Emerging HR Metrics and Reporting Practices to Drive Situation Assessment and Actionable Insights for Managers and Leaders.

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Wowledge Expert Team
Principal level
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This guide is part of a progression set comprised of Core, Advanced, and Emerging HR Metrics & Reporting practices.

What it is

HR Metrics & Reporting is a standardized and structured experience for both developers and users of the data and reports. A crucial element is the development of a "data culture," where functional and HR employees, managers, and leaders consistently use the reports to drive fact-based decision-making on a day-to-day basis. Consistent reports and metrics are available on-demand and updated/refreshed daily. These metrics create insights into the impact or outcomes of various talent processes and performance, with the most important and valued outcomes tracked and reported on. They represent the most critical and actionable insights designed to drive managerial attention and prioritized focus. Those are produced by a dedicated team staffed by HR or cross-functional professionals and leverage more sophisticated comparative and predictive statistical analyses that enable views across time, business units, geographies, employee groups, and business circumstances. They are delivered automatically on a set and reliable schedule, with near-real-time (e.g., updated weekly, daily, etc.) for the most effective decision support.

At this level of sophistication, a focus is placed on statistical tests that provide much greater clarity about the value and impact of various occurrences and trends, allowing more meaningful, reliable, and valid conclusions to be drawn. Creating a demand for such highly valued insights most typically requires employing a team of experts in data collection, technology, analysis, reporting, presentation, and user experience. Implementing these practices creates a foundation for developing a “data culture,” where widespread acceptance and use of HR insights improve people and operational outcomes. HR insights are used to monitor the performance of managers and teams and regularly use change management strategies to drive adoption and identify new use cases across the organization.

Why use it 

Creating standardized and structured metrics and reporting directly impacts the availability of data where it is most needed – in decision-makers' hands. Using more advanced metrics provides a heightened capability to make more objectively based decisions related to people and their intersection with operational processes and outcomes. It supports establishing a "data culture," where data-centric decision-making becomes the standard for all decision-makers. Such a culture is supported by integrating the analyses into daily life, which informs decisions at the Board, C-suite, and managerial ranks. While HR reports are meant for functional managers' consumption, their regular use of data can translate into the same behaviors and expectations for their subordinates. For example, a customer service representative can use customer feedback and preference data to guide a caller's issue resolution, or a corporate financial analyst can use internal customer satisfaction data to develop a new report or analysis for internal decision-making.   

Focusing on talent outcomes rather than HR processes moves the focus and value of HR reporting away from an inward view of HR efficiency towards an outward view of the reason HR exists—to support and drive improved organizational outcomes. Particularly predictive analyses, which establish cause-effect relationships between talent actions and outcomes, bring a new level of assurance to making decisions based on those. A dedicated team (especially a cross-functional one) can continue evolving reporting toward metrics and analyses that are more responsive to emerging business needs. Along with the use of advanced comparative and predictive analyses, they can provide a view into what is coming ("leading indicators") as well as what has happened and why ("lagging indicators"). They can be leveraged to model or simulate potential future events or circumstances and understand the impact on the organization's capabilities or capacity to respond to challenges and changes in internal or external environments.


Adopting these practices creates an environment where substantially improved objectivity in people-based decision-making is most valued. Building a culture that recognizes such insights' power and competitive advantages can drive better business results. The ability to predict the future with reasonable levels of certainty, to model potential scenarios based upon reliable analytics, and to focus leaders, managers, and HR teams alike on outcomes of a wide range of HR-related activities can only enhance the perception of HR as a valued partner in running and leading the organization. The use of analytics to inform (and improve) decision-making is the hallmark of other corporate functions such as finance, marketing, supply chain, etc. Through responsive and leading analyses and reporting, the HR function can elevate itself to greater influence as the driver of employee performance, productivity, and output.

Practice guides at this level

Establishing consistent and on-demand KPIs for tracking and use across the enterprise.

Developing "master" reports with filtering and sorting capabilities so all audiences in a certain group see the same analyses determined to be "Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)" for the business.  

Measuring talent outcomes vs. processes to increase business insights and impact.

The focus shifts from process efficiency and effectiveness to the business reasons these processes exist - to secure, manage, motivate, and improve workforce capabilities.

Deploying advanced statistical methods to better assess and predict trends in HR processes, policies, and programs.

Moving from descriptive or basic mathematical metrics to more sophisticated techniques that provide more meaningful analyses and reveal relationships or predictions between processes, programs, behaviors, and their outcomes.

Developing a company-wide culture of data-based HR decision-making.

The usage of HR metrics and reports become a standard part of the daily activities of leadership in an organization by collaborating with diverse user groups and aligning with their strategic objectives and operational needs.  

Creating a dedicated, cross-functional analytics team to "own", manage and evolve HR analytics capabilities.

Building robust, reliable, and best-in-class HR Metrics & Reporting capabilities requires the right talent with the right skills.

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