Council Post: 15 Smart Steps To Help Measure An HR Department’s Success (2024)

Human resources plays a critical role in every business. Your workforce is your company's most important asset, and an effective HR program helps to ensure your teams are satisfied and productive.

Like any department, however, the HR team's efforts must be measured to ensure they're yielding success—and if they're not, the data can help them make any necessary adjustments. But how do you find the right methods and metrics for this process?

To help, a panel of Forbes Human Resources Council members shared steps leaders can take toward measuring the success of their HR team or department.

1. Have Scheduled Listening Sessions

Having regularly scheduled listening sessions with the groups your HR team supports is a great way to receive timely feedback and allows internal customers to know their voice is being heard and their concerns are being followed up on. - Cathy Neal, Bayer

2. Set Goals, Milestones And Measures Of Success

HR teams, like all business functions, can use metrics to gauge their progress and success. It begins with setting goals, milestones and measures. Focus on what's in your control. Did you roll out initiatives on time? Did you engage the whole workforce? Are you providing the tools and training people need to do their jobs? Most important, tie your work to key business goals and priorities. - Mikaela Kiner, Reverb

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3. Gain Understanding Among Leadership And Your HR Staff

HR performance is often hard to measure in true quantitative terms that most staff would understand. The first step is to ensure that there is a clear understanding among leadership, as well as the HR staff, of how HR metrics and success impacts strategic and financial goals. HR departments must understand the organizational goals and develop metrics to measure the success of those goals. - Donald Larsen, LGFCU

4. Reframe Your HR Strategy To Boost Employee Engagement

At the intersection of big data and technology, HR teams are slicing and dicing their success metrics more than ever before. One step to take is to use the results of your employee net promoter score (eNPS) and reframe HR strategy to boost employee engagement in today's hybrid workforce. It is one question that it can be used to firm up more holistic metrics and it is super easy to get started! Voila. - Jay Polaki, HR Geckos

5. Conduct Surveys And Gather Constructive Feedback

As HR leaders, we should value and seek constructive feedback. Surveys are always helpful. To avoid fatigue they don't have to be long and overloaded with questions. If an HR team wants to gauge whether or not their efforts are yielding success, send out short pulse surveys a few times during the year. This will allow the team to make adjustments accordingly. - Milpha Blamo, The Minneapolis Foundation

6. Find The Most Relevant HR Metrics To Track

Make your data relevant and transparent. Find metrics that matter to your organization beyond “time to fill.” Quality of hire, for example, is a more impactful and telling metric. Then, publish quarterly scorecards to show progress in key areas like recruiting, engagement, well-being, benefits and training. Highlight changes from the previous quarter or year and document your goals for the next time period. - Jessica Adams, Brad's Deals

7. Identify Your Key Performance Indicators

One step to take is to measure one (or more) key performance indicators. Look at average time to fill positions, retention rates and cost per hire. You can also informally measure employee satisfaction through absenteeism rates, attrition rates and average employee length of service. - Ayesha Whyte

8. Continuously Ask Questions About Your Workforce

In my view, it’s important to continuously ask questions. Are employees learning? Is my cost structure sustainable? Do we have a robust leadership and technical pipeline? Are we hiring the right people? Is the culture diverse and inclusive? Do I know more about the industry’s talent than my competitors? Are we data fluent and digitally enabled? Can we respond to a crisis? - David Swanagon, Ericsson

9. Look At Hire Quality

An important metric to measure the success of an HR team is the quality of their hires. Hard-working employees are the backbone of any successful business. While speed and cost-efficiency are important when recruiting, ultimately it comes down to measuring the efficacy of the hires. Survey hiring managers about new additions to the team and measure employee output and retention rates. - Sean Fahey, VidCruiter

10. Look At How HR Enables And Empowers Talent

The more HR enables and empowers the talent, the better the business outcomes are. This is a significant and measurable metric that happens every day. These successes are yielded as a team and created as a whole. The part that is within HRs scope is how they service and support the most important aspect: the human. - Keri Higgins Bigelow, LivingHR, Inc.

11. Align HR Goals With Company Goals

Aligning HR goals to those of the organization is a critical step in making sure that the goals are impactful and respected by members of the organization outside of HR. By publishing efforts, progress and results of the goals, team members can stay focused on the goal, and since it is aligned with the goals of the organization, it will be impactful. - Chris Stanzione, 360 AgileTalent

12. Study Your Metrics Holistically

HR leaders need to ensure that the metrics they design will connect and feed into each other in a way that tells a compelling, holistic and life-cycle-driven story. You can't just look at early turnover in isolation and conclude that onboarding doesn't work. You would also need a measurement of the effectiveness of onboarding to connect to turnover data to tell the real story you want to uncover. - Megan Leasher, Talent Plus

13. Understand How Your HR 'Service' Is Being Received By Employees

Use surveys and let the data speak for itself. HR is a service entity within an organization. It's important to understand how that service is being received and the value it has overall. Be prepared to ask questions around transactions and transformation so that the data can be utilized in a meaningful manner. - Tina R. Walker, California Community Foundation

