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By: Ber Leary on March 3rd, 2022

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25 HR Metrics to Help Deliver an Excellent People Strategy

Best Practices | Employee Relations

If you ask successful CEOs for the secrets of a thriving business, they will all say the same thing: great people and accurate data. High-quality business intelligence is a powerful tool that empowers leaders to identify opportunities, find efficiencies, and strengthen the bottom line.

That’s why HR leaders need to provide data that gives insight into the current HR strategy. With the right HR metrics, companies can see if they’ve got the right people and processes to meet future challenges.

But what data should you track? Let’s take a look at the most important HR metrics.

  1. What are HR metrics?
  2. How can people metrics be the driver of organizational change?
  3. Which HR metrics should you track?
  4. Need help developing your HR strategy?

Download the guide: 20 Question to Ask Your HR Leader

What are HR metrics?

HR metrics are indicators that show the current progress of your people strategy. Measuring anything involving human beings can be tricky, so the goal of HR metrics is to create a consistently useful framework for HR data.

There are dozens of HR metrics that you can measure. Each produces one of two types of data: quantitative and qualitative.

  • Quantitative data is simple numerical data. For example, if you want to know about absenteeism rates, you can pull a report from the time management system.
  • Qualitative data is information that you have to obtain and interpret yourself. For instance, if you want to know why employees are resigning, you can hold an exit interview and ask them questions.

Qualitative data is ideal for identifying trends. Quantitative data gives you a rich insight into the employee experience. Ideally, your strategic HR metrics framework should offer a mix of both types of information.

How can people metrics be the driver of organizational change?

HR data is obviously valuable for HR leaders, as it allows you to track the progress of your human capital strategy. But what do HR metrics mean to the CEO, CFO or the COO?

Today’s HR leaders play a vital part in organizational strategy. HR data can help senior decision-makers understand things like:

  • Business resilience: Labor is the number one cost center for most companies. HR metrics allow the leadership to monitor the fundamentals and ensure that the company is getting value for money.
  • Organizational culture: Organizational culture plays a huge role in your team’s ability to meet expectations. A company with a great culture has an easier time recruiting. Employees in this culture are usually more engaged and productive.
  • Operational capabilities: What skills are available within the current team? Understanding this can have a big impact on growth plans. Do you need to hire more people? Or are there underutilized people on the team who can help you scale up?

HR data can have a considerable impact on the overall business strategy. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re tracking the right HR metrics.

Which HR metrics should you track?

You can’t track everything – and you probably shouldn’t try. Too much data can almost be as bad as not enough data, as the signal can get lost in the noise.

Instead, focus on human resource metrics that are:

  • Objective: Metrics should aim to eliminate uncertainty and bias.
  • Consistent: Data should provide a reasonable comparison between individuals, teams, and business units.
  • Relevant: Your metrics should relate to key business goals, such as growth, revenue or customer experience.
  • Actionable: Metrics should point towards next steps, such as reviewing compensation or improving your recruitment process.

Now, let’s take a look at some specific people metrics you can monitor.

Recruitment

Recruitment metrics tell you about your processes for bringing in new talent. Here, you’ll have metrics such as:

  • Time-to-fill: The total recruitment cycle time, from when you decide to hire to the moment a candidate begins work.
  • Time-to-hire: As above, but from the candidate’s perspective. This tracks the time from the initial application to offer acceptance.
  • Cost-per-hire: Average cost of each new hire, including recruitment agency fees, marketing costs, and internal expenses.
  • Applicants per opening: This tells you whether your recruitment process is effective. Few applicants per opening may indicate a problem in your recruitment process.
  • Candidate satisfaction rate: Survey results from candidates asking them to rate aspects of your hiring process
  • Hiring manager satisfaction rate: Survey results from the hiring manager, which gives them a chance to rate the quality of candidates and the overall hiring process

All of these metrics help you monitor your talent pipeline. If the company needs to scale up, you can be confident that you will be able to bring in additional people as required.

