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Understanding HR Reporting

Patrick Proctor
Patrick Proctor

HR reporting can provide your business with critical insight into your workforce and how it operates.

Tracking key attributes of your workforce can help your leadership team make important decisions about your business. By keeping tabs on employee performance, attendance, turnover and other helpful metrics, you can see how well your staff is contributing to your organization's goals.

One way to keep track of all this data is through human resources (HR) reporting, which can ultimately save your business time, money and energy.

What is HR reporting?

HR reporting is the process of tracking key metrics about your workforce, often through human resources information systems (HRIS). In addition to tracking and measuring data, these systems help HR teams manage many of the day-to-day work related to payroll, benefits and other transactional HR needs.

HR reports allow you to analyze and compare many data points, including full-time versus part-time workers, workforce gender ratios, employee turnover, open jobs and the time it takes to make new hires.

There are many options for building your metric-tracking platform. For example, you can monitor a few data points on Excel spreadsheets or partner with a vendor that specializes in managing HR data.

What HR metrics should be tracked?

Many HR metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), lead to larger answers when compared with other data points. This combined data helps with statistical correlation analysis of historical trends. According to AIHR Analytics, here are some of the top HR metrics companies should track:

  • Gender: This is often measured for diversity and equality purposes, as tracking gender numbers helps to assess pay gaps and address some healthcare-related insurance cost issues.
  • Education level: This partially assesses employees' overall qualifications for their current positions. It also helps measure what percentage of your workforce has four-year and graduate degrees.

  • Function type: This metric typically characterizes the different roles at a business, both in terms of departments and geographic areas.

  • Full-time equivalent (FTE): An FTEis a measure of the hours worked by a single employee on a full-time basis. This system is used to convert the hours worked by multiple part-time employees into the hours worked by a full-time employee. On an annual basis, an FTE is equivalent to 2,080 hours, which equates to eight hours per day for five workdays per week.

  • Active employees: This metric shows the number of employees currently on your payroll.

  • Turnover: In the context of human resources, turnover represents the percentage of employees who leave your business over a given period due to both voluntarily and involuntarily reasons, including termination, retirement or replacement.

  • New hires: This metric shows the number and/or percentage of employees who joined the organization within the past year.

  • Absenteeism: This shows the average percentage of time or number of days that employees were absent in the previous period.

  • Cost of absence: This metric refers mainly to unscheduled absenteeism, which is essential to uncovering one of the most expensive unseen costs in the workplace. According to Investopedia, unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,660 per year for each salaried employee.

  • Cost of labor: This is the sum of all employee compensation, which includes employee wages, benefits and payroll taxes paid by the employer. The cost of labor is broken into direct and indirect (overhead) costs, which is then usually sliced up into additional buckets.

  • Training costs: This metric refers to the total amount spent on training new hires and existing employees; it should also include the costs of travel and training materials.

  • Recruitment costs: The total cost of recruitment efforts often includes the amount spent on external staffing agencies, job advertisements and lost productivity.

  • Time to fill vacancies: This is the time between the day a job requisition is approved and the day an offer is accepted. Time to fill is a measure of how efficient and effective your company's recruiting process is. The Society for Human Resource Management reported that the average time to fill a position is 41 days.

These are just some of the more common HR metrics that can provide you with a better understanding of how your organization is performing compared with the competition.

What is the importance of HR reporting?

Tracking HR metrics allows companies to know themselves better and use data to improve their business and workforce. Here are some of the benefits of HR reporting:

  • Strategy development: Each year, companies develop new strategies and projections, and businesses need to assess HR metrics as a part of that planning.

  • Data transparency: When your team members can view data about your organization, they are more informed and feel more connected to the company, which is crucial for building engagement and inclusivity.

  • Accountability: As with all areas of the company, the HR department needs to share and explain costs and any needs for additional resources.

What is an HR dashboard?

An HR dashboard allows HR managers to visualize vast amounts of data in an organized, useful interface. With an HR dashboard, you can see all of the important data at a glance. This is particularly useful for areas such as talent management, as you can see a clear breakdown organized by time or costs. 

What are examples of third-party vendors that offer HR reporting services?

If your company is growing, it's usually a good idea to partner with a third-party HRIS provider to help you measure and track data and KPIs. Many HRIS providers offer complete cloud-based HRIS platforms that can organize data to produce more streamlined and informative metrics. Here are some solid options for monitoring all of the key metrics that help companies track personnel performance as well as process payroll, benefits and other attributes:

  • BambooHR: BambooHR offers reporting, applicant tracking, a centralized employee database, metrics/KPI tracking and more.
  • SAP SuccessFactors: SAP SuccessFactors offers core HR services, data tracking and key metrics reporting, payroll, onboarding and other services.
  • Gusto: Gusto's services include payroll and HR servicing, and its versatility makes it great for companies in a variety of industries.
Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images
Patrick Proctor
Patrick Proctor,
business.com Writer
Patrick Proctor, SHRM-SCP, is certified as a senior professional in human resources. He has consulted and operated at the C-suite and executive levels for more than 15 years. Patrick actively maintains expertise within the worlds of human resources, organizational development, operations management and corporate social responsibility. Patrick is a contributor to business.com and Business News Daily, writing about HR and business management topics impacting leaders.