HR Return on Investment

It’s that time of year when many of us reflect on the past and plan for the future. And at Resourceful HR we do just that – we use the new year to reflect on successes from the previous year and plan for what we want to accomplish in the coming months. I’ll be the first to admit that new year’s resolutions are difficult to sustain, but there are some great ways to ensure your HR objectives and resolutions are successful – metrics.

Recently, the Resourceful HR team had the opportunity to explore the topic of HR metrics and ROI in detail at our last Northwest HR Best Practices Roundtable. Many of our readers already understand the value of HR and as business leaders and professionals, we know HR plays an important role in maximizing performance, retention and achieving organizational goals. However, measuring the tangible results is not always evident or easy. We wanted to share some of the key points, ideas, and advice that came from the Roundtable discussion.

  • Just like with any business initiative, the only way to measure the results is to clearly define the outcome you are seeking and the actions that will get you there.
  • Determine what can be measured. What can be measured is what generally gets done.
  • Measurements of productivity or work activity don’t always equate to achievement of business goals.
  • Make sure what you are measuring aligns to business objectives/strategy.
  • Everyone across the organization needs to understand the value of HR initiatives in achieving organizational goals and the metrics used to track the success of each initiative.
  • Be proactive. Implementing metrics because of problems usually does not produce the results you are seeking. Be clear about your long-term goals and how HR initiatives are supporting these efforts.
  • Metrics are key for tracking progress towards change. Identify what needs to change based on where the organization is trying to go. Then identify which metrics would be valuable to monitor how things are progressing.
  • HR professionals should work closely with managers of teams or business units and determine what information would be helpful for them to know and monitor based on changes they need to see in their team to accomplish key objectives.
  • Objectives will change and you can’t always predict how. Gather data and metrics based on what you know you want to track today and make changes along the way as objectives, long-term goals and markets fluctuate.
  • There are some metrics that are required to be tracked, for compliance purposes, such as tracking full time employees for the Affordable Care Act or hours worked for sick pay for the Seattle Sick & Safe Leave, etc.
  • Many metrics don’t highlight an impact in the short-term. For many initiatives and tracking activities, you’ll want to create a one-month to five-year plan. Examples would be retention metrics or succession planning.
  • Identify recruiting metrics that matter to your organization. Time to fill may not be the best measurement if it is a hard to fill role or a unique niche position.
  • People costs are usually the highest expense at an organization so tracking the impact those dollars have on success is extremely important.

Establishing effective metrics isn’t easy. But the benefit of putting the tracking mechanisms in place and being able to highlight a job well done will be just as rewarding as crossing the finish line of the race you’ve resolved to complete this year.

We’d love to hear from you on your best practices for identifying and implementing metrics for your HR initiatives. Share your thoughts below.

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Every day, I focus on helping businesses find the HR or recruiting solution that will allow their businesses to succeed, employees to grow, and ultimately communities to flourish.