Engagement

Now you have a team in place, but are they meeting expectations? Employee engagement metrics let you know if people are focused and committed.

  • New hire failure rate: Closely linked to your recruitment metrics, this score keeps track of the number of new hires that leave after 30, 90, and 365 days.
  • Employee Net Promoter Score: Would your people recommend you to their friends and family as an employer?
  • Performance and goal tracking: Managers can provide feedback on their direct reports, measuring their current performance against expectations.
  • Pulse survey results: Pulse surveys allow you to ask focused questions about a particular area of engagement that you’re concerned about.
  • Absenteeism: Unexplained absence is a crucial indicator of low engagement and often a warning of future retention issues.
  • Benefits uptake: High rates of benefits uptake indicates that your Total Rewards strategy is meeting employee expectations.

Engagement metrics should be closely linked to your overall business goals. For example, you might choose to measure Revenue per Employee for a sales team that focuses on growth, but that’s a less helpful metric for back-office employees.

Recommended readingAchieving Your Organizational Goals with Strategic HR

Development

Professional development is a great way to increase your operational capabilities. It’s also a vital way to retain staff for the long-term, as people are more likely to stick around when they feel they have a future. Here are some development metrics to monitor.

  • Development plan milestones: Each employee should have a professional development plan with attainable milestones. Your HR metrics can track whether people are hitting those milestones.
  • Training resource usage: If you provide training resources, such as eLearning tools, you can track the engagement with such resources.
  • Internal vs. external hire rate: Companies with good professional development programs often promote from within, as they have skilled people who are ready to move up.
  • Mentor program engagement: Mentor programs depend on engagement from experienced employees. If those people are participating, it indicates a healthy mentorship structure.

A healthy professional development program indicates a healthy people strategy. Keep in touch with senior leaders to ensure that your development program delivers the skills that the organization needs.

Culture

Organizational culture is one of the hardest things to measure. A lot of it depends on how people feel about the company, which means that you’ll need to gather qualitative data.

  • Burnout rate: How many employees feel burnt out by your organizational culture? Burnout is a subjective term, so look at people reporting different symptoms, ranging from feeling overwhelmed to actual physical illness.
  • Organizational culture survey: Ask employees to rate various aspects of the culture, such as teamwork and communication.
  • DE&I survey: Different groups may have different experiences in your culture. A DE&I survey can help identify people who feel excluded from the primary culture.
  • Focus groups: Gather a representative sample of your team and invite them to a conversation about their experience of organizational culture.

A strong culture can impact every aspect of your business, including engagement and retention. Keep an eye on your culture metrics to ensure that you’re providing a positive, supportive work environment.

Retention

Staff turnover is unavoidable, but good HR policies can help keep your turnover rates under control. Here are the essential retention metrics to watch:

  • Employee turnover rate: The percentage of the team who left in a given period, such as one calendar year.
  • Cost of turnover: This measures the total cost arising from staff turnover, including lost productivity, severance costs, and recruitment expense for their replacement.
  • Average tenure: How long the average employee stays in their role. This metric is more useful when segmented it by job title or department.
  • Exit interview data: Exit interviews are a chance to speak to departing employees and discover why they chose to leave.
  • Stay interview data: Similar to exit interviews, except that you speak to current employees and ask why they choose not to leave.

Retention is a life-or-death issue for every company, especially in a tight labor market. Tracking retention metrics will make it easier to identify problems. When you’re aware of problems, you can take action before you lose your star players.

Need help developing your HR strategy?

HR metrics are only useful if they are driving your HR strategy. But what happens if you don’t have the resources to implement a winning strategy.

That’s where Helios HR comes in. For over 20 years, our team has been helping businesses to measure, plan, and execute their HR strategy.

Book a no-obligation consultation call with a Helios HR consultant today. Let’s discuss how we can help you take control of your people strategy.

Download the guide: 20 Question to Ask Your HR Leader