14. Measure HR Against Business Metrics

As we move out of the transactional “shared services” approach to engaging at the right strategic high impact model in our organizations, we should be measuring our success by business metrics. These metrics can include sales revenue, customer sat, cost of customer acquisition, as well as employee happiness, engagement, cost of hire, workforce modeling ratios. As we evolve HR, everything we do impacts key business drivers. - Maria Miletic, Blue Prism Software

15. Set Clear Performance Standards Tied To Key Metrics

Provide the team with clear performance standards that are tied to metrics. Empirical data furnishes leadership, as well as human resources, with invaluable information and presents opportunities for adjustment when goals fall short of expected outcomes. Utilizing data to identify trends, course corrections and the necessity for diversification of deliverables also lends to credibility. - Misty Johnson Oratokhai, Events DC

Council Post: 15 Smart Steps To Help Measure An HR Department’s Success (2024)


How do you measure the success of an HR department? ›

12 metrics for measuring HR effectiveness
  1. Time-to-hire. ...
  2. Cost-per-hire. ...
  3. Employee engagement rate. ...
  4. Revenue-per-employee. ...
  5. Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) ...
  6. Regrettable turnover rate. ...
  7. Manager effectiveness. ...
  8. Employee retention rate.
May 19, 2023

How to boost measure and improve HR effectiveness? ›

Methods to Improve HR Effectiveness
  1. Improve organizational communication. Establish systems and practices for relaying HR information and policy changes to employees. ...
  2. Provide regular feedback. ...
  3. Consult with business leaders. ...
  4. Analyze data.

What is an example of a smart goal for HR? ›

Smart Goal

Increase the percentage of workers who express we have a positive work environment from 75% in 2023 to 80% in 2024. Specific: To maintain a positive, values-based work environment. Measurable: Increase the percentage of positive employee feedback from 75% to 80%. Attainable: From 75% in 2023 to 80% in 2024.

How to measure HR process efficiency? ›

How to Measure HR Efficiency
  1. Step 1: Define Your Department's KPIs. If your HR department does not have key performance indicators in a documented format, now is the time to think seriously about what makes your team successful. ...
  2. Step 2: Conduct a Time Audit of Your HR Workflows. ...
  3. Step 3: Analyze Your Audit.

What are the top 5 HR metrics? ›

The most common metrics used by HR include headcount, turnover, diversity, compensation, the total cost of workforce spans and layers, employee engagement, talent acquisition, learning, workforce planning, productivity, and manager effectiveness.

How do you measure department success? ›

How to Measure the Success of Your Team
  1. Start with a baseline and concrete goals. Regardless of any particular project, it's necessary to create a baseline for measuring performance. ...
  2. Measure projects completed and not completed. ...
  3. Monitor attendance. ...
  4. Evaluate the leader's role. ...
  5. Assess the level of individual initiative.
Jan 26, 2021

What is HR effectiveness measurement? ›

What is HR effectiveness? HR effectiveness refers to measuring how effective an HR department's actions and activities are to a business. A highly effective HR team plays a major role in helping a company thrive, especially since HR leaders are involved in shaping overall business decisions.

What are the three things that HR should improve? ›

3 Things Your HR Department Needs to Do (But Probably Doesn't)
  • Share the Responsibilities. Whether working for the official department or not, everyone in your company is involved in human resources – or should be. ...
  • Consolidate Systems for Efficiency. ...
  • Spend More Time on Your HR Strategy.

What are 5 SMART goals examples? ›

13 Inspiring Examples of SMART Goals for 2024
  • Studying. Simple Goal: I need to study more. ...
  • Writing. Simple Goal: ...
  • Reading More Books. Simple Goal: ...
  • Mastering Emotions. Simple Goal: ...
  • Exercising More. Simple Goal: ...
  • Improving Your Diet. Simple Goal: ...
  • Becoming More Productive. Simple Goal: ...
  • Time Management. Simple Goal:
Jun 11, 2024

What is the SMART model in HR? ›

What are SMART goals for HR professionals? SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

How to write SMART goals for performance review? ›

SMART performance goals are those that are: Specific – It includes the who, what, when, where and how. Measurable – A numeric or descriptive measure that defines quantity, quality, cost, etc. Achievable – A goal that is within the employees' control and influence.

How can you measure the success of HR? ›

The success of an HR team can be measured by the level of attrition, absenteeism and engagement. HR is successful when the company has a culture focused on diversity, inclusion, equity, employee wellbeing, employee engagement and career development.

How does HR measure performance? ›

How does HR measure performance? HR typically employs a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. These can include self-assessments, peer reviews, manager evaluations, 360-degree feedback, and tracking of quantitative metrics or KPIs relevant to the employee's role.

How to improve HR effectiveness? ›

5 Keys To Improve HR Effectiveness
  1. Invest In HR Technology. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a fundamental tool for effectively managing high-volume recruitment efforts. ...
  2. Training and Development Programs. ...
  3. Positive Organizational Culture. ...
  4. Consider Reward Programs. ...
  5. Provide Mental Health and Wellness Programs.
Mar 14, 2024

What are the KPI to measure effectiveness of HR function? ›

Some of the most common HR KPI metrics include employee turnover rate, time to hire, cost per hire, absenteeism rate, training and development metrics, employee engagement, time to productivity, diversity and inclusion metrics, employee satisfaction, employee retention, and many more.


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