Over the last few months, as I’ve taken on the role of leading our Talent Acquisition research, the phrase “quality of hire” pops up every day. (The latest buzz phrase.) It is most often referred to as a key metric for a talent acquisition function. I would go one step further and say that quality of hire, and the challenge of improving it, is at the core of a TA Function’s existence.
Quality of hire can be calculated in different ways, and really depends on what a company is trying to measure and what they’ve defined as important. Are you improving quality of hire if retention in the first 12 months of new employees increases? Are you improving quality of hire if time to productivity decreases? Or, is improving quality of hire measured by an organization's ability to fill skills gaps? The answer is, it could be all of the above. But the goal of improving quality of hire does not begin with the metric.
Improving quality of hire is a means to an end, not the end itself. It is not a metric itself, but rather is defined by a collection of metrics. Think of these two very different questions.
- How do you improve quality of hire? Answer: Define a strategy
- How do you measure quality of hire? Answer: Define key metrics
Improving quality of hire starts at the very early stages of defining a talent acquisition strategy. It then quickly bleeds into an organization’s ability to define and message a clear employment brand, while transparently portraying its values and culture. From there, quality of hire is impacted by how well you understand your candidate audiences and different sourcing strategies for each. (Improving quality of candidates is another important goal, which I’ll discuss at a later time.) The selection of an appropriate assessment tool and the company’s ability to then grade or weight candidates against specific criteria lends to an even higher likelihood of a good selection. Finally, improving hiring managers’ interviewing and selection capabilities must also be considered.
Measuring quality of hire, on the other hand, requires a look at a myriad of metrics. Below are examples of four such metrics (highlighted in our Talent Acquisition Factbook)
- Post-hire assessments – Nearly one-half of U.S. companies conduct some type of new hire assessment at 90 days, while just one-quarter conduct assessments at six months and one-third conduct assessments at the one-year anniversary mark.
- Hiring manager satisfaction – Ryder, for example, surveys its hiring managers every 90 days for feedback. The survey is designed to provide leadership with immediate awareness about what is going well and what issues need to be addressed.
- Candidate satisfaction – Progressive organizations are distributing surveys to new hires roughly 30 days after they start. The purpose is to benchmark recruiter performance and also ensure candidates are satisfied with the hiring process.
- New hire turnover rates – Even during today’s tough economic times, our research shows that roughly one in every eight new hires left the job within the first 12 months.
Not one of these alone, however, can measure quality of hire. So, where do we stop measuring quality of hire and realize that we are measuring employee engagement? If your new employees (less than 12 months) are highly engaged, does that mean it is because of the quality of the hire, or because they really like their manager (for example)?
Honestly, I am not trying to confuse you more than what you may already be. My point is that this term “quality of hire” has been used loosely without much attention to what it really means. But I do hope that I got your attention. Throughout this year, we will address this topic more deeply, as well as many other practices in Talent Acquisition.
Also, be sure to join me at our annual IMPACT conference, April 10-13 in sunny St. Petersburg, FL. I will be moderating two panels on two important topics in Talent Acquisition – Employment Brand and Next-Generation Recruiting. I will also be presenting with my colleague, Karen O’Leonard, on the topic of Measuring and Improving Quality of Hire. You can see the entire agenda at http://impact.bersin.com/. If you attend, please be sure to find me and introduce yourself.
One last thing – If you are a talent acquisition practitioner, and are finding success in measuring the quality of hire, I’d love to hear about it. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.