15 Smart Steps To Help Measure An HR Department’s Success

Original Article

Human resources plays a critical role in every business. Your workforce is your company’s most important asset, and an effective HR program helps to ensure your teams are satisfied and productive.

Like any department, however, the HR team’s efforts must be measured to ensure they’re yielding success—and if they’re not, the data can help them make any necessary adjustments. But how do you find the right methods and metrics for this process?

To help, a panel of Forbes Human Resources Council members shared steps leaders can take toward measuring the success of their HR team or department.

Photos of featured members.

1. Have Scheduled Listening Sessions

Having regularly scheduled listening sessions with the groups your HR team supports is a great way to receive timely feedback and allows internal customers to know their voice is being heard and their concerns are being followed up on. – Cathy NealBayer

2. Set Goals, Milestones And Measures Of Success

HR teams, like all business functions, can use metrics to gauge their progress and success. It begins with setting goals, milestones and measures. Focus on what’s in your control. Did you roll out initiatives on time? Did you engage the whole workforce? Are you providing the tools and training people need to do their jobs? Most important, tie your work to key business goals and priorities. – Mikaela KinerReverb

3. Gain Understanding Among Leadership And Your HR Staff

HR performance is often hard to measure in true quantitative terms that most staff would understand. The first step is to ensure that there is a clear understanding among leadership, as well as the HR staff, of how HR metrics and success impacts strategic and financial goals. HR departments must understand the organizational goals and develop metrics to measure the success of those goals. – Donald LarsenLGFCU

4. Reframe Your HR Strategy To Boost Employee Engagement

At the intersection of big data and technology, HR teams are slicing and dicing their success metrics more than ever before. One step to take is to use the results of your employee net promoter score (eNPS) and reframe HR strategy to boost employee engagement in today’s hybrid workforce. It is one question that it can be used to firm up more holistic metrics and it is super easy to get started! Voila. – Jay PolakiHR Geckos

5. Conduct Surveys And Gather Constructive Feedback

As HR leaders, we should value and seek constructive feedback. Surveys are always helpful. To avoid fatigue they don’t have to be long and overloaded with questions. If an HR team wants to gauge whether or not their efforts are yielding success, send out short pulse surveys a few times during the year. This will allow the team to make adjustments accordingly. – Milpha BlamoThe Minneapolis Foundation

6. Find The Most Relevant HR Metrics To Track

Make your data relevant and transparent. Find metrics that matter to your organization beyond “time to fill.” Quality of hire, for example, is a more impactful and telling metric. Then, publish quarterly scorecards to show progress in key areas like recruiting, engagement, well-being, benefits and training. Highlight changes from the previous quarter or year and document your goals for the next time period. – Jessica AdamsBrad’s Deals

7. Identify Your Key Performance Indicators

One step to take is to measure one (or more) key performance indicators. Look at average time to fill positions, retention rates and cost per hire. You can also informally measure employee satisfaction through absenteeism rates, attrition rates and average employee length of service. – Ayesha Whyte

8. Continuously Ask Questions About Your Workforce

In my view, it’s important to continuously ask questions. Are employees learning? Is my cost structure sustainable? Do we have a robust leadership and technical pipeline? Are we hiring the right people? Is the culture diverse and inclusive? Do I know more about the industry’s talent than my competitors? Are we data fluent and digitally enabled? Can we respond to a crisis? – David SwanagonEricsson

9. Look At Hire Quality

An important metric to measure the success of an HR team is the quality of their hires. Hard-working employees are the backbone of any successful business. While speed and cost-efficiency are important when recruiting, ultimately it comes down to measuring the efficacy of the hires. Survey hiring managers about new additions to the team and measure employee output and retention rates. – Sean FaheyVidCruiter

10. Look At How HR Enables And Empowers Talent

The more HR enables and empowers the talent, the better the business outcomes are. This is a significant and measurable metric that happens every day. These successes are yielded as a team and created as a whole. The part that is within HRs scope is how they service and support the most important aspect: the human. – Keri Higgins BigelowLivingHR, Inc.

11. Align HR Goals With Company Goals

Aligning HR goals to those of the organization is a critical step in making sure that the goals are impactful and respected by members of the organization outside of HR. By publishing efforts, progress and results of the goals, team members can stay focused on the goal, and since it is aligned with the goals of the organization, it will be impactful. – Chris Stanzione360 AgileTalent

12. Study Your Metrics Holistically

HR leaders need to ensure that the metrics they design will connect and feed into each other in a way that tells a compelling, holistic and life-cycle-driven story. You can’t just look at early turnover in isolation and conclude that onboarding doesn’t work. You would also need a measurement of the effectiveness of onboarding to connect to turnover data to tell the real story you want to uncover. – Megan LeasherTalent Plus

13. Understand How Your HR ‘Service’ Is Being Received By Employees

Use surveys and let the data speak for itself. HR is a service entity within an organization. It’s important to understand how that service is being received and the value it has overall. Be prepared to ask questions around transactions and transformation so that the data can be utilized in a meaningful manner. – Tina R. WalkerCalifornia Community Foundation

14. Measure HR Against Business Metrics

As we move out of the transactional “shared services” approach to engaging at the right strategic high impact model in our organizations, we should be measuring our success by business metrics. These metrics can include sales revenue, customer sat, cost of customer acquisition, as well as employee happiness, engagement, cost of hire, workforce modeling ratios. As we evolve HR, everything we do impacts key business drivers. – Maria MileticBlue Prism Software

15. Set Clear Performance Standards Tied To Key Metrics

Provide the team with clear performance standards that are tied to metrics. Empirical data furnishes leadership, as well as human resources, with invaluable information and presents opportunities for adjustment when goals fall short of expected outcomes. Utilizing data to identify trends, course corrections and the necessity for diversification of deliverables also lends to credibility. – Misty Johnson OratokhaiEvents DC



Author: Chris Stanzione
With over 22 years of Global Talent Acquisition leadership experience, Chris Stanzione is Managing Partner of 360 Talent, a Talent Acquisition Professional Services firm headquartered in Atlanta, GA.