Tag Archives: books

HR to Employee Ratio

Image from cdc.gov

Believe it or not, this is a hot topic that reoccurs in the HR world on a regular basis. Even scarier is that I’m not sure it is on anyone elses radar.

Take for example a company I recently encountered. They have a ratio of 0.25  (or 1 : 400.) Yikes.

Back when I was taking my first HR Management college course (Thank you University of Richmond and Charlyne Meinhard!) our text book stated that the ideal ratio of HR employees to total employees at the company was 1:100. That was in 2004.

There is now apparently a formula and specifications as to what type of HR employees can count in that ratio. The image, by the way, is a generic equation and not actually for this calculation. 😉 There are also different ideals as to what that ratio should be based on company size (see SHRM chart in same linked article.)

I’ll do you one better. Your industry and the level and amount of technology and/or outsourcing also is a factor. Mike outlines this nicely. Unfortunately I don’t have any handy charts on that – I bet Towers Perrin, Robert Half, the BLS, SHRM, and maybe ADP have that sort of data on hand to create one though. It’s a project I’d love to get my hands on. 🙂 Until that day comes, Ben has a shiny infographic to share.

So, quick and dirty the answer is the typical “it depends” and “you gotta do your homework.” If you want to rely on the 1:100, be prepared to back it up with the C-suite. 😉 With ever increasing technology and the decreasing number of luddites, I would be willing to place a bet that the range is between 1:75 and 1:200. That is a huge range.

By the way, I wrote a best practice for a client that not only covered this topic, but went into the diversification of the HR department (how many need to be generalist vs benefits vs etc.) The information is out there.

What are your thoughts on this hot topic? What ratio (industry/technology/outsourcing/etc) have you found works well and what are the asymptotes that you’d stay away from?

Books still have their place

Photo Credit: La Crosse Public LibraryI’m an avid reader. By avid I mean that not a day goes by that doesn’t see me reading an actual book – and not on a Kindle or Nook either. Some books are slower going than others – right now I’m reading a history book about Europe and it’s theology from 500 BCE to 1300 CE. Fascinating reading that helped me with Jeopardy! the other day.

I currently have two stacks of “to be read” piles – one for pleasure and one for business. One author I have meant to add to my business pile is Malcolm Gladwell after all I heard about him from #SHRM12 (aka SHRM’s Annual Conference in 2012.) I’ve already read two Collins books, so it was a no brainer.

I found an interesting article at Business Insider about Gladwell that concisely listed the main points from his three books. One of his points that apparently is getting a lot of attention is the 10,000 hours concept – that it takes time and effort to master something.

This set off warning bells to me. Why? Because a year before Gladwell came out with Outliers and this concept Bounce came out by Syed. I had read it in February 2011 – again before Gladwell’s book with the same concept came out.

I will check out this book of Gladwell’s, to see if he references the same studies and credits Syed at all. I realize that Syed isn’t as well known or published. I’m withholding further comments until I have seen Gladwell’s Outliers.

I guess the warning bells are that it bothers me when it seems as if one is getting recognition that another may deserve more. 😉

If you are interested in further studies and exploring the concept of what it takes to be “the best” maybe pick up both books. And no, I haven’t been paid by either author to say that. 😉