Do Your Metrics Even Matter?

October 10, 2013

I recently came across an excellent two-part series entitled “Measure What Matters” by LinkedIn Influencer Ron Baker (check out Part I and Part II here). Both parts are must-reads, but at the end of Part II, Ron emphasizes something incredibly important but often missed:

Some organizations seem to believe the more they measure, the more will get done. If we get what we measure, isn’t it time to measure what really matters rather than merely measuring for the sake of measuring? More importantly, if we get what we measure, isn’t it time to start measuring what we want to become?

Does this quote ring true in your workplace today? In the talent acquisition space, metrics are both commonplace and challenging. We all want to improve our performance on time to hire, cost per hire, quality of hire, and so many other metrics. But what really matters to your organization? Are you measuring what really has an impact or, in Ron’s terms, are you measuring what you want to become?

I have noticed that in talent acquisition space three metrics are often overlooked but they have the power to take your company to the next level:

  1. Costs due to growth
  2. Talent pipeline
  3. Employer brand

And here is my argument about why you should invest and follow each one of these metrics:

 1. Is growth good? Shifting from reactive to proactive to save the organization money.

During budget season, the battles for the slice of the company budget pie can get intense as every dollar saved can either be returned to shareholders or reinvested in growing the business. Too often, however, Talent Acquisition is seen merely as a cost center to be controlled rather than a growth engine for the business.

Hopefully, your organization’s revenues are increasing and the company health is improving, but rapid growth can often be more damaging for your bottom line than you may think. As hiring needs increase and time is of the essence to meet client demands, Talent Acquisition departments find themselves under-resourced to handle these surges and hiring managers often have to turn to expensive third-party sources to fill the jobs that can charge 20-30% of the candidate’s first year salary.

At its core, as illustrated in the graph below, Talent Acquisition has not been funded or designed to meet these needs, and the reactivity can lead to oversized dependence on agencies and rushed hires that do not fit the job’s requirements. When you’re measuring your spend in times of growth, be sure to first ask the question -- are we ready? And what will be the broader bottom line impact if we rely on third-parties and contractors?

talent acquisition cost

By investing in your team and shifting from reactive to proactive, you’ll bring in top talent and arm your Talent Acquisition team with the right resources to grow the business.

2. Build a pipeline…and measure it.

At any given time, every talent acquisition professional has a job requisition that they just can’t fill. The candidate pool is too small, the hiring manager doesn’t like the options, top talent isn’t interested, compensation is too low...the list goes on. Despite always being “busy” and dealing with challenging workloads, when was the last time we instead stopped to measure our talent pipeline to solve this problem?

Measuring our talent pipeline means looking beyond the to-do list and email inbox and instead developing a deep understanding of the business strategy and future talent needs. It means proactively sourcing and networking with top candidates, even if the job isn’t open today. And it means use data and dashboards to illustrate your pipeline’s size, skill set and diversity.

The best sales people in the industry always have a pipeline of new and diverse deals because they know that only a few will ultimately pan out. In the same way, the best talent acquisition professionals continually invest in developing a bench of top talent, ready for that tough job to fill and able to transform Talent Acquisition’s role in your company.

3. Become an Employer of Choice

A marketing professor I know once posted an interesting question- “Everyone knows who McDonald’s is, the delicious taste of their fries, and where the closest location is…so why do they spend millions of dollars on advertising?” Her point wasn’t to discuss the branding strategy of the Golden Arches. Instead, she challenged us to think deeply about the importance of making a sound business case for marketing. If McDonald’s didn’t invest in its brand, they would eventually lose market share as consumers aged and competitors pounced. By not investing in your employer brand, are you losing top talent, and ultimately, hurting your organization?

Too often, Talent Acquisition professionals are settle for “just fine” and assume that since “everyone” knows about them, they don’t need to put a lot of work into their brand. But if that’s the case, why do we see Nike, Facebook and American Express continually growing their talent brand on LinkedIn? And how much harder is it for B2B companies that don’t have instant consumer recognition or for small businesses that find it tough to compete with larger organizations in their geography? Our research has shown a strong employer brand to lead to a 50% decrease in cost per hire and 28% lower turnover rates. No matter your organization’s size or budget, if being an employer of choice matters to you, your talent brand is a metric to measure.

In conclusion, don’t let “busyness” be an excuse that prevents you and your organization from doing the heavy lifting of discovering which metrics matter. Remember, measuring the past is one thing, but measuring for what you want to become can be transformational. When you reach this level, you’ll be taking control of your work and leading an organization full of top talent.

employer brand tips