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How Your Business Processes Can Inspire Your HR Metrics

Written by Dino Zincarini

August 11, 2021

How Your Business Processes Can Inspire Your HR Metrics

“What metrics should I include in my rollout?” This is one of the most common questions we hear from people building their people analytics content. While we can always point to the “bread and butter” metrics of turnover, retention, etc I think there’s a better way to think about it. Rather than try and list the most important metrics, think instead about the most important business processes. Measuring a business process results in a much clearer story as it may involve several metrics, all related to each other, that paint an overall picture of the health of the business.

Think about the main processes that HR supports and then break that down into pieces that can be measured. One of the biggest business processes for HR has to be recruiting. Thinking about recruiting, what does that overall business process look like? Let’s break it down:

  1. A requisition is opened
  2. We assign recruiting resources to source candidates
  3. We go through the interview process
  4. We rank our candidates
  5. We extend an offer until we get someone we like (or maybe we have to go back to an earlier step)

Great! Now how can we measure these steps in order to learn something about them? A key thing we can always measure is time. How long does each step take? We have our first metric. There’s also a question of volume (number of requisitions, number of candidates, number of hiring managers, number of recruiters, etc). With recruiting there may even be hard cost numbers if your organization uses third parties with recruiting. Now we have at least two, maybe three quantitative measures (time, volume, and cost) that we can count up across at least five steps of the business process. Combining these measures we can also develop some ratios (e.g. time to hire per requisition).

As we build out our metric “story” for a business process we can think about comparisons across the business. In this way we can start to identify outliers and broader patterns. For example, which team has the lowest time to hire? Do new requisitions open up around the same time periods?

Finally, can we bring in more historical data to see how things have changed over time? The disruption of the pandemic may have thrown historical patterns off, or it may have amplified small historical problems into larger ones. For example, if you had slow time-to-hire before the pandemic it is probably worse now; set expectations with your business partners accordingly with real numbers to tell the story.

Following a business process in this way helps keep your metrics tightly bound to an overall story that will be relevant to your stakeholders and make it easier to demonstrate the value of your people analytics effort. It will also lead itself to new business processes to measure. For example, if you have followed through with the recruiting example above, it probably won’t take much time before you want to get more proactive about recruiting and want to dig into the drivers of recruiting, business change, and turnover.

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about the author
Dino has a remarkable background with over 20 years of experience starting from an Economics and Computer Science degree from the University of Waterloo.
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