Using KPIs to measure success and impact

by Danique Geskus | Nov 8, 2023


Real-time insight into employee engagement

In the dynamic world of Human Resources (HR), it is vital for HR professionals to have the right tools and measurements to determine success, improve processes and add value to both the organization and its employees. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) fulfill this crucial role as measurable and quantifiable performance indicators.

In this comprehensive blog, we dive deep into the world of KPIs for HR professionals, explaining the essence of KPIs, the reasons why they are vital for HR professionals, exploring numerous examples of relevant KPIs, and how these KPIs can help HR teams achieve their goals.


What are KPIs?

KPIs, are measurable and quantifiable metrics used to evaluate the progress and success of organizations or specific activities. In the HR context, KPIs focus on assessing and improving HR-related processes and results. They provide objective measures to determine how effective HR activities are and act as a compass for data-driven decision making.

KPIs can cover various HR areas, such as recruitment and selection, talent development, performance management, retention policies, diversity initiatives and more. These indicators help HR professionals measure what is going well, where improvement is needed and how to contribute more effectively to organizational goals.


Why are KPIs important?

  1. Objective Measurements: KPIs provide objective metrics for HR processes and performance. They enable HR professionals to accurately determine the impact of their efforts and assess whether they are meeting predetermined goals and standards. This allows HR teams to focus on actual performance rather than subjective assessments.
  2. Data-informed Decision Making: Collecting and analyzing data through KPIs enables HR teams to make decisions based on factual information. This improves the efficiency and effectiveness of HR operations, from recruitment and onboarding to talent development and performance management.
  3. Continuous Improvement: KPIs help HR teams identify areas where performance can be improved. By measuring results and identifying weaknesses, HR professionals can optimize processes and continually adapt to changing needs and market conditions.
  4. Purposeful Work: KPIs allow HR professionals to set specific goals and priorities. They serve as measurable benchmarks that guide HR initiatives and strategies to support organizational goals.
  5. Measurable Results: The use of KPIs allows the results of HR activities to be measured and reported to senior management and stakeholders. This promotes transparency and accountability within the organization.


Interesting examples of KPIs

Now let’s take a closer look at specific examples of performance indicators that HR professionals often use to measure performance and turn them into KPIs.

  1. Time-to-fill (TTF).

TTF measures the time it takes to fill an open position from the time the position is posted to the time a candidate is hired. A shorter TTF may indicate efficient recruitment processes and faster integration of new employees.

  1. Employee turnover rate

This KPI calculates the percentage of employees who left the company during a given period. Low turnover may indicate strong retention policies and employee satisfaction.

  1. Employee engagement score

This KPI measures employee engagement and can be determined through surveys and feedback. Higher engagement is often linked to higher productivity and employee satisfaction.

  1. Training effectiveness ratio

This KPI evaluates the effectiveness of training programs by comparing employee performance and behavior before and after training. An increase in this ratio may indicate successful training initiatives.

  1. HR expenses per employee

This KPI calculates how much the organization spends on average on HR-related costs per employee. This helps with cost management and budget planning.

  1. Performance appraisal completion rate

This KPI measures how many employees completed their performance reviews within the specified time frame. A high completion rate may indicate effective communication between employees and managers.

  1. Diversity and inclusion index

This index measures the level of diversity and inclusion within the organization, often based on criteria such as gender, ethnicity and age. It highlights efforts to promote a diverse and inclusive work environment.

  1. Cost per hire

Cost per Hire calculates the average cost associated with hiring a new employee, including recruitment costs, advertising costs and onboarding costs. It helps organizations evaluate the efficiency of their recruitment process and control costs.


Smart formulate goals with examples

To successfully use KPIs, it is essential to establish KPIs that are clear, measurable and relevant to your organization. The SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, Time-bound) provides a convenient framework for formulating KPIs that have real impact. Let’s explore the steps for creating an effective KPI, using a sample KPI.

1. Specific:

A KPI must be clear and specific so that there is no room for interpretation. Ask yourself, “What do we want to measure and why?”

Example KPI: Increase the number of new employees who complete a full onboarding within 30 days of hire.


2. Measurable

A KPI must be measurable, meaning you must have concrete criteria and a measurement method to evaluate your progress

Sample KPI: Increase the percentage of new employees who complete onboarding from 70% to 90% within 30 days of hire.


3. Acceptable

A KPI must be acceptable to all stakeholders, and there must be agreement on its relevance and feasibility.

Sample KPI: Consult with HR teams and managers to ensure consensus on the value of this KPI to the organization.


4. Realistic

A KPI must be achievable, based on available resources and the organization’s current situation.

Sample KPI: Evaluate whether current onboarding processes have sufficient resources and support to achieve the desired increase.


5. Time-based

A KPI should have a clear time limit to measure and manage progress. This helps maintain focus and keep efforts on track.

Sample KPI: Increase the percentage of new employees who complete onboarding within 30 days of hire within the next year.


By following the SMART framework, HR professionals can develop KPIs that are not only clear and measurable, but also focused on concrete goals and time-bound outcomes. This allows for effective and efficient measurement and improvement of performance, while serving as a compass to keep HR activities aligned with organizational goals.


Optimize your KPI management with Learned

Learned provides a powerful platform for HR professionals to manage for various KPIs. These KPIs are an integral part of performance reviews and measuring engagement, for example. With advanced reporting, HR teams can improve KPI-focused decision-making and proactively respond to change. Moreover, the integration of 360° feedback enables a holistic view of performance and KPI results in the context of employee evaluations.

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