HR Reporting: Measure Value, Elevate Insights, and Drive Improvements

July 19, 2022 Aaron Kinne

HR Reporting that drives improvementWhat’s the health of your organization? What are its strengths? Its weakness? Are you hiring – and retaining – the right talent? Can you spot and address trouble spots before they become big problems? To answer these questions – and more – HR and business leaders rely on human resources reporting.

Let’s take a look at what HR reports are, how they benefit your organization, and why humanizing the data they provide is so critical. We’ll also provide examples of common HR reports, explore some of the key metrics you can track, and how dashboards make it easy and effective to get the most from your HR reporting systems.

What is HR reporting and why is it important?

HR reporting is the process of tracking and monitoring key performance indicators within an enterprise – typically by using efficient, easy-to-use software technology. It enables HR professionals to clearly see the lifeblood of their organization, generate informative, insightful HR reports on its various functions, and make informed, intelligent decisions based on data.

Here are some of the ways HR reports can be an invaluable resource for your organization:

Identify trends

By tracking key workforce metrics and trends, HR reporting makes it possible for leaders to identify and seize emerging opportunities – while addressing and resolving problems before they significantly impact the bottom line. More effective planning Understanding the needs and shortcomings of an organization can go a long way in preparing a plan that positions a company – and its workers – for future success. When HR teams have a clear and accurate vision of needs, they can do strategic planning far more effectively.

More informed hiring decisions

As we all know, employee turnover can cost an organization dearly – between 50% and 150% of salary according to a Korn Ferry study. That’s why there’s such a high premium on the performance of an organization’s recruiting process. By analyzing data on current and past hires, you can improve your recruitment process by identifying and applying the qualities and commonalities that characterize your organization’s most successful, productive, and engaged employees.

Measure the value of HR

Learning and development. Compensation and benefits. Recruitment, hiring, and onboarding. Those are just some of the initiatives that define the value of HR to an organization. HR reports let you demonstrate – in a pure, empirical manner based on data – the role your HR department plays in advancing key initiatives.

Why “humanizing” data is so important

Human applications – such as those that comprise the Workhuman® Cloud – are unlike administrative HR reporting software solutions that simply manage data, governance, and bureaucratic tasks. While administrative HR software does a great job monitoring time, expenses, and compliance, human applications infuse humanity into HR data by “celebrating employees for who they are and what they do,” notes Eric Mosley, Workhuman® co-founder and CEO.

[Human applications] are designed to bring humanity to the workforce,” he adds. “They’re designed to deepen relationships between employees, to solve the hierarchy of needs that are above the physical – the needs of the mind, the needs for social connection, the need for positive reinforcement.

Greg Stevens, senior director, people analytics at Workhuman observed:”It’s about all of the people that each individual employee at your organization works with, has congratulated, has provided feedback, has received feedback.” 

“All of these rich connections are about how work is actually getting done. All of these ties between people go beyond so much more than just a feel-good point of connection. They convey information about how work should be done, what are the key values of your organization, and how they are understood by everybody – from front-line employees to the C-suite.”

The focus of human applications is on people and relationships. In this way, they help humans:

Employee-driven, collaborative, and social in nature, human applications celebrate deep connections, diversity, and individuality. And they are inclusive, open, and accessible to all. In short, they bring humanity to data in a way that administrative apps – by their very nature – can’t possibly hope to do.

How human apps create a more human – and productive – workplace

Workhuman has identified eight ways human applications unlock creativity, innovation, and performance in the workplace:

