This article assesses how the world of talent acquisition has changed, what success looks like and what metrics hiring teams should focus on to match the fluid workforce of today.
There’s no doubt that we live in exciting times. HR’s next transformation – one that will require us to develop beyond our roles as business partners into digitally-adept transformers – is well underway and powering this is a renaissance in the world of HR technology. It’s now entirely possible to offer a highly tailored candidate experience and employee journey. In line with this evolution, the use of talent analytics is blossoming in many organizations.
The world of talent acquisition is keeping pace with these changes and it’s encouraging to see that in many instances when HR teams look at resourcing a project, they think beyond permanent hires and instead look to an optimal blend which includes contingent resources, automation, and artificial intelligence. The transformation we’re experiencing gives us a good opportunity to think about how we measure our hiring process.
Over the last few years, most businesses have recognized that talent is a rarity, not a commodity. You wouldn’t know this though if you looked at the measures most commonly used in hiring. As talent acquisition managers, we find and recruit amazing individuals every day – people who make transformational programs happen, who deliver exquisite experiences to customers, even those who save lives – but when we measure our own success, we tend to ask the following questions:
How long did it take?
What did it cost?
Do these questions represent the value we as talent acquisition specialists deliver? Would you want to be the recipient of a recruitment service narrowly focussed on time and cost?
The problem with using the measures associated with the questions above is that a downward trend in these metrics doesn’t actually indicate a healthier hiring process. Instead, they treat talent as a commodity, not a rarity – which is absolutely opposite to the direction HR is heading. The other problem with these measures is that they aim to prevent issues rather than achieve goals or realize value. Where, in either of these measures, do we see the impact of a well-networked and productive hire, for example? Cost and timing metrics may help a talent acquisition function be more efficient, but they will never power real transformation, and therefore, in my opinion, they’ve got to go.
Evolving talent acquisition metrics
If we look to the transformation happening in other parts of HR, we can easily find clues to more meaningful measures. Some of us are already evaluating candidate and hiring manager satisfaction, for example. We also know the experience we deliver affects employee engagement which in turn can impact performance. And as the quality of experience applies to any type of role and any variation of the hiring process, if we only evaluate one area, it should be this. These measures drive actions which are more likely to be deeply transformative, resulting in a greater positive impact on a business. Filling roles in an average of 38 instead of 39 days might show a tactical improvement in efficiency but won’t demonstrate the delivery of value.
This concept is key as we change the way we measure success and we need to start speaking of the value we have delivered. This can seem quite complex because what this metric is will differ depending on the role, but we can simplify this by starting with two questions:
How long did it take a new hire to be productive?
Once productive, how did the new hire’s contribution match expectations?
Like quality of experience, these can be universal measures and the answer to the second question lies in a department’s own measures of success. For a sales team, this could be the revenue a new sales hire generates, for a PMO this could be on-time and on-budget delivery of programs. I believe that in the future, in addition to the two questions above, we will also ask: What impact has my new hire had on team performance?
A future proof solution
I’m not saying we should completely abandon more traditional timing and cost measures because while I believe we should make experience and value provided our first priority, I do recognize the benefits of assessing time and cost. We can, however, better align these with transformative HR.
When we track costs, I think we can slightly rephrase the questions above and ask: How did my investment match a new hire’s productivity and the time it took a new hire to become fully productive? That leads us in a much better direction than ‘How much did we spend when we hired that person?’ and gets us thinking about predicting and preventing risks to productivity. There are some occasions when timing needs to be measured, though this should, in my view, always be secondary to the experience.