Turning Recruitment from Cost Center to Revenue Center

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When considering the most important metrics for your recruiting team, most of us will want to place a priority on the KPIs that show the revenue saved by the company in order to demonstrate value. As recruiting leaders, we need to find ways to establish our value that equates in not just expenses but cost savings as well as missed revenue or revenue generated opportunities.

Recruiting Dashboards and Data

Recruiting dashboards can be a great way to see the performance across the board not only by region or geography, but for individual performers as well. Dashboards can provide a quick snapshot of the time spent focused on specific recruiting processes by segment and activities. This includes time spent:

  • Sourcing
  • Reviewing candidates
  • Conducting initial candidate screenings
  • Scheduling interviews
  • Gathering interview or hiring manager feedback
  • Onboarding


When analyzing this data, the focus is on scaling and streamlining the process by measuring the service and value that the recruiting function brings to the table.

While dashboards and reporting are a great way to display data and view trends, it’s important to remember that this data should help improve processes and drive efficiency. Recruiting is challenging to scale. The best way of doing so happens to be by using recruiting tools and technologies or additional headcount to target candidates and create volume that quickly drives them into your recruiting and hiring funnels. By simultaneously monitoring recruiting metrics like time to fill, you can uncover trends that show how an investment in recruiting can produce results that can make a large impact on the revenue of the company.

In a recent podcast on Workology, I spoke with Jason Hopkins, the Director of Talent Acquisition and Internal Marketing at Emerus Holdings. Jason’s work that focuses on lost productivity is the one metric that stands out to help position recruiting and HR as a revenue center instead of a cost center. Meaning that you can place a number on the value of an inefficient process. If the recruiting team cuts time to fill by one day for each position when a company does 2,500 hires per year with a lost productivity metric of $150 a day could lead to $375,000 in revenue that recruiting has provided the company.

By tying a dollar amount to lost productivity when a position is left unfilled – even for a day – you can demonstrate to leadership the broader impact of recruiting while also making a great business case for how a new technology or process change can decrease lost productivity by shortening time to fill.

Taking Recruiting From Cost Center to Revenue Center

This small change in presentation and positioning changes recruiting from a cost center to a revenue center allows your department to seek investment for different enhancements and new technologies. You and your team can use forecast and recruiting metrics forecasts to demonstrate how the adoption of a process change or technology can impact the larger bottom-line, and by offering up different forecasting models from conservative to aggressive.

It’s extremely challenging to measure and communicate the value that recruiting brings. As HR grew in complexity, it became more involved in business forecasting and establishing ROI that could be directly tied to future and current business success. HR pros are now strategic business partners involved in the success of organizations by evaluating – not just hiring, firing and filling traditional advisory roles. We are now challenged with “proving” the value of what often is not measurable, pivoting recruiting from a cost center to a revenue center. Recruiting dashboards and metrics are a great first step to moving the conversation forward in the broader organization around the value that recruiting brings.

Company leaders value transparency and more and more are understanding that talent acquisition is key not only to company productivity, but also to employer brand and culture. McKinsey and Company’s recent CEO study indicates that talent is a top priority for CEOs in 2018. The report, which polled newly promoted CEOs about what they wished they had done when they first assumed the role, found that the majority wished they had focused more on talent within the organization. Recruiting dashboards and metrics are a great way to partner with your CEO on this initiative.

Your executive stakeholders who have an eye on the bottom line want to see results based on data. While previously many human resource operations have been focused on employer brand, candidate experience, and other areas of HR that are difficult to tie to revenue, assigning value to things like days of lost productivity due to a poor hire, or a decrease in time to fill impacting that same metric is the key to being able to show these results. Having analytics for recruiting initiatives that drive your primary goals and using that data to demonstrate preventing lost revenue can be part of what drives cultural, strategic, and process decisions for your organization, moving HR from cost center to revenue center.

Topics: Recruiting Metrics

Updated October 29, 2018