Are recruitment KPIs hindering diversity efforts?
14th April 2021
A successful in-house recruiter keeps costs down and fills roles quickly.
But what if those same KPIs are actually working against the brands own D&I strategy? What if these measures of ‘success’ are actually hindering efforts to bring more individuals from underrepresented groups into the fold…?
Cost to hire – This is the amount it costs to make a hire (salary, recruitment agency/head-hunter fees, psychometrics tests etc). To keep the cost of hire to a minimum in-house recruitment teams may be under pressure to avoid external agencies and plug roles quickly with cheaper, more junior, high potential individuals.
Time to hire – By the time the hire plan is approved, hiring managers are typically desperate to secure their new hire as quickly as possible, to plug gaps and fulfil an immediate operational need.
Both of these metrics incentivise the in-house recruiter to try and execute the hire plan themselves and focus on saving costs by sourcing active job seekers and candidates from within their own network.
While this makes sense from a P&L perspective (particularly in the current climate), this may actually undermine efforts to bring in individuals from more diverse backgrounds.
The problem with cost to hire is that, by avoiding external recruitment agencies, it’s extremely unlikely the in-house recruitment team will have the resources to actively search the market and headhunt passive candidates.
This means an overreliance on advertising vacancies, which attract only active job seekers (currently 30% of the working population, less in normal times).
And there-in lies the rub. Statically white males are much more likely to apply for advertised roles than individuals from underrepresented groups. Proven job discrimination faced by Black Britons and those of south Asian origin, make them much more sceptical and reluctant to self-select and put themselves forward for roles they might otherwise excel in.
Often, in-house recruiters will try to attract a wider pool of applicants by utilising their own network and those of their hiring mangers by making direct approaches. This does lead to a wider number of applicants but, as the contacts of white, males are statistically also more likely to be white men, this does little to increase the diversity of the pool.
So, the reality is…if you want to attract individuals from underrepresented groups, you need to engage external agencies and head-hunters with the resources to actively map the market and do the legwork to try and get these individuals to put themselves forward in the first place.
The problem with time to hire is it incentivises in-house and external recruiters to adopt a ‘first-past-the-post’ model. It makes total sense that they’ll only have time to look in the most obvious places if they’re being asked for a shortlist of candidates in 2 weeks’ time!
While there’s clearly a commercial need to immediately fill open roles, perhaps HR needs to push back on such timeframes to set a more realistic timeline, that will ultimately increase the chances of sourcing a more diverse candidate pool.
From a diversity perspective, a more deliberate and proactive approach to recruitment requires a strong, strategic senior management and HR partnership – and an authentic desire to do things differently.
While many organisations claim to value diversity and inclusion, their recruitment KPIs suggest otherwise. So what alternatives are there?
Try measuring the quality of the hire. Currently this is something that just 35% of in-house recruiters do. It’s a crucial metric if you want to ensure you have the right person, in the right role, at the right time. But how do you measure it?
The simplest way is for the Learning and Development team to work alongside their HR BPs and in-house recruitment team to look at job performance, and report on the performance of new hires over a defined period. While this KPI may be less favourable from a short-term P&L perspective, it actually speaks more to the impact that hire is likely to have had on the business.
Other quality of hire KPIs include ramp-up time, Employee Lifetime Value (ELV), and pre-hire metrics such as Behavioural Science indicators.
If you want more detail on any of the above, or to discuss any of the issues raised here, do get in touch with myself or the amazingly talented Harriet and Jane at Trapeze HR.
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