HR has a new metric for measuring employee satisfaction

HR leaders have a profound impact on employees’ satisfaction–so much so that a negative interaction could lead to dissatisfied workers leaving the company in short order. 

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This was one of the key takeaways of the HR Tech Conference keynote address by Marcus Buckingham, head of people and performance research at the ADP Research Institute, who debuted findings Thursday from a recent worldwide ADPRI study that measured the quality of service being delivered by the HR function. Researchers gathered the data to create an HR Xperience Score (HRXPS) metric that they hope will become an industry standard for measuring HR performance, quality and services.

HR Tech keynoter Marcus Buckingham

ADPRI’s metric aims to measure and categorize the HR function of a company in three categories: Value-Promoting (the ideal), Value-Performing and Value-Detracting, the category to be avoided.

When employees think HR is Value-Promoting, they are eight times more likely to be a talent brand promoter, that is, someone who would recommend the organization to a friend. However, employees who hold the Value-Detracting belief about HR are 3.4 times more likely to actively search for a new job. Likewise, employees who voluntarily leave are 1.6 times more likely to see HR as Value-Detracting three months prior to leaving their jobs.

See also: Why COVID-19 will drive greater spending on HR systems

“Employees want these five experiences: You give me what I need, you make me feel safe, you value me, you want me to grow and I trust you,” said Buckingham.

So, what does and doesn’t drive HRXPS? Buckingham ticked off serval factors that he said might be counter-intuitive. For instance, the full-time or part-time status of employees, along with their gender, age and education level all have little impact on perceptions of HR service quality, nor does company size. “Tenure builds over time,” he said, “but you don’t feel better about HR the longer you stick around a job.”

Instead, ADPRI found that employees are twice as likely to value their organization when they experience a single point of contact with HR. They are 7.4 times more likely to say HR is “Value-Promoting” when they experience seven interactions with HR compared to none at all. Also, the more HR services that an employee uses, the higher the HRXPS score. Those who use five services are 11 times more likely to say HR is “Value-Promoting.”

By being proactive about creating touchpoints with employees, the HR function can contribute significantly to the organization’s overall talent brand, capacities not held by IT or finance departments, Buckingham said. Employees want to feel valued and recognized. “If you want to destroy a human being, ignore them,” he said. “Humans don’t want HR to vanish, they want them to enter the value chain.”

Areas HR can concentrate on improving include onboarding, performance management and benefits, which were major contributing factors for a positive metric score.

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Employees who experience a formal onboarding process are 8.5 times more likely to say HR is Value-Promoting compared to those who had no formal onboarding, for example. Employees who receive the most frequent attention on their performance are 4.4 times more likely to say HR is Value-Promoting than those who received no performance management. In terms of health benefits, employees who receive and use benefits are 3.5 times more likely to say HR is Value-Promoting than those who do not.

“Pay closest attention to onboarding–gosh, we do this badly,” said Buckingham. “We can do this better.”

For more on the HRXPS and related research, check back next week for an exclusive piece by Marcus Buckingham.

Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus is the former HR Tech Editor for HRE. He has been covering personal and business technology for 25 years and has served as editor and executive editor for a number of financial services, trading technology and employee benefits titles. He is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and lives in the Hudson Valley with his audiologist wife and three adult children.