Companies with compelling culture and growth opportunities for employees attract (and retain) top talent. But while 84% of business leaders recognize the importance of improving the workplace human experience, according to a report by Deloitte, only 43% believe their human resources department is ready to drive employee engagement and productivity.
Smart senior leaders empower their HR teams to take the lead — creating initiatives to support their colleagues as they join and rise through the ranks.
Your company may have just created these employee experience initiatives in light of the Great Resignation. Or perhaps, your team already has these programs in place and is looking to track progress. You’ll need to measure key human resources metrics to understand employee sentiment and the health of your organization. See how leaders are measuring success.
1. Days-to-hire for Open Positions
Labor shortages around the country have resulted in a war for talent. When the interview process takes too long, potential candidates might be scooped up by competitors. Time-to-hire, or how long a company takes to fill an open position, is one metric Deborah Murphy tracked when working with the U.S. division of a Japanese medical materials manufacturer. Murphy, a senior HR consultant at human resources solutions provider Flex HR, worked with the company to measure progress on several HR metrics on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
For talent acquisition, Murphy says they tracked the number of days-to-hire with a goal of 90 days. “We tracked each opening with a Gannt chart of where in the process each opening was in the hiring process,” she says.
With this client, Murphy also tracked the percentage of openings that were filled with internal candidates. “We set a goal for 30% [for internal candidates], and we were usually able to achieve that level when counting promotions in place,” Murphy says.
2. Onboarding Metrics — Including Day-one Wins
Working with another client, an automotive remarketing company, Murphy says they focused on process measures with new employees. “We developed measures like day-one wins in which we had everything ready for the new employee on their first day — like payroll, network log-ins, LMS [learning management system] accounts, computer, ID, business cards and all systems ready to go,” she says.
Jenny Case Sabo, vice president of human resources and ESG of Insight Global, says her company also tracks metrics related to the new-hire experience. That includes making sure all tasks on the employee’s onboarding checklist are complete.
“Did they receive all equipment and/or have any issues logging into systems? Did they receive their welcome box? Did they have their first one-on-one with their manager?” she explains. “The pre-boarding/onboarding experience is the first opportunity for us to welcome new hires to the IG family, and the details matter.” Sabo says they send a survey to all new hires around 30 days after their start date. These are two examples of survey questions:
- At Insight Global, our shared values are the backbone of our culture. During your onboarding experience, do you feel that your team/leadership did a good job of living out those shared values? If not, please explain.
- Did you experience any technical issues that hindered you from doing your job in your first week? If you answered yes, please list what those issues were and the status of that issue.
“The results of the survey are then circulated to a cross-functional team that tackles any issues or works with managers/leaders to ensure that we are constantly improving the onboarding process,” Sabo says.
3. Turnover and Attrition Rates
Retention is just as important as talent acquisition. Savvy companies measure the number of people who quit and search for the reasons why. “We obsess over turnover and retention rates: Where are we losing employees? Where are we doing really well at retaining employees?” Sabo says.
Insight Global breaks down turnover rate by department and team, Sabo says, looking for trends when attrition rises. “Also, we dig in on why that team member’s experience wasn’t the best it could be, or what they wanted/needed for the next season of their life,” she says.
Another metric: Turnover rates based on your employees’ years of service. Murphy says turnover rate by seniority enables her team to develop and implement preventative measures. “The results sparked some countermeasures, like new hire check-in interviews after three months,” she says. “We wanted to communicate how much we valued them, but also to pick up on any issues before they resulted in someone regretting their decision.”
According to Murphy, Flex HR also examines the turnover rate of employees brought onboard by different recruiting companies and programs. These metrics result in changes to the recruitment process itself. For example, Murphy says, “We made some decisions to discontinue using recruiters who provided candidates that did not work out.”
4. Survey Results Tied to Wellness and Benefits
So, how important are your company’s benefits? In a PwC survey, 41% of executives said their workers were leaving because of the company’s wages and salaries, while 23% were leaving because of the company’s benefits. That’s why Sunaina Lobo, chief human resources and people officer at Marqeta, says the company tracks the results of their employee engagement surveys to inform their benefits decisions. Results gathered during COVID-19, led to new support systems — including a wellness stipend that employees can use for mental or physical health services.
“We looked at the landscape and our current wellness and benefits package and reflected on our bi-annual employee engagement surveys to get a read on what matters most to employees,” Lobo explains. This information was used to identify areas where the company should be making further investments.
Murphy agrees that it’s important to gauge employee satisfaction, interest, and priorities in benefits offerings. “Flex HR conducted a survey of the client’s employees and used a forced-choice methodology and asked employees to ‘spend’ a hypothetical $100 to determine which benefits they would buy,” she explains. “It teased out the priorities of healthcare — even for Millennial employees — but pointed out opportunities to provide wellness and training and development options.” As a result, Murphy says the company redeployed some investments in retiree medical to increase 401K matches, as well as wellness and development options.
