Benchmarks for Healthcare – Where Are They?

February 28

In the healthcare industry of 2012 — where we find the search for the best talent an ongoing challenge, HR professionals often seek national and statewide data to compare their performance. Although this can usually be obtained, it isn’t always easy. Some of the most valuable data can be found through organizations such as NAHCR, ASHHRA and

 NAHCR is the National Association for Health Care Recruitment, an organization of healthcare recruitment professionals that seek education, information and resources. One valuable resource they offer is a partnership with Lean Human Capital to do their Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark Study each year. Covering such analyses as process efficiencies, responsiveness metrics, cost of vacancies and performance management, this is valuable survey data for an organization to add to their participation list. For additional information, contact: or

ASHHRA (the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration) of the American Hospital Association is an organization “dedicated to meeting the professional needs of human resources leaders in healthcare.” To participate in the ASHHRA/PwC Saratoga HR Metrics Tool Survey, 2011 data can be submitted at Measuring tenure, diversity, turnover (including first year), cost per hire, time to accept, internal vs. external hires, etc. —  this too offers valuable information for the direction of the recruitment department. provides “corporate HR professionals with recruiting metrics, benchmarks, best practices and sourcing strategies.” ( They offer various surveys and reports throughout the year such as Candidate Attitudes and Behaviors, Sourcing and Marketing, Trends, Recruiter Workload and the Annual Corporate Recruiting Report. Although includes all industries, they do offer some separate reports for the healthcare industry.

Associations that relate to the specific job title such as APTA, AORN, ASHP, etc. are also a great source for surveys along with individual state chapters and organizations.

There are some basic guidelines in what benchmarks can be and should be used for.

1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Changing procedure based on a small amount of data is not a wise choice. Look for trending over time, outside influences, geographic issues, time of the year, etc.

2. Balance benchmarks against other metrics they may influence. For example, to measure recruiters on days to fill would only make sense if they have control over all aspects of the hiring process. Also influenced by hiring managers and the process, it is difficult to totally lay this metric at the feet of the recruiter. The larger the portion of the hiring process that sits within HR, the more accountability the recruiter has for days-to-fill. Yet, if the recruiter merely functions as a depository for applications that go right to the hiring manager, it is difficult for them to own the process and be evaluated on days-to-fill.

3. Days-to-fill should also be balanced with new hire “quality” and “turnover rates”. It isn’t too difficult to lower days-to-fill if turnover rates aren’t factored into the equation. It isn’t always about decreasing days to fill — but hiring the best talent.

4. To obtain the best benchmarks with quality data, it is a good idea to be a part of the survey. If more organizations would take part in surveys like ASHHRA, NAHCR, etc. there would be a wider range of valuable data and, as a participant, it would be available to you.

5. Keep your data! This is probably the most common issue in not always being able to obtain quality information from all organizations. It is difficult to take part in an in-depth survey if the HR professional has no access to the metrics in-house. So, start internally by deciding the benchmarks that are important to YOU. Make sure your formulas are consistent with the survey you want to be using for comparison and gather your data without fail.

6. Use the data! This too, is often an issue when data is gathered and available yet sits in the computer or in a drawer and isn’t used to drive change and strategy. Use what you count or ask yourself if you need to count it at all.

7. Justify any survey data that you use to benchmark against making sure the survey is current and statistically valid.

8. Benchmark against yourself. All organizations are different, recruiters function at different levels, processes are different, competition varies geographically and strategic visions are unique. For the best measure of performance, trend against yourself — month over month and — year over year. Only then will you be able to see true trending that adds value to your strategic direction.

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