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A to Z Guide for Aligning Immigration and People Operations

Bridge Team Member

Aligning Immigration and HR through Metrics: A KPI Glossary

It can often feel like your core People Ops functions are separate from your company’s immigration program, no matter how young or mature that program may be. Yet, a holistic approach to People Ops should include how your business attracts, onboards, and retains international employees. 

When managing the employee journey, increasing employee value, and analyzing metrics, it’s helpful to review your organization’s immigration program separately from the whole. Why? Because a more efficient and successful immigration program can increase diversity, improve company culture, and promote business growth. Meanwhile, a costly and inefficient program can get in the way of your broader organizational goals. 

In terms of sifting immigration metrics from People analytics, you don’t have to look far to figure out what to track and measure. Many human resources key performance indicators (KPIs) can be repurposed for international employees, specifically. 


A-to-Z KPI Glossary

Take a look at how you can use HR KPIs and People analytics along with some immigration-specific metrics to assess your organization’s international employees’ experience, talent management, and operational efficiency. 

You’ll find a list of immigration program metrics and how to measure the success of a Talent/HR function.


Absenteeism Rate: Divide the number of unexcused absences by the total number of absences (including approved sick and vacation days), then multiply by 100. Another way to track absenteeism is to divide the workdays missed by the total workdays scheduled. A pattern of absenteeism with international employees can indicate low motivation and engagement. International employees with more unapproved absences are less productive, which may indicate issues with your recruiting process. 


Applicants Per Opening: International candidates per job opening may reflect a business’s popularity, job demand, and candidate supply. It also suggests a job description is too broad if many of the international candidates aren’t eligible or suitable.


Application Completion Rate: A low application completion rate can indicate problems with online recruiting systems, such as a troublesome process, web browser incompatibility, or poor user experience. 


Average First Response Time: This metric indicates how long it takes your Peoples team to send the first reply to an international candidate. The average first response time can be an important factor in measuring your international candidates’ legal accessibility during the visa application process. 


Average Response Time: Calculate the average time it takes your Peoples team or immigration provider to respond to an international employee’s message. The average response time is another way to measure legal accessibility within your immigration program. You can compare response times over weeks, months, or quarters to measure your immigration vendor’s performance.


Average Resolution Time: Calculate the average time it takes your Peoples team and immigration provider to resolve an employee inquiry. This metric can indicate levels of knowledge, dedication, staffing, and technological capabilities. You may also find that a quicker resolution time, in terms of immigration applications or sponsorship, is a benefit you can offer international employees. 


Average Time to File: Calculate the average time it takes for your People team and immigration provider to file a case after its initiation. This metric can indicate level of expertise, operational efficiency, self-service, legal accessibility and other technological capabilities. You might also consider different case types will require different levels of effort and time.


Billable Hours Per Employee: This metric can help determine your costs and efficiency concerning international employees. Divide the total billable hours by the total number of hours worked. You can apply this metric to factor how expensive non-core work or vacant positions can be for your company.


Candidate Experience: It helps to measure how your international employees perceive your recruitment and onboarding process. International candidates go through difficult emotional and literal journeys. Their perspective can demonstrate the highs and lows of your international recruitment and hiring process. One way to measure this is through a candidate experience survey using a Net Promoter Score. 


Candidate Job Satisfaction: Track international employees’ job satisfaction to measure whether the expectations recruiters and hiring managers set during the process match the employee’s reality. Low satisfaction can indicate a problem with job descriptions or the recruiting process itself. 


Case Approval Rate: Track how many immigration applications are approved vs. the total applications you submitted in a given period. A low case approval rate indicates problems with your immigration program, which could stem from inconsistent job descriptions, focusing on the wrong recruitment channels, or a lack of assistance from an experienced immigration vendor. 


Case Denial Rate: Calculate how many immigration applications are denied compared to the total applications submitted during a given period. A high case denial rate, similar to a low case approval rate, indicates your business has room to improve your immigration program. 


Case Processing Time: Processing times for immigration applications largely depend on federal agencies. However, an advanced immigration program takes steps to reduce delays, such as requests for evidence (RFEs). An unnecessarily long case processing time indicates operational deficiencies and can lead to top talent choosing other companies. 


