Make sure you’re assessing the things that count

Time to hire, cost to hire, attrition rate. There are plenty of really comprehensive lists of HR and hiring metrics available online.  But are we using them to measure what matters? Do metrics such as employee turnover or length of service tell us the full story? Do they connect the success of your people strategy with success in achieving business objectives?

Or, are we simply assessing the success of our own recruitment processes? And in doing so, possibly talking only the language of HR, not the language of business?

All hiring metrics are not equal

We recently took part in an event hosted by the RL100 and our client Herbert Smith Freehills, during which we explored alternative ways of thinking about how assessment influences business outcomes. For Herbert Smith Freehills, the key to improving broader business metrics was better diversity in hiring and development.

As we’ve found through our own research, all recruitment metrics are not equal.  Diversity in hiring is one of many important assessment outcomes that really does influence business success. From our own assessment data, and our work with clients, we’ve highlighted three of the most impactful metrics here:

  1. Diversity of hiring. A process that is, fair, inclusive and free from bias are the foundations. By analysing factors including performance in role and readiness for promotion, and viewing it alongside demographic data, we can maximise positive business outcomes and minimise adverse impact.
  2. Potential for performance. There are other indicators of potential other than getting through to the next stage of the assessment process or doing a job well! Line mangers might rate team members highly if they keep their head down in the first year. However, people who have good conceptual thinking or question the way things are done may be more difficult to manage but tend to get promoted more readily.
  3. Staying power. This is often considered as a too-hard-to-measure metric because of the time lag. What we need to know is: What is the profile of people who are a good role and organisational fit and stay with the business?

Ideas for talent assessments that make a real business impact

Historically the metrics that were easy to measure are typically those that measured the performance of recruitment. But, even if it is, you might still not be making the best decisions.  You can get a short time to hire by making poor decisions, you can generate high application numbers with poor-fit candidates.

But, if your process is working well at the organisational level, you’ll improve traditional recruitment metrics anyway as result. When we work with clients, we try to get them thinking about a range of business outcomes and we work this back to assessment design.

For example, you might want to consider:

  • Diversity of hiring
  • Offer ratios
  • Quality of hire
  • Level of potential
  • Retention rate
  • Progression through the organisation
  • Candidate experience

In the latest paper in our Assessment Insights series, we pose some questions in a workbook format that you can use to shape your thinking about what you really want to get out of your assessment process.

To review your own approach to assessment through our workbook, and to read some of our showcase client stories on outcomes-led assessment, you can download the paper here.