Ninety percent of HR practitioners see a chance to be more strategic, but only 51 percent have determined next steps to get there. Further, 39 percent reported barriers in the way of moving to a more strategic approach.

The right data can help. Data can uncover trends, opportunities, and emerging issues that can impact the business, leading to more informed decision making. Translating that data through HR reporting can then help you get buy-in from company leaders, managers, and your Finance team in order to successfully build and implement your initiatives.

There are countless HR metrics you can track, and the ones you choose should largely depend on your company goals. However, there are a few that may be particularly important this year:

Employee turnover

With so much uncertainty in the market, companies must keep an eye on costs. Employee turnover is expensive, and may signal problems within your organization. Keep a regular pulse on your monthly turnover rate to watch for spikes and patterns. Use exit surveys to track reasons for employee turnover so you can pinpoint why it’s happening and make necessary adjustments.

Then drill down at least quarterly—or sooner, if you notice a spike in turnover—by looking at:

  • Voluntary and involuntary employee turnover: Understanding whether employees were let go or left of their own accord, and why, can help you improve retention. For instance, high involuntary turnover could indicate the need for better screening during the recruitment process.
  • Turnover by ethnicity and gender: Break down your turnover by demographic to understand whether people of certain ethnicities or genders leave your company at higher rates. If so, you could have a problem with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Also drill down to see if the reasons for turnover differ by demographic group.
  • Turnover by manager: There’s a saying that, “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” Uncover which managers have higher than average turnover, and try to understand why. Then uncover which managers have the lowest turnover and see what you can learn from them.
  • Turnover by department: Take a look at how turnover varies by department. Perhaps those with unusually high turnover need to do a better job with career mapping to encourage people to stay.
  • 90 day turnover rate: A lot of time and expense goes into hiring and onboarding new employees, and you don’t want them to leave before they reach full productivity. Track your 90 day turnover rate to understand if you might need to ramp up your employee onboarding process to better retain new hires.
  • First year attrition: Also look at turnover that happens during an employee’s first year. High attrition in the first year may be an indication that the position wasn’t a good fit, and that a more transparent recruitment process may be in order.

Employee engagement 

Engaged employees are committed to their work, will go above and beyond, and will stay at your company longer. But as distributed workforces become more common, managers may not see their reports face-to-face in order to gauge their engagement.

Keep tabs on engagement to see how it looks over time, and how it adjusts as a result of organizational changes and HR initiatives. Regular Pulse surveys and less frequent, but longer, employee engagement surveys can help you measure this key metric.

Some questions you might ask are:

  • How likely are you to recommend [company name] as a good place to work?
  • Do you feel recognized and appreciated for your work?
  • Are you satisfied with your compensation and benefits?
  • Do you feel a sense of belonging at [company]?
  • Do you see a path for career advancement at [company]?
  • Are you comfortable reaching out to your manager when you need help or support?

Again, drill down to see how engagement differs by ethnicity, gender, manager, and department to see if you spot any trends. For example, low engagement within a department could be due to a toxic subculture. Learn what you can do to fix it before people leave. 

Diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity

Over two-thirds (69 percent) of executives rate diversity and inclusion an important issue. If your company truly cares about diversity and inclusion, track key metrics to learn where you stand, and where you may improve. 

You may want to track things like:

  • Representation among demographic groups at the company-level. See how this compares to the general population in your area. Or, if you have a distributed team, you may hold yourself to achieve greater diversity.
  • Representation among demographic groups at each career level. You will want to see consistent representation across each level of your organization. For instance, if 51 percent of individual contributors are female, you will want to see that around half of your managers, directors, VPs, and C-suite executives are also female.
  • Promotion rates by demographic. See whether people from different demographic groups are being promoted at the same rate, and in the same average amount of time. If not, mentorship programs or stronger career pathing may be in order.
  • Turnover rates by demographic. See if turnover rates, and reasons for turnover, differ by demographic group. For instance, if women are leaving at higher rates than men to achieve better work-life balance, you may want to reevaluate some of your policies.
  • Employee engagement by demographic. Learn whether all employees feel similarly about what it’s like to work at your organization, or if some people from underrepresented groups feel differently about certain things. For instance, whether they feel a sense of belonging at your company.
  • Compa ratio by demographic. The gender and ethnic wage gap persists. Track Compa ratio by demographic to ensure equitable pay within your organization. Average salaries can also be useful, though you won’t know if any difference is due to differences in salary range penetration or lack of career advancement.

As you look at this data, don’t forget about intersectionality. The way a Black woman and a White woman experience the workplace can be very different. 

Final thoughts on HR reporting

As you track key data, share it with others in your organization who could benefit from it. For instance, let managers know if they have the most engaged team in the company, and encourage them to keep up the good work. Share your progress around diversity and inclusion initiatives company-wide so employees understand how important it is, and continue making meaningful contributions. And share opportunities for improvement with those who can make an impact. That may mean sharing data with your Finance team in order to get budget for key initiatives. Or it may mean letting employees know you see their dissatisfaction with work-life balance, and asking them for feedback to improve it.

Data can help you build a more strategic HR function—so make sure you’re tracking the right information, and doing something with it.

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