5. Benefits Utilization Rates
However, your benefits program is only effective to the extent that employees participate in it. Murphy says the company placed a high value on benefits participation. “We tracked 401k participation and managed the communication process to maintain participation rates over our threshold of 90%.” In fact, she says, the company usually averaged over 95%.
Murphy also captured medical benefit participation rates in preventive services. She says Flex HR encouraged the use of claims data to measure participation in preventive tests, such as mammograms, and tracked aggregate information. “We ran promotions every year to promote annual physicals, and eventually designed premium discounts for achieving multiple wellness milestones that included an annual physical,” she says.
6. Support for New Parents
Many employees are parents, and supportive parental leave policies can play a major role in new-parent employee experiences. Sabo says her company measures the turnover rate among new parents to assess the performance of parental leave programs.
Lobo’s team also surveys employees about parental leave to inform its workplace policies. “For example, in the survey we conducted in June 2021, we saw that 52% of Marqetans found parental leave to be the most important leave policy to them,” she explains. As a result, the company decided to add four additional weeks to its paid policy, and then moved to implement the change by November 2021. “We also added Carrot, a family planning and fertility service benefit, to our program to further invest in our family benefits,” she says.
7. Workplace Safety Sentiment and Incident Reports
Employee safety should be a concern for everyone, especially in hazardous work environments. Companies should count the number of accidents and look for ways to decrease incidents. Flex HR uses data on incidents to unearth “hotspots,” or rooms experiencing higher incident rates, and on injury types to drive priorities for annual safety training plans.
How safe your team feels on a daily basis should also be measured. “Employees’ perceptions of the value placed on safety is a key element of employee and industrial relations measures,” says Murphy. “We included questions related to safety on our annual employee engagement/satisfaction survey.”
By watching year-over-year trends, Murphy says they noticed a downturn in safety-related questions on the survey. “This prompted immediate attention, with review by the Safety Committee, and the design of communication campaigns and promotions like Safety Month, which included training and prize raffles,” she says.
8. Employee Development Metrics
If you want loyal employees, you need to create opportunities for them to grow and develop within the organization. “We measured the number of meetings the HR leader had with managers in the facility each week, in order to keep focus on employee problems solving and development plans,” Murphy says.
These are also some of the metrics used by Tracy Curry, director of human resources at software company Fearless. “We collect data related to coaching, talent development, and performance management, to better understand how we create growth and opportunity for our team members,” she says.
9. Employee Engagement Survey Results
If you really want to know what type of culture you have, ask your employees. Fearless does just that through its Organizational Strength Measure survey, which measures engagement and team member experience around community, culture and inclusion.
“The survey is conducted every 6 months with pulse surveys, which are typically specific and intentional to measure engagement and experiences related to changes, norms or current/relevant topics,” Curry explains.
Over at Insight Global, Sabo says the company used the Great Place to Work Survey in past years. “It has led to some great initiatives, such as the inception of our Diversity Council, but in 2021, we embarked upon a cultural exploration using a tool from Human Synergistics,” Sabo says.
The process entailed interviews, focus groups, and a comprehensive culture survey (which had an 85% response rate in 2021).
“This is where we gauge whether we are living out our shared values, our commitment to DEI and the effectiveness of our cultural norms,” Sabo says. “For example, how safe do employees feel to raise issues or provide constructive feedback to their leader?”
10. Engagement Data for Different Employee Demographics
Alex D. Tremble, chief culture officer at American Conservation Experience (ACE), has recently incorporated the use of the Culture Amp tool into the company’s annual staff survey. “This tool allowed us to cross-reference 14 culture-related factors…with our organization’s employee demographic data,” he says.
He says ACE has received very positive marks on items such as the following:
- 86% agreed with the statement: I am happy that ACE is putting more emphasis/resources towards diversity, equity and inclusion.
- 76% agreed with the statement: I am proud to work at/with ACE.
- 89% agreed with the statement: I understand how my work contributes to our mission.
However, Tremble says the surveys have also revealed room for improvement and ACE has developed a plan to intentionally raise item scores in these areas:
- 48% agreed with the statement: Social activities that ACE hosted were accessible to me. (Note: This was found to be due to the significant increase in remote working during the pandemic.)
- 68% agreed with the statement: I can voice a contrary opinion without fear of negative consequences.
- 50% agreed with the statement: My job performance is evaluated fairly and in a timely manner.
Culture-related measurements include engagement, belonging, compensation and sense of purpose. Tremble says this cross-reference allows ACE to identify disparities among staff based on demographics — including age, gender, race, ability and leadership level — and develop programs to increase inclusivity.
What HR metrics does your organization measure? Reply to share.