Cost of Getting to Optimum Productivity Level: The total cost of getting an international employee up to speed, including onboarding time and costs, training costs, salaries of supervisors and coworkers involving in training, a percentage of the employee’s salary, and more. 


Cost of HR Per Employee: Divide the total human resources or People teams’ salaries and benefits by the number of employees. This metric shows how much you pay for recruiting, onboarding, and managing. You also can calculate this metric per international employee to measure the cost of your immigration program.


Cost Per Hire: Divide the total costs invested in hiring by the number of new external hires. Total recruitment costs include advertising, agency fees, candidate expenses, new hire training, time spent by recruiters, time spent by managers, new hire onboarding time, lost productivity, relocation costs, sponsorship fees, and other internal and external costs. This metric can help assess the strengths and weaknesses of your immigration program and vendor.


Employee Engagement: This metric is challenging because it’s a “soft” outcome. Your team wants to look at employees’ emotional attachment to the organization. More engaged employees tend to be happier with their position and perform better. You can attempt to measure engagement through surveys or polls. However, the flaws of this metric are that participation is rarely 100%, and self-reporting isn’t always accurate. As part of an immigration program, you can track international employees’ engagement, even creating surveys specifically for them. 


Employee Resilience: Gather key indicators through polls and surveys focused on international employees’ commitment to the company, feelings about their workload and scope, opportunities for work/life balance, etc. More resilient employers are likely to stay with the company longer. For international employees, resilience can speak to the strength of your immigration program in choosing suitable candidates and meeting their long-term expectations. 


Employee Turnover Rate: The purpose of this metric is to see when and where your organization might lose talent it’d prefer to keep. Divide the number of employees who quit by the organization’s average number of employees in a given period and multiply by 100. Or you can calculate this metric using international employees only to compare if your immigration program has opportunities for improvement. Most organizations measure annually, quarterly, monthly, or by pay period. In conjunction with performance metrics, you can track the attrition of low and high performers. Other options are to look at turnover by department or manager.


First-Year Attrition (Candidate Retention Rate or Early Turnover): It helps organizations track employees who leave within the first 12 months because these employees typically cost the business money. While a low rate of first-year attrition can indicate hiring success, a high rate of first-year attrition, particularly unmanaged attrition (the employee chooses to leave), may suggest poor employee performance or a bad fit. This metric can be crucial in gaining visibility into your immigration program. International employees who leave quickly may feel there’s no long-term career path with the company, the position didn’t meet their expectations, or the company doesn’t care about them.


Hiring Manager Satisfaction: Through polls and surveys, track hiring managers’ satisfaction with new hires to determine whether candidates perform well and fit their teams. Manager satisfaction is an indication of a successful hire. Also, it’s important to get stakeholder input about your immigration program. Hiring manager satisfaction gives managers a way to voice their opinion about international employees’ performance and fit.


Job Satisfaction Rate: Divide the number of employees who report job satisfaction by the total number of employees. It’s important to compare this metric against a baseline to determine if employees are more or less satisfied over time. For international employees, this metric can indicate whether they feel the company supports them and offers competitive salaries and benefits. 


Net Promoter Score: NPS is a number representing the willingness of a person to recommend a business to others. The higher the number, the higher the client’s (or employee’s) satisfaction. Divide NPS scores into three groups: 9-10 scores are promoters, 7-8 are neutral, and 0-6 are detractors. Your percentage of promoters minus your percentage of detractors is your NPS. You can consider sending a pulse survey for international employees about your immigration vendor 


Offer Acceptance Rate: Compare the number of candidates who accept an offer to the number who receive an offer. For international employees, a low acceptance rate can indicate delays with the immigration process, issues with compensation and benefits packages, or a lack of long-term employee sponsorship or lack of training for hiring managers.  


Percent of Open Positions: You can measure the percentage of open positions in a department compared to the total number of open positions for the entire organization. Or you can compare the number of open positions compared to the total positions in the company. A high percentage of open positions may indicate high demand or low labor market supply. A fluctuating rate also can signal trends or seasonable changes. International candidates tend to have higher percentages in STEM talent pools.


Profit Per FTE: Divide your organization’s total profit by the number of full-time equivalent employees—or international employees. A high profit per employee can be a metric of a business’s financial health. 


