing and HR experts at The Palmer Group.