HR data: Five key HR metrics for 2016


With data playing an increasingly critical role in successful HR initiatives, new analysis from XpertHR Benchmarking reveals the five key HR metrics for 2016.

The box to the right provides links to full data on the five HR metrics most frequently accessed by users of XpertHR Benchmarking over the past year.

Although resourcing, attendance and reward emerge as important HR data concerns, how HR departments are structured and resourced is a key issue for the profession, with the ratio of employees to HR staff heading the list of key HR metrics.

For example, the number of employees per HR practitioner has shown a general downward trend over recent years, analysis of XpertHR data reveals.

This reflects the impact of redundancies and restructuring during the recession and its aftermath. The median number of employees per HR staff member fell from 90 in 2010 to 74 in 2015.

Rates of labour turnover and sickness absence also rank highly on the HR data agenda. Long-term analysis of these metrics reveals that absence rates fell during the recession and remain low, while labour turnover rates are on an upward trend as economic recovery drives a buoyant labour market.

How to get started with HR data in 2016

These key HR metrics are the core people management measures for many organisations, and represent a good potential starting point for HR data activities.

HR analytics involves using multiple HR metrics to gain insights and inform decisions. As Jeff Nelson, group HR director of Aviva, explained at a recent CIPD analytics conference: “Identifying HR metrics and using them to track trends is the bread and butter of HR analytics.”

Nelson advised HR professionals who want to get started with HR analytics to begin by identifying and collecting data on the critical HR metrics for their organisation, then focus on reporting them consistently and regularly. “Once this is up and running, reporting on the organisation’s core HR metrics becomes regular production,” he said.

Benchmarking data can then be used to provide context, to assess how the organisation is performing against competitors, and to help inform decisions on whether any action needs to be taken.

The potential benefits of HR data extend well beyond the five key HR metrics listed above.

Data can add value to all areas of HR activity. The box to the left has links to the five most accessed survey topic pages on XpertHR Benchmarking over the past three months, which cover a broad diversity of HR data topics.

XpertHR Benchmarking editor Michael Carty commented: “Relevant, reliable and up-to-date data on key HR metrics are the foundation of high-value HR analytics initiatives.

“The wide range of topics on which XpertHR Benchmarking users are accessing and using data shows the extent to which HR metrics are becoming embedded in the day-to-day work of HR departments in 2016.”

XpertHR Benchmarking users are able to access and drill down into the complete results for each of the top five HR metrics and 4,000 further HR data points from more than 180 survey data sets.