Using HR Help Desk Statistics to Determine HR Staff Requirements
The following post first appeared in 2015.
Much has been written about finding the optimum ratio of HR staff to employee size. A SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Study has published a suggested ratio based purely on employee count:
The formula to calculate the ratio would be:
(HR Staff Count / Employee Count) x 100
For instance, a 1500 employee company with 10 HR personnel would have a ratio of 0.67, somewhat below the supposed target staff according to the table above (10/1500 * 100 = .67). In theory, based on the chart, 12 HR personnel would be optimal to manage 1500 employees.
SHRM suggests that not all HR staff should be factored into the count. Generally it is recommended to only include HR professionals who work as generalists, and those in areas such as benefits, compensation, labor relations and organizational effectiveness. They suggest that payroll and other specialized roles should not be included in the count.
Obviously this is an imperfect method and is loaded with multiple potential downsides. It does not take into consideration factors such as your industry, business specific circumstances, and the skill/experience of each individual HR worker. It also opens up the door to possible unsubstantiated staff cuts if your ratio is on the high side.
However, at the very least, this method to determine HR staff requirements is a good starting point — a frame of reference as you grapple with those staff sizes. This is where HR analytics takes a front seat in the process. LBi HR Help Desk tracks virtually all interactions between HR and employee, from handling basic questions, to leave requests, to dispute resolution, and everything in between. Sorted and categorized by the company’s organizational structure and HR case category, HR Help Desk analytics will tell management exactly who was doing what and when and what level of effort was expended.
With this information in hand, management can accurately determine where HR is properly staffed and where there may be shortages or overages. For example, the great majority of benefits questions may relate to insurance coverage (e.g., ACA), with far fewer PTO or FMLA requests. The general staffing level in Benefits may be appropriate to the group, but the specialist mix might be off based on the actual workload.
HR Help Desk can also highlight peak periods where the FTE count may need to be temporarily adjusted. It can point out case types that are taking longer than anticipated, and give insight as to the reason for the delay.
The bottom line: use every quality tool at your fingertips to accurately determine HR head count. But take particular advantage of powerful HR analytics in your HR Help Desk to fully understand how that workforce is being utilized in order to make the most intelligent decisions regarding FTE levels. It’s less about having 10, 50, or 100 HR personnel on staff and more about whether you have the right 10, 50, or 100 team members.