The HR metrics that matter most

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HR software provider Ciphr commissioned a survey of 300 UK HR decision makers to find out which HR metrics they considered to be the most important to track.

According to Ciphr’s research, employee turnover rate is seen to be the most essential metric to report on regularly, followed by employee engagement and quality of hire.

The next most important HR metrics to maintain are absence records and employee performance measures.

Other essential metrics, selected by around one in five HR professionals, include reasons for absences, training qualifications, and training days per employee. 


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The most important HR metrics to track, according to HR professionals:

By organisation size:

Most reported on HR metrics

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To find out how HR teams across the UK use their HR systems for reporting on their people data, Ciphr compiled a list of the standard reports* that are most popular with its HR customers.

These are the top 30 most-used reports by Ciphr HR customers:

  • Leavers report
  • Who is away
  • Holiday left report
  • Reasons for absence
  • Departmental listings
  • Job and pay point in time
  • Absence summary
  • Starters for payroll
  • Start date report
  • Departmental summary report
  • Address details
  • Leavers by department
  • Birthday report
  • Job and pay changes
  • Bradford factor
  • Pay data summary
  • Name report
  • Turnover
  • Current pay report
  • Allowances report
  • Absence costs
  • Job titles
  • Payments and deductions report
  • Custom data
  • Job details
  • Establishment
  • Training by course
  • Jobs and job holders
  • Absence notes report
  • Service


* Custom reports were not included in this analysis

HR metrics explained

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What’s the most important HR metric to track? And why’s it so useful?

We asked Claire Williams, our chief people and operations officer at Ciphr, for a brief overview of some of the most important HR metrics to monitor regularly. Here’s what she said:

Retention metrics

– including employee turnover rate and average years of service.

Retention metrics help assess the ability of an organisation to retain its employees. High employee retention often signals a healthy work environment and is linked to employee satisfaction, loyalty and productivity.

Performance metrics

– including employee performance measures, competency levels / experience levels, and revenue per employee.

Performance metrics help organisations measure the productivity and effectiveness of their employees. They can help identify who is meeting or exceeding expectations and who might need additional support or training.

Compensation metrics

– including remuneration / salary costs, benefit eligibility / utilisation rate, benefits cost, and headcount costs.

Pay and reward metrics can help an organisation understand if its compensation package is competitive with the market rate. This is important in attracting and retaining top talent. It also helps in assessing the return on investment from employee performance.

Recruitment metrics

– including quality of hire (value of new hires), time to fill / time to hire and cost per hire.

Recruitment metrics provide insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of the recruitment process. They can help improve recruitment strategies, reduce costs and increase the overall quality of hires.

Time and attendance metrics

– including hours worked, absenteeism (absence by day of the week and unscheduled absence rate) and causes of absences.

Time and attendance metrics can help organisations identify issues with employee punctuality or attendance, which could impact productivity. They can also help track and manage overtime costs.

Learning & development (L&D) metrics

– including training qualifications, training days per employee, L&D spend per employee, the effectiveness of training, and percentage of employees with a development plan.

L&D metrics can help evaluate the effectiveness of any training programmes in place and their impact on employee performance and retention. They can also provide insights for improving these initiatives.

Workforce planning metrics

– including overtime (hours or cost per headcount), employee scheduling / shift management, and holiday utilisation / percentage of annual leave days used.

Workforce planning metrics help organisations anticipate future staffing needs based on current data and projections. This allows for better budgeting, resource allocation and strategy planning.

Diversity management metrics

– including workforce demographics / diversity distribution, number of grievances raised, diversity and inclusion, gender pay gap, ethnicity pay gap, and number or percentage of staff with flexible working.

Diversity management metrics help measure an organisation's diversity and inclusion efforts. Diverse workplaces are shown to be more innovative and profitable, and reporting on these metrics enables companies to hold themselves accountable to their diversity goals.

Engagement metrics

– including employee satisfaction index, employee engagement index, and positivity of staff.

Engagement metrics measure the emotional commitment and involvement of employees in their work and the organisation. High employee engagement often leads to higher productivity, better employee satisfaction and lower turnover.

Photo of Claire Williams with a quote

“In general, all these metrics help in making informed decisions, aligning your HR strategy with business goals, and ensuring that your organisation is as competitive and successful as possible.”

Claire Williams

Chief people and operations officer at Ciphr

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