The ultimate HR metrics ‘cheat sheet’: part 1

What’s the most important asset to scale a healthy business? Without a doubt, it’s people. But still, HR is one of the most easily overlooked disciplines in the workplace.

Personnel management is an exciting field, with many subdomains: hiring, training, employee well-being,… Essentially: it’s the art of building a happy, loyal and productive human team!

Nowadays, the HR sector is becoming increasingly automated. More and more software platforms emerge, which help HR professionals do the job. Needless to say, these new tools generate a lot of valuable business data.

The HR sector can benefit enormously from the insights that lie beneath. But how to facilitate these insights? In this article series, we’ll guide you through! We’ll provide you with a complete guide to a data-driven HR approach, with a full list of KPIs per discipline.

Getting started with HR data

Eventually, data will help HR professionals to make better decisions. But before we get there, there are a number of questions to tackle:

  • For HR software companies:
    • Which HR data do we have available in our platform?
    • To which HR processes does it apply?
    • How can we use this data, in order to help our customers optimize their HR processes?
  • For HR professionals:
    • What can I learn from all this data?
    • How do I use it properly?
    • Which information do I need to make better decisions?

So the basic question is: “How to transform raw data into something that is useful within the field of HR?” The answer is straightforward: with a dashboard. BI has done the trick for over decades. It’s even possible to integrate dashboards into an HR software or a customer portal.

The 5 fields of HR

Now of course, a dashboard is just a means to an end. What’s more important, is the content of your dashboard. Which are the key metrics you’ll want to visualize?

Example HR dashboard on employment & staffing

As mentioned, the HR sector covers many different fields, with tons of metrics to choose from. This seems like a tricky job, but it shouldn’t be!

In each article of this series, we’ll discuss one field of HR in detail. We’ll look at the most crucial KPIs, and provide you with some example dashboards. This will help you get started, and serve as a source of inspiration for your own dashboards.

We’ve divided our series into 5 major fields in HR:

  1. Employment
  2. Recruitment
  3. Training & development
  4. Employee well-being
  5. Financial & Admin

In this first article, we’ll discuss the field of employment. What are we waiting for? Let’s dive right into it!

Cheat sheet 1 : Employment metrics

Employment is a broad concept. In this context, we’re aiming at all things related to staffing or employee planning. When you’re working on different projects, it can be a hassle to plan your workforce effectively. You’ll be confronted with questions like:

“Which skillset do we need for the job? Who on the team is available? How much revenue are we getting from the project? How can we plan more effectively to cut costs?”

You’ll find this article most useful if you’re involved in processes such as:

  • Time-tracking
  • People placement
  • Planning of flexible workforces (contractors, students, freelancers,…)

Key metrics for employment

Now, what’s interesting to look at when planning human resources? In the table below, we’ve outlined some of the key metrics to monitor.

Before diving into this, this is how the table works:

Each column represents a key metric or KPI. Each row then contains a measure that can (or cannot) be combined with that metric for drill-down analysis.

For example: you could look at the total number of hours performed per employee, or per type of contract (freelance, fixed, student,…).

Note: you can also combine multiple measures on a single metric.

Employment KPIs
 Total HoursTotal RevenueTime to fill positionTotal number of employees/staff
Contract type
Billable vs. non-billable

Example dashboard for staff planning

Now that you’re equipped with the right KPIs, it’s time to present your metrics visually. But of course, you’re not on your own! We’ve built an example dashboard for you to get some inspiration.

Want to plan your staff more effectively? Monitor the revenue on your projects? An employment dashboard could look like this:

Next steps?

This guide will have HR professionals covered to make better decisions in staff management. What’s more, as an HR software vendor, this will help you understand which insights your customers are typically looking for.

Your next step will be to build your own dashboard, like the one above. With a tool like, this is relatively simple. On top of that, you can integrate it into your software application with limited coding!

To finalize, here are some extra resources to help you build your dashboards:

  • Checklist: 10 steps to build an effective dashboard
  • Whitepaper: Best practices in data visualization
  • Case study: How Forganiser added dashboards to their HR platform

Stay tuned for our next post on recruitment metrics! Which metrics are most important to you in the field of staffing & employment? Share your thoughts in the comments, and we’ll add them to the grid. 👇

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