How to Use Talent Acquisition Success Metrics to Demonstrate Value to the Business

The need for HR’s expertise, insight and leadership has never been greater. Whether seeking advice on how to manage a remote workforce during a pandemic or address persistent DEI challenges head on, CEOs are increasingly reaching out to HR at a level not previously seen.

We can all agree that the ability to attract, engage, reskill and retain talent is vital to business growth as organizations emerge from the pandemic right along with us as individuals. However, data-driven talent acquisition teams are in a unique position to capitalize on the elevated role of HR.

The ability to demonstrate TA’s value to the organization while rethinking the strategies, tools and platforms being used to meet the demands of our new world of work is key, but how are teams assessing and measuring what matters most in this regard?

One of the most effective ways to demonstrate value is by aligning metrics to talent acquisition strategy, operations and tactical execution. It’s an approach that will help your team develop a complete and accurate picture of its progress throughout the year. You may find that some metrics overlap (that’s okay!) or that you may need to uncover ways to actually gather them (that’s okay too!). Ultimately by bringing together all available metrics and data points across these areas, you’ll be able to create a comprehensive and compelling picture of what’s working and what needs to be improved.

To help you get started, here are three sample measures that will inspire your team to think big when it comes to measuring TA success and tying it back to the business.

#1: Showcase the strategic value that talent acquisition provides in supporting critical business initiatives.

Showcasing talent acquisition’s strategic value requires identifying the measures that align with goals and priorities identified not just for talent acquisition but for the business itself. The latter is of particular importance because documenting exactly how TA helps move the business forward is what will get—and keep—the attention of CEOs and CFOs.

Perhaps your company is about to embark on a product launch that was previously on hold due to the pandemic, which translates into an immediate need for experienced marketing pros and sales executives. You can illustrate how talent acquisition secured the talent required to complete all onboarding and training programs and keep the launch on track by capturing metrics such as the percentage of positions filled and by when.

#2: Demonstrate continual improvements made to recruiting processes and connect the efforts to gains in productivity.

The efficiency of processes and the productivity of workers are essential to business growth and innovation. For talent acquisition, improving efficiency and productivity often involves uncovering hiring process bottlenecks that, if not identified and addressed, impede operational excellence. Even if you don’t have a team member who is dedicated to evaluating and fine-tuning recruiting operations on a continual basis, you can start with a close examination of your talent platform’s funnel throughput metrics to quickly uncover your biggest hiring process challenges.

More specifically, a funnel throughput analysis will show you how many average days candidates spend in each funnel status. Statuses displaying overly-high averages can be flagged for further assessment to clearly understand what’s contributing to the situation and how to improve it. One of the most common culprits to check for is how long it takes recruiters to move candidates forward in the interview process—a step that hinges on hiring manager feedback. Should delayed hiring manager feedback be identified as the underlying issue, talent acquisition can take corrective steps such as implementing automated feedback reminders that are triggered when the deadline is missed. Over time, you’ll be able to show how small, but impactful, changes are reducing the average number of days candidates spend in this phase of the funnel and driving an increase in productivity that leads to much greater hiring efficiency at an organizational level. How GR8 is that?!

#3: Track the team’s optimization of tactical execution and how that leads to better performance operationally and strategically.

Often, metrics associated with tactical execution, such as career website visits or recruitment marketing email open rates, are criticized as “vanity” metrics because they fail to provide meaningful insights that can be correlated to performance. On the other hand, tracking these metrics can further your understanding of how all aspects of talent acquisition strategy and operations come together to realize success.

Here’s a relatable example. Consider the impact that a strong talent pipeline has on short- and long-term recruiting success. Most organizations use a Talent CRM to nurture and engage talent pool leads until they can be converted to applicants. Recruiters can take advantage of a broad range of Talent CRM tactical execution metrics—such as the percentage of leads that are assessed as qualified, interested and available or the percentage of leads converted to hires—in order to determine the effectiveness of their talent pipelining efforts and the role those efforts play in both improving candidate quality (strategy) and faster hiring (operations) and ideally reducing ad spend too if and when the growing talent pool becomes a top source of hire.

Of course, your final step in a holistic approach to measurement is to determine what your collective metrics reveal about the team’s outcomes across strategy, operations and tactics. Part of this assessment may involve developing several hypotheses that can then be tested for accuracy against available metrics and data points. But you should also view your metrics as an ideal opportunity to drive discussions with stakeholders throughout the company as part of your efforts to keep improving talent and business decisions.