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Understanding HR Reporting

Patrick Proctor
Patrick Proctor
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Jul 01, 2022

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.

The best HR software providers keep track of all this data 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.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right HR Software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Types of HR reports and metrics to track

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. For example, continually monitoring employee retention metrics can help identify areas of improvement within the organization.

Here are four key types of HR reports you should track, and the key metrics they consist of.

Recruiting report

If you are hiring (or intend to hire) new employees, it is important to keep track of your recruiting process. Evaluating how successful your recruitment process is can help you speed up the process and find the best candidates for each position. When compiling a recruiting report, look at the following metrics:

  • Function type:This metric typically characterizes the different roles at a business, both in terms of departments and geographic areas.
  • Open positions and new hires:These metrics show the number and/or percentage of open positions you currently have, as well as how many employees joined the organization within the past year.
  • Time to fill vacancies: This measures the time between when a job requisition is approved and when an offer is accepted. Time to fill (also referred to as “average time to hire”) is a measure of how efficient and effective your company’s recruiting process is.

FYIFYI: The Society for Human Resource Management reported that the average time to fill a position is 41 days.

  • Recruitment costs:The total cost of recruitment efforts often includes the amount spent on external staffing agencies, job advertisements and lost productivity. Understanding the cost per hire for each job type can reveal where your recruitment process is efficient and where it should be modified.
  • Recruiting conversion rate: Along with recruitment costs, you want to identify your recruitment conversion rate. This measures how many job applicants are turned into hired employees. Analyzing this will show you whether your recruitment efforts are successful or not.

Performance management report

Managing employee performance is critical to the success of your business. There are a few metrics you can gauge to get a clear view of how well your employees are performing and where they may need additional training or assistance. When compiling a performance management report, look at the following metrics:

  • Productivity reports: Maintain consistent metrics for each employee on their overall productivity. You can also track productivity over teams, departments or locations.
  • Engagement and satisfaction reports: Similar to employee productivity, you want to measure engagement and satisfaction. Having an engaged workforce is an indicator that you have a healthy work culture. It can also help increase employee retention.
  • Absenteeism rate:This shows the average percentage of time, or number of days, that employees were absent in the previous period.

Did you know?Did you know? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average absenteeism rate is roughly 3% for full-time employees.

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

HR administrative report

Employers should have an overall view of their company, and administrative reports are a great way to do that. When compiling administrative reports, look at the following metrics:

  • Active employees: This shows the number of employees currently on your payroll. You should always keep an accurate count of exactly how many employees you have on both a full-time and part-time basis.
  • Full-time equivalent (FTE):An FTE is 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.
  • Male-to-female rate: 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.
  • Turnover rate: 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. You can also keep track of retention rates, average time of stay, and dismissal rates.

FYIFYI: Organizations should generally aim for a 10% turnover rate, although this can vary based on your industry.

Compensation report

A compensation report is important for businesses to understand how much they are spending on their employees. When compiling compensation reports, look at the following metrics: 

  • Employee pay: Track how much you are paying your employees. This can be comprised of a few different data points including base salary, overtime (OT) pay, paid leave, payroll deductions and additional incentives.
  • 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.
  • 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 are then usually sliced up into additional buckets.

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. Read our full review of BambooHR.
  • Paychex: Paychex flex is our choice for the best HR software for supporting remote teams. Read our full review of Paychex.
  • Rippling: This HR software benefits small businesses, specifically because of its self-service portal. Read our full review of Rippling.
  • GoCo: This is our best pick for HR software for custom workflows. Read our complete review of GoCo.
  • Gusto: Gusto’s services include payroll and HR servicing, and its versatility makes it great for companies in a variety of industries. Read our full review of Gusto.

Additional reporting by Skye Schooley

Image Credit:

fizkes / Getty Images

Patrick Proctor
Patrick Proctor
business.com Contributing Writer
Patrick Proctor, SHRM-SCP, is certified as a senior professional in human resources. His more than 15 years of executive level leadership inform his work on inclusive and engaging workplace culture, as well as educating senior leadership teams about human capital management and organizational strategy. Patrick has written dozens of articles on global business, human resources operations, management and leadership, business technology, risk management, and continuity planning