Manage and Measure: The key HR Metrics You Should be Tracking

Jul 17, 2017

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Metrics matter. If you aren’t keeping score, how can you tell if you’re winning or losing?
HR professionals had to operate in an information vacuum for years but digital software can now provide all the data you need to know whether you’re pursuing an effective HR strategy. It’s an information revolution in more ways than one.

Not only can you now collate vast banks of data but this data is also providing HR with the means to become a strategic partner in modern businesses. HR data can only truly be effective if it is able to utilise it as part of a strategic partnership within the wider C-Suite.

Having access to a wealth of data can justify major strategic decisions and inform bold operational assessments. HR finally has the answers – but the next problem is to make sure you’re asking the right questions.

It’s easy to become lost in a sea of data, to become obsessed with analytics and paralysed in the face of so much information. Having access to endless data can cause you to obsessively mine the next data set and develop yet another HR metric in the pursuit of greater understanding. However, data analysis can be time-consuming and going down the data rabbit hole can be a counter-productive endeavour.

So what are the HR metrics that really matter, the ones that allow you to draw important conclusions and make informed decisions? This can vary from company to company, depending on the firm’s size and where you are in your organisational evolution.

Still, the following metrics can provide a solid indication of your underlying strengths and weaknesses in relation to key HR functions.




Your recruitment policy supplies your business with much-needed lifeblood, provides a vital talent injection for your organisation and can ultimately impact on its success or failure. So what are the recruitment metrics that really matter?

Time taken to hire

This factors in the time required to source candidates, from advertising a role to interviewing candidates to the moment a new hire starts. It’s a good indication of how efficient your screening process is and one of major considerations when conducting recruitment reviews.

Diversity of new hires

How diverse are the additions to your workforce and do they make your overall talent pool more inclusive and more reflective of wider society?

Offer acceptance ratio

How many of the people offered positions accepted them compared to those who declined? This is a useful measure of the attractiveness of your company brand and compensations package and a reflection on the effectiveness of your recruitment processes.

Key positions filled by outside candidates

Are you cultivating talent from within your organisation or do you need to review your succession planning models?


Employee satisfaction and engagement


Accurate measurements of your employee satisfaction or engagement can be elusive. If you’re haemorrhaging valued employees, you don’t need to be a data analyst to know that there is a problem. However, you can get a clearer snapshot of where you stand from a combination of surveys and statistical evidence.


A simple measure of employee satisfaction. Are you cultivating loyalty among staff, retaining your top performers, and providing them with opportunities for meaningful development?

Early turnover of new staff

Examining your year-on-year staff turnover will tell you if your retention strategies are working. How has this changed year-on-year? Are there trends that suggest an issue with employee engagement or cultural fit? Finally, what does it say about your current recruitment methods?

Turnover rate of top talent

New employee turnover can be a case of poor cultural fits moving on to pastures new. A greater area of concern is the voluntary turnover of your top talent and the loss of your organisation’s high performers.

Employee happiness

A survey asking employees whether they look forward to coming to work most days can provide a simple measuring stick for employee satisfaction.

Employee referrals

The willingness of employees to recommend your organisation to other people can reflect their engagement with company culture and their general satisfaction levels.

Satisfaction with training

Surveys carried out before, during and after training can reveal whether employees are engaging with your development programs and efforts to provide in-house training. If not, why not?

Absenteeism rates

HR software allows you to calculate the absence rate of individuals and the workforce as a whole. It also gives you an average rate against which to measure problem employees. This helps to determine how absences are impacting on your productivity but it can also be an indicator of employee satisfaction levels.

Absenteeism rate per manager

If certain divisions or managers record high absenteeism levels among their staff, it can be indicative of a broader issue that needs to be addressed.


Costs analysis


Your employees are more than just numbers or statistics but you also need to be able to view them as such in order to make long-term strategic decisions. Business is a numbers game and analytics can help you get down to the brass tacks of what each employee brings to, or takes from, your balance sheet.

Cost of hire

How much does it really cost you to make a single hire and how can you streamline this process to bring down costs and improve hiring practices?

Revenue per employee

Data analytics can calculate just how much an individual employee is earning for your company. This can help you judge their financial worth to your organisation.

Benefits cost

How much is your benefits package costing per employee? This can factor in everything from bonuses to employee benefits to additional compensation.

Overtime costs

How much are you spending in overtime a year? You can use this information to judge whether staffing levels are where they need to be and to assess scheduling management.

Turnover costs

Calculate how much employee turnover is costing you by factoring in the length of the vacancy with the cost of replacement, loss of productivity and the cost of training. Replacing staff is costly but is this a cost that is damaging your business?


Finding the right metrics for you


The HR metrics that matter most to you will be dictated by your individual organisation’s needs and demands. However, having the means to develop and track these metrics in a modern business environment has become nothing short of a necessity. HR software is no longer a luxury in a digital age, when data analytics forms the bedrock of any forward-thinking organisation.

It’s not just about maintaining competitiveness with your rivals. It’s also about giving yourself the means to react and reset in a fast-moving digital world, when you can’t wait for the quarterly results to tell you if there’s a problem.

Having access to relevant, real-time HR metrics is about more than just knowing if you’re winning or losing. It’s about knowing how to get back to winning ways if you discover that you are losing. Being able to make that transition sooner rather than later can ultimately be the difference between success and failure.

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