So I Have HR Metrics…Now What?

HR metrics can seem overwhelming and confusing. Once you have data, what do you do with it? How do you know what to do with it? Before approaching the task of dealing with collected data, there are many aspects of HR metrics that you must understand first, including what these so-called ‘HR metrics’ even are.

Defining HR Metrics

HR metrics are measurements of gathered data that assess a company’s performance and promote data-based decision-making. These metrics are aimed to benefit companies and improve their operations; they do so by providing data-based evidence that illustrates what goes on within an organization. The sad reality is that metrics are generally not used to their fullest potential. Many companies and individuals use HR metrics for upholding and reinforcing practices that are already in place. However, what they should be doing is using HR metrics to better understand circumstances and draw conclusions that can spark insightful change. Yes, these metrics are useful for backing previously implemented practices, but they have the potential to do much more. They are meant to push companies beyond their present principles and point them in the specific direction of where they should place their efforts.

Examples of metrics include time to hire, cost per hire, time to reject, employee retention, absenteeism rate, revenue per employee, time to productivity, etc. All in all, the beauty of HR metrics is that they are customizable. So, they can be chosen and used however you feel necessary. There is no set number of metrics that is optimal; rather, pick and choose according to what your company would seemingly benefit from.

Collecting Data is Easy

HR metrics are not as technical or difficult to obtain as they may seem. Gathering data to create these metrics is simple and can be done systematically through platforms or mathematical models. Online platforms are recommended because they remove the need to do menial calculations, though how you receive your metrics is up to the preference of you and your company. If you choose to use an online platform, it will compile data and produce a clear and organized display of the selected metrics. As a result, they can then be used to the company’s advantage. Collecting data is the easiest part – it is what you do with it that can be challenging.

Metrics Help, not Hurt

The goal of HR metrics is to help track how a company is doing in order to maximize its performance, optimize the candidate experience, and enhance the work lives and well-being of employees. Without these metrics, there is virtually no way of understanding how improvements are to be made within a company – no authentic and data-driven way, that is!

Because HR metrics are used to aid in delivering solutions to problems, they can uproot a company’s enterprise entirely. They serve as the evidence that impacts decision-making. After all, you cannot really argue with the evidence. Furthermore, because HR metrics track efficacy and performance, they candidly show your status. If these things were not tracked, how would you ever know that changes ought to be made? Luckily, HR metrics act as the solution to that potential barrier.

Making the Most of HR Metrics

After much explanation as to why these HR metrics are pragmatic, it is now in your hands to make the most of them and be diligent with their use. In order to do so, it must be ensured that the data is digestible and tailored to specific audiences.

Making Data Digestible

A large problem with the use of data is that numbers are confusing and many find them difficult to read and understand. Instead of approaching complicated numerical data, people choose to neglect it. If data is uninterpretable, it serves no practical purpose. Thus, it is important to visualize HR metrics in order for readers to digest them. This can be done by using dashboards and presentations that cater to the attention and comprehension of viewers. Metric reports can be obtained from your Applicant Tracking System and also from recruiting analytic platforms, such as DreamTeam. These platforms of HR software allow for a clear and organized presentation of metric data, making it easy for companies to put them to use. Absorbable data can then be turned over to stakeholders and various audiences for action to finally begin.

Tailoring Data Toward your Specific Audience

It is important to note that different metrics are important for different stakeholders or audiences. Understanding which metrics each of them values will serve great importance in achieving success. Examples of potential stakeholders and audiences consist of CEOs, hiring managers, HR leaders, employer brands, etc. Metrics are merely facts, so give the people what they want. Present facts that are relevant to each audience in order to help them succeed. For instance, when presenting to employer branding professionals, you want to provide data on things relevant to them, such as candidate feedback and candidate surveys. It is important to not lose sight of your target audience.

Deciding which metrics to use for a particular audience can be tricky due to the possibility of neglecting important insights, but trial and error is a common and often constructive strategy. The more you use metrics in your company’s routine, the more you will see their value. Additionally, continuously playing around with which metrics to use for different audiences will show you the direct impact each of them has on your company’s growth.  If needed, there are also professionals who specialize in consulting and strategy who can be enlisted to evaluate your company and determine which metrics would be preferred.

Change is Difficult, but it is Good

Enforce change! No company is perfect; every organization has operations and strategies that are lacking or are in need of improvement. HR metrics can be the catalyst for such progress. The proof is in the data, so even if a company believes itself to be ideal, most of the time, data will show that it is not. Metrics will directly show you that your company has a low retention rate or that customers are dissatisfied with DEI practices, so make changes accordingly. But, acting on it is not easy; it takes effort and process. You have to take the initiative to actually use this information and data, not overlook it. So, now that you understand the basics of HR metrics, it is time to put them to use.

Using HR Metrics to Enforce Change

After applying the tools to make the most of HR metrics, actionable change can be established. Look at your data and recognize trends. Are there clusters or outliers within any of the specified metrics? These patterns can serve as signals directing you toward the metrics in need of attention. Once these trends are acknowledged, think about what qualitative aspects you can look at altering in your process. This qualitative data is important because it goes beyond looking at just numbers and data to gauge a company’s activity. Instead, it looks at the qualities and characteristics of a company. This type of data is important because it puts the ‘humanity’ in ‘Human Resource metrics.’

It can be helpful to align HR metrics with business goals in order to understand what your company might benefit from in terms of change and alteration; this way, it can be assured that the company’s efficacy and performance align with its established goals. HR metrics are meant to enhance your company, not stray away from its fundamental values. So, find and use metrics that follow the goals and values, and progress will eventually be seen.

Change in Practice

Change can take many shapes and forms, depending on what is displayed by the metrics. You should look at patterns in data to then implement changes in areas such as company structure, employee treatment, employee performance, hiring processes, etc — really, anywhere that data shows to be somewhat lacking or in need of development.

Making concrete change is unique to individual companies and fluctuates based on how they typically choose to implement it. Many companies use a top-down strategy that embraces a hierarchical structure. In this case, HR metrics are used to find ways to help companies deliver. Another tool is to set a specific timeline to revisit the data and see if changes that were made actually had a tangible impact on a company. This way, you can track the benefits of using HR metrics directly. If the effect was not as considerable as planned, reevaluate: look at new metrics and implement them in a different manner.

As stated, there are many ways to foment change, and it is predominantly up to the company to decide exactly how they want to enact it. After all, the goal of HR metrics is to be a guiding force in helping to promote this change, regardless of whatever shape or form it may take.


It is the application of HR metrics that companies often have to thank for improvements made within their organization. They lead the way in tracking human resources and pointing to which areas in a company need improvement or adjustment. Human error is a fundamental part of life, and HR metrics play a critical role in correcting these errors.

Don’t shy away from data and numbers, use them to your advantage. They can only help by highlighting areas where improvement is needed, so it is up to you and your company to take action beyond this point of recognition. It is easy to disregard these insights because of not knowing what they mean, how to interpret them, or what to do with them. Instead of allowing HR metrics to overwhelm you, use these suggested steps to embrace them. Soon enough, you will witness and experience the growth they can bring to the table.