5 Key Metrics in Local Government Human Resources

You’re confident when it comes to measuring the performance of your employees, but how do you measure the effectiveness of your own human resource strategy? What factors should you consider, and what benchmarks are available to determine the efficiency of your efforts? To help you ensure your human resource efforts are maximizing your resources and working hard to bring the highest quality talent into your community, familiarize yourself with these five, key metrics for measuring success in government human resource management.


1. Total Number of Employees Per Human Resource Staff Member

Surprised to see the size of your department topping the list of key metrics? Don’t be. As local government budgets have shrunk, human resource departments, like many others, are feeling the pinch of budget crunches and understaffing. Without adequate human resource staff to lead key initiatives such as training, education, and effective performance development opportunities, local governments are at a disadvantage.

According to a study conducted by Bloomberg BNA in 2015, the median ratio of human resources staff to total employees was 1.1 full-time equivalent human resource staff members for every 100 employees served. If your ratio is significantly higher, you may want to discuss with your community leadership the benefits of additional staff support.

2. Turnover/Attrition

Turnover rate, or overall attrition, is a key indicator of job satisfaction. Employees may be leaving for higher paying salaries in the private sector, for greater flexibility, due to a perception that their manager isn’t helping them develop their career path, or for a variety of other reasons. According to data released in March 2017 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, in January 2017 the quit rate in state and local government was .8%. Is your community aligned with this national average? If you’re exceeding it, you may have an opportunity to reduce attrition and increase your total number of valued tenured employees.

What’s important about this statistic is analyzing the data on an individual employee level to identify the trends motivating employee departures. If you’re not already, begin conducting exit interviews or surveys to determine why you’re losing talented employees so you can put a plan in place to reduce your attrition rates.

3. Absenteeism

One primary reason for absenteeism is obvious: Employees take time off when they are ill. It could also be an indication that employees are overworked, overstressed, avoiding issues in the office, and possibly even interviewing elsewhere. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the absence rate of local government employees for reasons other than illness or injury was 1.1%.

How does your administration compare? If your data reveals higher than average rates of absenteeism, especially in specific departments, have a conversation with your department leaders to better understand the reasons employees aren’t coming in to the office.

4. Annual Leave

Depending on your union contracts and human resource policies, the longer employees remain with your administration, and/or as they advance to leadership positions, the more vacation and personal time off they likely earn. While these are valuable benefits for recruitment and retention, it can put a strain on staff when key managers are out of the office and unavailable for significant amounts of time each year.

Consider the total number of employees in your administration, and how much annual leave is given at each level. Is your current structure positioned to serve your community well from a recruitment and retention perspective, or are you putting yourself in jeopardy of too much lost time? While you may not be able to impact your annual leave policies based on union contracts, you may want to consider more cross-training to ensure that when key personnel are enjoying their earned vacation, their remaining staff aren’t feeling overworked or over-burdened.

5. Pay Awards

How many employees earned salary increases, beyond cost-of-living, this past year? Aside from contracted negotiations, how many earned pay incentives were earned due to promotions or reaching key milestones? Pay awards are another impactful tool to help with recruitment and retention. By monitoring pay awards given throughout the year, you can identify key positions or departments that may benefit from additional opportunities for earning pay awards.

Are you ready to begin an analysis of your recruitment, hiring, and performance evaluation data? How will you accomplish it? If your only resources include spreadsheets and calculators, consider the benefits of an applicant tracking software (ATS) system, like CivicHR®. Our powerful local government human resource management solution allows you to easily pull such data as job reports, EEO4 and EEO reports, and a variety of requisition, and candidate reports. Click below to learn more about the benefits of an ATS for your local government human resources department, and start streamlining your strategic management efforts.

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Jonathan Wiersma

Jonathan Wiersma

As the General Manager for CivicHR, Jonathan understands the challenges that human resource professionals in local government face when looking to recruit, identify, and hire the best talent in their community, for their community. Jonathan’s primary focus at CivicPlus is on following the trends in the local government human resource landscape, and leading product enhancements for CivicHR to ensure the solution evolves as the needs of local government evolve. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. He has over fifteen years of experience in software research and development, client service, process improvement, product implementations, sales, and marketing.