Ratio of HR Business Partners Per Employee: Divide the number of HR business partners by the number of full-time equivalent employees, then multiply by 100.  The “right” ratio depends on your business’s goals in terms of the level of support and services you want to offer international candidates.  


Ratio of HR Professionals to Employees: This metric calculates your People team’s cost efficiency. Divide the number of full-time equivalent People team members by the number of full-time equivalent employees, then multiply by 100. Typically, an optimized program can do more with fewer HR professionals. Although SHRM has also estimates around best practices.


Recruitment Funnel Effectiveness (Selection Rate): The recruitment funnel starts with sourcing candidates and ends with signed employment agreements. Keep in mind, this funnel is not static, and you may change the steps and how you measure them over time. One way to review its effectiveness is through the selection rate, also called the yield rate. Divide the total number of candidates who moved to the next stage by the total number of candidates in the previous stage, then multiply by 100. Your People team can use selection rates to review various factors, including job descriptions and candidate eligibility. You may find issues with your recruitment process. However, a low selection rate isn’t inherently bad. 


Request for Evidence Rate: It’s important to track how often your organization receives RFEs during the application process. RFEs, at times, can be inevitable. However, mature immigration programs with strategic immigration partners can take steps to avoid them. A high rate of RFEs may indicate room for improvement in your program or suggest researching new vendors. 


Revenue Per Employee (Revenue Per FTE): Divide total revenue by the number of full-time equivalent employees or international employees, specifically. This metric offers an estimate of how much each employee brings in and indicates the quality of your organization’s human capital. An increasing ratio may suggest better output per FTE. However, if your organization reduced the number of FTEs, this metric can be misleading.  


Selection Ratio (Submittals to Hire Ratio): Divide the number of hired international employees by the total number of international candidates. This ratio can speak to whether your job descriptions and other recruiting processes bring in high-quality, eligible candidates. 


Source of Hire: Recording the sources that attract candidates and new hires allows you to measure the effectiveness of various recruiting channels. Eligible candidates may come from certain channels more than others, which can help focus or improve recruitment efforts. For your immigration program, track where qualified candidates come from or where they are hearing about your opportunities. 


Sourcing Channel Cost: Divide the ad spend per platform by the number of successful applicants—or international applicants—per platform. 


Sourcing Channel Effectiveness: Divide the total number of applications per channel by the total number of hires per the same channel. Another method is to measure the conversions per channel. Using Google Analytics, compare the percentage of applications with the percentage of impressions on a job ad. 


Success Ratio: Divide the number of international hires who perform well by the total number of international candidates hired. A high success ratio means hiring is going well, while a low rate means it’s time to address your international hiring and screening process with the help of an experienced immigration vendor. 


Time to Fill: Track the time it takes to find and hire for a technical role. You’ll typically measure by the number of days between publishing a job opening and hiring a candidate. This metric gives you a measure of how long it may take to attract a candidate for a new position or replace an employee. Time to fill for international employees can reflect on various issues, including the quality of the job description, legal accessibility, and your immigration vendor. 


Time to Hire (Time to Accept or Time to Start): The number of days between when the business approaches a candidate, and the day the candidate accepts an offer. A shorter time to hire or start is preferred and demonstrates the business’s ability to bring in top talent. Sub-metrics can also be helpful, such as Time to First Interview or Time to Offer. These can be key metrics to assess the efficiency of your immigration program and the likelihood of RFEs. 


Time to Productivity (Time to Optimum Productivity Level): This metric is the time between the employee’s first day and the point at which the employee contributes to the business. International employees' time to productivity can reflect on your organization’s onboarding process. An international employee may take longer to get used to a new place and overcome cultural differences. 


Time Since Last Promotion: The average time in months since an employee’s last promotion or pay raise can indicate why high-level employees or successful employees leave. You can use this metric for international employees to determine if they have trouble advancing within the company.  


Quality of Hire: Track employees’ first-year performance through employee performance ratings. High ratings indicate hiring success, while low ratings indicate “bad” hires. First-year performance can reflect an international employee’s fit for the position and your organization’s recruiting and onboarding process. 


Additional resource for HR/People Analytics teams:

If you have questions about additional metrics or want to chat about how you might benefit from more closely aligning immigration and People Operations, reach out to marketing@bridge.legal.


Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a Bridge-affiliated partner attorney or another qualified legal professional.

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