When evaluating HR department staffing levels a common method divides the total number of agency employees by the number of staff in the HR department. This provides a ratio, i.e. 1/175. When compared to similar sized organizations in the same industry the calculation is used as a benchmark for HR staffing levels. This can be very misleading and should be used with caution however. Without adjusting for variations in growth and turnover rates, investment in HRIS, experience level of HR staff, and other factors, averages don't tell you as much as we may think. For example, HR work volume is significantly affected by organizational growth and/or employee turnover. Both factors require significant HR participation either in recruitment, orientation, on-boarding etc., and/or exit interviews, benefits termination, and severance. A 10% annual growth or turnover rate vs. 15% is a 50% difference in work volume in these labor intense HR duties. The solution, use this ratio as an internal bench mark, and include in your department’s strategic plan continuous year over year improvement in your department’s productivity (ratio).
To reduce the cost of training without losing its effectiveness consider pre-testing all potential training participants prior the scheduled date of training. The test should measure the skills/knowledge intended as outcomes of the training. If a trainee scores above the level considered acceptable, then the training should be voluntary for them. You will save countless man-hours by reducing the number of participants sitting through training for skills they already have.
Also, measure the success of your training programs by quantifying the outcomes you seek. Most training programs include a post-training evaluation, but these tend to measure things like room accommodations, trainer enthusiasm, and if attendees enjoyed their bran muffin. Instead training program success should be determined by outcomes. For example, successful harassment awareness programs should result in a measurable decline in harassment related incidents, complaints and litigation and/or improved employee attitudes and behaviors determined by employee attitudinal surveys. Supervisory skills training success should be measured by changes that occur following the training, i.e. improved employee morale, increased retention, fewer conflicts, increased productivity or reduced costs. Without measurable results from training, the only things for sure are that the program reduced productivity and increased costs.