HR to Employee Ratio-more than just a number

Sometimes you have to stop and wonder where common sense has gone. Companies are expecting more from their HR team than ever before, but according to data gathered by XpertHR, companies are increasing the number of employees relative to the number of HR professionals. This leads to a number of trickle-down effects, but the major one is forcing those human resources employees into a more administrative function. There’s no hands-on, friendly interaction. There’s no face-to-face discussion of what the company has to offer to you as an individual.

No, it’s just an ever-increasing spiral in an attempt to decrease costs and increase efficiency. While you’ll never meet someone who’s for increasing costs and lowering efficiency, that does come with its own baggage. Recent information from Gallup puts employee disengagement higher than 25%. I know that figure is determined by a number of factors, but if there’s one thing we can push for as HR professionals, it’s the desire for companies to treat their staff like people. They aren’t machines that run endlessly. They will lose motivation over time. They will resent being treated like just another number.

So do something about it.

If you work for a company with a ratio that stifles your ability to impact the organization, try to find out what it would take to get that lower. It may not be possible overnight, but maybe there are some more administrative tasks that can be handed off to an admin so you can focus on more strategic, high-impact HR practices.

I can still remember talking with a local HR pro at a SHRM chapter meeting about how they embed HR generalists into business units to keep the HR team close to the action. For more on this topic, check out Employee to HR Ratio (with a neat infographic!).

So, what’s the ratio in your organization? Is it too much, too little, or just right? 

What is the ideal employee to HR ratio? How many employees do you need before it’s time to hire an HR person? Both of those are great questions, and they are fairly common, too. I was looking through the TribeHR blog the other day and saw this really cool infographic that explains that information and more. As an HR department of one, I can completely relate to some of this stuff! I’d be curious to hear what some of you might think about the correct staff to HR ratio or how that ratio might impact an organization (for better or worse). what is the ratio of hr people to employees?Here’s more info on how the focus on an HR to employee ratio has gotten out of control.

Formula for figuring out how many HR pros it takes to screw in a lightbulb. Flickr-halfbyte

Formula for figuring out how many HR pros it takes to screw in a lightbulb. Flickr-halfbyte

HR is governed by laws and regulations much of the time. However, we also have some nifty formulas that help us do our jobs on a daily basis. Below you will find some interesting resources that should help you with any questions you have. Make sure you subscribe for free updates so that you never miss a hot news item or funny article.

HR Metrics

While human resources has traditionally been more of a “soft” profession, in recent years we’ve begun to learn how to measure our impact on an organization through various formulas. We can study factors like cost per hire, time to fill, employee satisfaction, etc., but those really are just scratching the surface and not digging into the available data. Learn how to make your HR metrics rock.

We should be looking for more useful, practical types of knowledge like HR to staff ratio (i.e. how many HR professionals do you need per employee?), employee turnover cost calculator (i.e. how much does it cost every time an employee decides to leave your organization?), and other hiring, turnover, and absence calculators.

Another great resource is this list of 20 common metrics.

A nicely done formula or equation is pleasant to look at.  The ability to take rows and rows of endless numbers and force them into a format that is easy on the eyes is to be respected.  Heck, even a chart can be interesting if you pick the right one (like this). :-)

Now for the not so serious part of this post…

Know Your Limits

I have spent a good bit of time in the past week or two developing derivatives of calculus formulae that express HR concepts (geek alert).  My favorite so far involves limits.  The limit formula has boundless possibilities for application, and coming up with new concepts is a tricky, yet interesting, way to spend some time brainstorming.

It’s been quite a few years since I had a calculus class, so anyone that can say this better can feel free to chime in.  Limits basically say that as value x approaches a predetermined point, two dissimilar items become equal.  The example my calculus teacher always used was “As the engineer’s grade approaches zero, an engineering degree becomes a business degree.”  In simpler terms, the lower the engineer’s grade, the more likely he/she is to become a business major (obviously he was an engineering fan :-)).  Another easy one would be “As your wallet approaches full, dinner becomes a steak.”

HR Applications

Yeah, I haven’t really figured out a real world application for this yet, but I do think it sounds promising and it could be a fun brain-stretcher to think up a few ideas for it.

Do you have a favorite formula or something else you’d like to know? Tell me in the comments below!