March 16, 2023
How to think about recruitment spend and ROI during a downturn
October 18, 2021
Talent Operations (aka Recruitment Operations or RecOps) is the function (team members, activities, and processes) that allows the talent acquisition org to work most efficiently and effectively, meet its hiring goals and objectives, deliver consistent outcomes, and create new value for the business. The goal of Talent Ops is ultimately to create, optimize, and “own” the best possible infrastructure—processes, people, technologies, systems, best practices, and behaviors—to reduce friction wherever it shows up in the recruiting and hiring process, so the rest of the team can do their jobs from within a well-oiled engine. Sourcers can find the best talent, recruiters can create great candidate experiences and be true partners to their hiring managers, coordinators can keep things on schedule, and so on—all because Talent Ops is in the background, tending to that infrastructure.
Given that the Talent Ops role is fundamentally meant to enable sourcers and recruiters to do their jobs better, it makes sense that some Talent Operations KPIs will overlap with those of their ICs. And yet because it’s a specialized role that takes the org’s entire recruiting landscape into account—inefficiency-discovery, resource-optimization, cost savings, identifying opportunities for growth and unique value-creation—some Talent Operations KPIs will be unique to the role. Talent Ops serves as a bridge between recruitment and leadership. And because it’s a deeply data-driven role, it has to ensure ICs are inputting data consistently and accurately in order for that communication to occur.
Granted, for brand-new Ops roles, how you measure your own impact might initially be through feedback, and/or according to whether you’re checking the boxes on your own roadmap as you identify areas for improvement and begin building out project plans. You’ll have (or acquire) recruitment tech that provides a robust set of analytics and reporting so you can make decisions with clarity. You’ll set the team’s KPIs in the context of broader company goals and priorities: what are the organization’s needs; what do its stakeholders want to see? But you’ll also set them according to the team’s particular operational (in)efficiencies: what’s broken, and what needs improvement? Here’s a set of metrics to include in your focus:
Why is this our #1 Talent Operations KPI? Because whether or not the organization is meeting its hiring goals is the ultimate measure of its success. If the company isn’t hitting its growth plan, so many other things can’t happen: product doesn’t get built, revenue doesn’t get generated, the company mission and vision won’t come to fruition. So what has talent acquisition agreed to produce based on the inputs they know to be true? And at the end of every quarter, are they meeting that agreement or not?
Time to fill is the number of days between the approval of a job requisition and the day the offer is accepted by a candidate (not to be confused with time to hire, for which the clock begins the moment a candidate is entered into the ATS). The process has many moving parts: interview coordination, passthrough rates between stages, scorecard submittal, the decision itself. How quickly can you work with the recruiting team to get a job online from the moment Finance gives the green light to start hiring against a role? How speedily can you move candidates through process to make time-to-fill as short as possible? Naturally, this will be a metric you track over time: is your hiring funnel becoming more or less effective?
How many offers is your org extending, and what percentage of those offers is accepted in a given quarter? This metric will align with your recruiters’ KPIs for their functional areas, which should be based on forecasts that come out of your historical hiring data. Look at OAR alongside rejection reasons to continually optimize and ensure you’re closing the candidates you want to hire.
Here’s where Talent Operations KPIs veer from efficiency into the value of your process from talent’s perspective. Are you consistently building a better process for your candidates based on survey data and in-process feedback? Gather and track NPS scores alongside qualitative data: Did candidates feel there were enough points of contact throughout the process? Did they find the interviews engaging and appropriately challenging? Do they have a more positive impression of your brand having gone through process? Candidate experience surveys should be sent to the candidates you reject as well. As with so many of these other metrics, track this survey data over time.
It’s one thing to hit your hiring goals in a given quarter; it’s another thing to ensure the folks you hired are the right ones... and that they’re staying. Quality of hire is probably the most valuable metric when it comes to demonstrating recruiting’s effectiveness and its value as a strategic business function. It’s a metric you’ll determine alongside HR, using some combination of data on time-to-productivity, total productivity, turnover and retention, cultural fit, employee engagement, and performance reviews and metrics. This is a metric that only becomes measurable several months after a new hire steps into their role; and you’ll measure at certain milestones—3 months in, 6 months in, and so on.
This metric can be a bit harder to measure; but it’s critical to determining everything else on this list. How accurate is the data you’re collecting, and how accurately is the team recording actions and outcomes? Is the number of hires your ATS shows the same number of hires that HR shows? Are recruiters entering offer-extends into your ATS as soon as they’re extended (rather than waiting until offers are accepted to do so), so that your OAR is not artificially high? And so on. Data accuracy is absolutely crucial to smooth recruiting operations. Know where you’re not “in integrity,” and have a roadmap for getting to a more accurate view of where you stand.
If you consider your org’s overall investment in recruiting, it's about much more than what the talent acquisition team is doing: it's the amount of hours that everyone is investing to grow the team. If you look at the ratio of hires to the amount of time the org is spending to hire them, is that number getting more or less efficient over time? Company time is precious; and this is a quantitative number you can extract to ensure the whole organization’s time is being spent most effectively as it pertains to talent acquisition.
Of course, the above is hardly a shortlist. There are other KPIs such as recruiting coordinators’ SLAs (are they scheduling interviews in a timely manner?) to keep an eye on; but this list is a great start. Remember that what’s just as important as the data you pull is its context. A 62-day time-to-fill means nothing without the context of the role, the org, the industry. And it means little without knowing, for example, that time-to-fill was 68 days last quarter. What’s the value change over time? What led to that change? As soon as you include time in the equation, you have a story to tell about recruiting. And as soon as you have a story to tell, you have insights into where changes can be made.
Curious to learn more about the fundamentals of Talent Operations? We’ve got more to say about this emerging and exciting function in Gem’s Recruiting Team’s Guide to Talent Operations.
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