What Are HR Metrics?

G. Wiesen

Although different tools can be used by the human resources (HR) department at a company, HR metrics are among the most important methods for conveying real information. These are basically measurements and statistics regarding the different aspects of HR management for a company, which demonstrate the importance of ongoing development. There are a wide range of different HR metrics that can be utilized by businesses, including employee retention, time spent in training for a company, and employee satisfaction. The purpose of these statistics is typically for an HR manager to be able to demonstrate to other managers and corporate officers how his or her department has used both the money and time invested in it.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

HR metrics are quantitative measurements, which refer to numerical values, rather than qualitative measurements that are more descriptive. If someone reports, “Employee satisfaction has improved and most employees look forward to coming to work,” then this would be a qualitative statement since it indicates no real value. HR metrics, on the other hand, would more likely be reported as, “Employee satisfaction has increased by 32%, according to a recent anonymous survey, and 81% of employees answered that they look forward to coming to work.” This information is quantitative, since there are statistical numbers that can be seen, measured, and compared.

One of the most important aspects of HR metrics is that they are quantitative, and provide real numbers. Corporate officers often look for these numbers to see that the HR department and managers are contributing something real and demonstrable to a company. Not only do these values provide important statistical information for HR managers, but they also allow such information to be more meaningfully and directly compared. Someone can use HR metrics to see numerical growth in revenue generated based on employee hours worked, or evaluate ongoing training by looking at training hours for a previous quarter.

Many different types of statistics can be generated as HR metrics, and specific values often depend on the information that a manager considers important. Common categories considered in HR include employee satisfaction and retention, time spent in training employees, and employee productivity. Employee retention, for example, might be expressed in terms of the percentage of employees who have left a company after working for a certain period of time. Productivity can be measured in a number of different ways for HR metrics, and meaningful data is typically generated based on different levels of employees and the way in which their time is spent compared to revenue generated.

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