Understanding your HR data is important, especially if you have a larger number of employees. As employees come and go, it’s easy to lose track of why employees might leave and thus what you can do to reduce turnover. It can also be easy to lose track of other key metrics, such as job details.
So, what kind of HR metrics should you be monitoring, and how do you overcome the obstacles to proper analysis?
Obstacles to HR Analysis
The largest obstacle to proper analysis of HR data is that the data itself is often piecemeal and stored and maintained in multiple places. In many cases only partial data is stored. For example, separation reasons, which can be important for monitoring turnover, might just be filed in old employee files and forgotten unless the person applies to be rehired.
Other obstacles include a lack of understanding of the right questions that need to be asked, lack of a strategic plan, and lack of a “business case” to put the effort into this kind of monitoring.
What Metrics Should You be Monitoring?
Commonly, when people start using metrics for HR, they focus on employee performance. While this is useful for individual employees and for determining who should be promoted (or in extreme cases, terminated), employee performance is far from the only key indicator and might even be less important than others.
Here are some other metrics that you should consider:
How long do your employees stay in their positions? Is there a falling off after a certain length of time? Do you find employees are more inclined to quit at certain times of year (this could indicate a workload imbalance a bit before that time that is causing people to shop their resumes?
How many positions do you need to fill in any given year? Where are they? Is turnover higher in certain departments?
This ties into both, but by keeping broad categories of separation reason in your main database you can get an understanding of why you are losing employees. Is it that you aren’t giving enough opportunities for advancement beyond a certain point? Are people leaving because their commute sucks and, if so, is there anything you can do to reduce the pain, such as putting in bike sheds?
Exactly what are people being paid in different positions is a key metric as it allows you to make sure you are compensating fairly. Keeping good statistics on every position in your company allows you to ensure that you are not disadvantaging certain employees, that you are competing well with other companies for talent, etc.
How many people do you have in each position, and how has it changed over time? This helps you spot over- and understaffing. (Turnover can also indicate this, as people are likely to leave if they are overworked, but also if they are bored). Headcounts are also essential for compliance.
Let’s talk a bit more about how these are important.
Your general goal as an employer should be to keep turnover down. Training and onboarding new employees is costly in both time and money. New employees are also more likely to make expensive mistakes or upset your customers.
Keeping turnover down is thus vitally important to your business. This means keeping track of when and why employees leave your company. For example, if you have a really busy month and discover that staff tend to be more likely to leave right after it, this might indicate that people are exhausted and overwhelmed. You might save money in the long run by hiring temporary employees to take on some of the load.
If you have high turnover in a specific department, this could indicate everything from a bad supervisor to working conditions that are proving to be a problem. It can also indicate that salaries are not up to industry standard. This allows you to investigate, talk to employees, and see what you can improve.
Keeping track of separation reasons can also help reduce turnover and identify issues. In some cases, a separation is due to nothing you did (perhaps the employee is moving closer to their elderly parents). But in others there is an identifiable reason, such as conflict with a supervisor or coworker, an issue with the office, or pay.
The other side of turnover is retention. Knowing how long employees typically spend in a given position can help you plan both to improve retention and to predict hiring needs.
Knowing why people leave is important, but so is knowing why they stay. Data on why an employee chooses to remain can be collected during performance reviews. This can help with hiring (by helping you choose people who fit the company culture) and with spotting those likely to be long haulers. It can also help you extend policies that are helping retention.
Some employees are always going to be a bad fit, and while the ideal is to spot them before you hire them, this does not always work. Good retention metrics can really help, though.
While turnover and retention are the most important metrics to track, you also need to look at other job statistics. First of all, you need to make sure that your hiring policies don’t look like you are favoring certain demographics. You also need to make sure that the salaries you offer are appropriate and competitive (which also means tracking metrics such as the local cost of living).
Keeping detailed records of each job helps you identify traits useful in hiring, improves your training programs, and allows you to improve in areas that help you attract and retain the talent you need.
If you have a lot of employees, headcounts become essential. This metric tracks the number of full and part time employees you have, as well as exempt vs. non-exempt and demographics.
As with job statistics, headcounts can tell you if you are hiring an appropriately diverse workforce. They also help make sure that you don’t misclassify an employee and get into trouble under Federal labor laws.
Keeping track of all of these HR metrics is a challenge, and many companies fall short. Quentelle’s award winning platform delivers HR solutions that can help you track and analyze these vital HR metrics, among many other things. Contact us to find out more and book a demo.