Tout your successes in an annual HR report

Midsize employers can benefit by following the lead of large HR departments, colleges and government agencies that create annual reports detailing HR’s goals and accomplishments.

Annual reports help you and your HR team set clear objectives and analyze metrics, rather than simply float by from year to year. Just as important, the reports enhance HR’s reputation as strategic planners who help boost the bottom line.

What to include? Focus on key HR initiatives that are the most easily measured, including the initiatives, cost and ROI on topics such as internal and external hiring, training, recruitment, turnover, retention, absences, employee movement (transfers, promotions, etc.), performance reviews, recognition efforts, wellness, compensation and benefits.

If you’re looking for a template, you can find plenty of HR annual reports of large employers by googling “HR annual report.”

Use the following seven tips to produce reports that increase HR’s influence:

MGR Handbook D
  1. Avoid lengthy reports. The first one is typically the most time-consuming so don’t try to cover every area of HR. Also, long reports may go unread.
  2. Detail accomplishments. Update ongoing programs that haven’t reached goals and explain how HR will meet them. Describe why some initiatives failed and propose further action.
  3. Set goals for the next year. Tie the targets to organizational objectives. Example: Hiring includes plans to increase the sales staff by 15% to meet the company’s goal of increasing revenue by 8%.  
  4. Include key political, economic, industry and other factors outside the company that could impact HR goals for better or worse. Explain how HR would offset negative factors and benefit from those that are positive.
  5. Illustrate the department’s financial impact on the organization. Example: “The organization spent $7,000 on print and online job advertisements that resulted in filling 80% of job openings. More than 15% of positions were filled by employee referrals. The company lacks a formal referral program and developing one could cut costs further.”
  6. Use a reader-friendly format. Write an introduction that summarizes successes. Use separate headings for each topic such as hiring and turnover. End the report with a summary and recommendations for improving results.
  7. Write clearly. Avoid HR jargon. Use bullet points to highlight results.

Draft your own ‘career annual report’: 6 questions to get you started

What have you learned and accomplished in the past five years? If you can’t answer that question, you’ll have a tougher time selling yourself to potential employers.

But it’s hard to look back beyond this morning’s breakfast, let alone over several years of growth and accomplishments.

One tool to help you brand yourself: Draft a “career annual report” that can help you gather your thoughts about your professional and personal achievements, goals and contacts. This will help you honestly catalog what you bring to the organization and how you plan to become more effective.

Management guru Tom Peters, in his This I Believe! manifesto, says you can accomplish that goal simply by sitting down and writing out your answers to the following six questions each year:

  1. “I’m known and respected for . And in a year, I’ll also be known for .”
  2. “The project I’m working on right now will and for my organization.”
  3. “The two most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the past three months are .”
  4. “I’m beginning a campaign to promote my ‘personal brand,’ which will include and show that I’ve .”
  5. “My important new contacts in the past three months are . I value these folks .”
  6. “My résumé is significantly improved from a year ago because of .”

Final tip: Set a recurring date in your Outlook calendar to perform this Q&A task each year.