The cost of a bad hire rarely impacts an organization, however, the value of a great hire can often transform an organization.
As executive recruiters, we hear about the “cost per hire” regularly. It seems like every time HR calls, this topic comes up. However, I would suggest that a far better discussion for HR to have is on the “value per hire.” Having this discussion not with recruiters, but with the CEO is a far more meaningful and beneficial discussion. It not only helps justify that HR contributes revenue and value to the organization, but it also brings HR in as a strategic partner.
This also goes for the CFO of the organization, who should work with HR to help determine a way to calculate the value of a hire.
A few years back I was sitting in the office of the VP HR when the CFO came by and stuck his head in to say hi. During the conversation he commented, “You know, over the last x years we have paid you over $300,000 for your services.” I think he was expecting me to be apologetic. I replied, “That is all? I completely agree with you that I have been grossly underpaid.” I don't think this was the answer he was looking for. I continued, “Considering that you are now a millionaire, and the rest of the executive team I have placed here are also millionaires, and that the company went from $50 million in revenue to $250 million in revenue with a valuation close to $1 billion, I believe the fees I have been paid are justified by the value these people contributed to the company. Wouldn't you agree?”
This isn't about me. It is to demonstrate that even CFO's don't step back and recognize that for some expenses there is often a lot of value created for the company. If you de-humanize this concept, an employee is just another asset. Many often say the most “valuable asset” in the company. So, if employees are assets then shouldn't the CFO be capable of calculating an ROI just like any other asset?.
Would this concept benefit HR as they justify the costs to acquire these assets? Isn't it fair to look at both sides of the equation?
Employees are often described as “human capital” so some sort of return on capital doesn't seem unrealistic. I'm not suggesting that the calculation is an easy one. I'm sure whoever first figured out how to calculate ROI had to tweak the formula more than once before getting it right, but just because it is difficult to calculate doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.
Defining success in the role before you hire a person is a good start. Our Success Factor Methodology recommends developing a job description that defines what great success is in this role. Basically, by the end of the first year what would this person have to have accomplished so that the hiring manager would consider this person not just a good hire, but a great hire. In our book, You're NOT The Person I Hired, we refer to these as, “Success Factors” (for some free examples of Success Factors for different positions CLICK HERE). I believe this is the starting point in determining the value an employee brings to the company. Top talent in your company will hit these. The average will hit these some of the time and below average will rarely hit the success factors. Obviously, for different levels within the company the value added will change.
At least now the company is starting to look at the value a hire brings to the company and can start to assess the ROI.
To learn more about the Success Factor Methodology to help you attract, hire and retain top talent, check out our best selling book, You're NOT The Person I Hired.
You can also begin implementing the Success Factory Methodology with our comprehensive hiring system. CLICK HERE to review.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and feedback.