Nicky Buckley
July 23, 2020
4 minute read

Are your HR Metrics adding up?

The main purpose of HR Metrics is to help you make better, effective decisions. There is a vast amount of data you could collect, but make it easy for yourself by measuring what you need to report on to make those important, informed decisions.

‘If you are reporting on a metric that has no value, what is the point!’

  1. Decide what you need to measure
  2. Make the data relevant to the person making the decisions
  3. Understand your goals, your people strategy
  4. Analyse your data



It is essential to have a count of the number of employees you have, but do you do this by actual people or look at FTE (full-time equivalent) or both?

You can then split this down into departments, if you have them, and this can then generate the basis of data for productivity in terms of hours/days available, starters, leavers etc..


This provides you with the insight into what your workforce looks like, in terms of gender, age, length of service

Turnover (the leavers)

Hopefully you don’t have a high turnover % but if you see any increase in turnover your HR Partner should be able to support you. I would always report on voluntary and involuntary turnover in addition to all turnover as this gives a true reflection on why people are leaving. You could add in new-hire turnover to give you an idea how well your induction/onboarding programme really is.

Retention (the remainers)

Similar to Turnover but this reflects how many people have remained with your business in a given period of time. You could split this further, using your headcount, figures, to separate into teams and then this gives you retention by manager.


Another essential, hopefully it is to recognise good attendance in your business, but if you are not reporting absence how do you know when absence is increasing or if you need to review your absence management policies. How do you know if the absence is Short Term or Long Term Sickness or time off for dependents, other absence?

Are you recording Covid-19 absences?

Time to Hire (Recruitment)

The number of days when you post a job to when you fill it. If you need to recruit you need to know what you are doing is working to get the right person, first time for your business or if you need to change your process.


You may have heard of a HR Dashboard (a fancy spreadsheet)?

If not, then it’s basically your People data provided on a 1-page document, with graphs & charts for the visual types. If you are really technical you could have an app, such as Microsoft BI, to give you data on the go. The data should be reviewed with your HR Partner (they will have great ideas to give you an understanding of what’s going on and what action needs to be taken), a comparison to the previous month or the same time last year and even better ideas to improve people’s performance.


You need to know what your targets are to be able to work towards them. You may only have 6 employees but your target headcount is 10 because this is the amount of employees you need to operate without overtime, time off in lieu, maintain customer service, get the orders out on time.

Your demographic reporting ticks the box for starting a meaningful diversity and inclusion workforce, but link your strategy for developing this and you can measure if your plan is working. We all know a diverse workforce generates great ideas.

You also know a leaver costs you time & money to recruit, replace and train a new person, if you have data you can understand how many people leave and look into the reasons for leaving, remember most people leave their job because of poor management. You could add in employee engagement initiatives and measure this against turnover, retention or put in an engagement survey!

Absence costs your business money too, and you can decide where you want to benchmark your business with others in the same industry/size of business to see if your % is above or below average. If you are above you might want to see what you can do to reduce it.


  • We need to recruit 4 people
  • We are only attracting candidates of a certain age
  • By the time we have replaced 4 people another 1 person will have left
  • Why do employees leave us, it’s great here, isn’t it?
  • Why do they always leave that one team?
  • All my time is doing recruitment and not managing my team or helping my business grow
  • The same employees are always off sick, that’s more time I have to spend helping cover their job, doing return to work meetings, keeping employees who come to work happy

‘It makes you review Actual % v Target % against your people strategy and make changes for the better’


‘What gets measured gets done’

Follow the 4 steps

  1. Decide what to measure
  2. Relevance - what will this tell me
  3. Goals - what do you want to achieve
  4. Analyse

Produce your reports - you decide the format that is right for you

Review regularly the actual v target

Make data-driven decisions that are right for your business.


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