  1. They boost employee engagement – Human apps bring employees’ voices into the conversation so they become deeply committed to your organization’s mission.
  2. They create a culture of belonging – Human apps build and support relationships, bring people together, and increase a sense of community.
  3. They promote diversity and inclusion – Because they elevate all voices and reveal organizational patterns, human apps encourage equality and involvement for all.
  4. They enhance employee retention and the employer brand – Human applications create an emotional bond between your employees and your organization – making it less likely they’ll leave.
  5. They boost productivity and performance – Research shows that when employees are recognized and receive feedback for their good work, they’re happier, perform better, and have a direct impact on the bottom line.
  6. They align your employees to your company’s vision, goals, and values – Human apps – such as recognition and feedback – connect employees to company directives which leads to greater productivity.
  7. They build trust in leadership – By increasing the transparency and visibility of leaders, human apps help create a culture of trust.
  8. They provide meaningful data on your employees – Human apps give leaders invaluable analytics on the lifeblood of the organization so that managers can address concerns and seize opportunities. ​

Human apps – by the numbers

Findings from Workhuman® iQ put some hard numbers on the bottom-line benefits of human applications. The team found apps that promote social recognition and continuous performance management have a dramatic, measurable impact on an organization. Some of its findings include:

  • Peer-to-peer awards generate a more than 20% reduction in turnover when compared to the combination of peer-to-peer e-thanks and a cash award from a manager
  • Peer-to-peer points have more than 3x the impact in reducing turnover when compared to an equivalent cash reward
  • Employees who have check-ins with their manager are 5x more likely to set priorities than those who do not

Additional research from Workhuman supports the business case for human applications in terms of retention, productivity, engagement, and the employee experience. In short, implementing human applications is a smart business decision – one that delivers a powerful ROI for any organization.

While there is a place for HR administrative reports within an organization, “you have to move from data collection to human connection,” notes Eric Mosley.

Examples of human resources reports and the metrics they track

Recruitment reports

A recruiting report can reveal such metrics as vacancies, average days open, cost per vacancy, cost per hire, temporary staffing, agency costs and search fees. Some companies also track hiring-manager satisfaction and candidate satisfaction. And it’s all presented in one place, giving leaders a clear overview of recruitment activity, effectiveness, and cost.

Performance management reports

Traditional employee performance data typically includes baseline information on a worker’s productivity, performance, and achievements. But today, there is more progressive, continuous performance management technology – such as Conversations® from Workhuman – that looks at the employee’s agile development through regular check-ins with managers, and draws on feedback from peers across the organization.

Compensation reports

Because it is directly related to money and the bottom line, compensation reporting is often a key focal point for many senior executives. They want to be sure they are getting a maximum Return on Employee Investment (ROEI).

Metrics measured in such reports might include average compensation (or average compensation by employee level), the cost of benefits per employee, benefit as a percentage of salary, benefits as a percentage of revenue (or operating expenses), overtime, healthcare costs, or recognition spend.

Diversity and inclusion report

HR and business leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance of making diversity, equity, and inclusion part of their organization’s DNA. It’s not just the “right” thing to do, it also has real and profound business benefits – such as attracting and retaining the top talent companies need to thrive. A diversity report not only tells leaders the breakdown based on gender, age, and ethnicity, it can also report on compliance.

Employee engagement

For engagement reporting, companies have long relied on the annual employee survey, and in fact, they are often called employee engagement surveys. However, as the dynamics of the world of work continue to change, it’s critical that leaders have fresh, reliable insight into the hopes, fears, concerns, and goals of their employees.

That’s particularly important in today’s diffused work environment, in which so many humans are now working remotely. That’s why the traditional, once-a-year employee engagement survey in many cases has been replaced – or at least augmented – by agile, easy, low- or no-cost employee pulse survey tools such as Workhuman’s Moodtracker®.


As noted above, the cost of turnover is a significant one for organizations, so having timely (at least monthly) and accurate information on how many employees leave the organization – both voluntarily and involuntarily – is of vital importance.

In addition to cost, a high turnover rate often results in decreased productivity, extra strain, lower trust, and a degraded company culture and morale. Turnover rate reports can give you an important gauge on how your organization is doing in the vital area of employee retention.

What is an HR dashboard and how should you build one?

Just like the dashboard of a car, an HR dashboard clearly organizes and displays data in a way that makes it easier to monitor, manage, track, and report on the lifeblood of a company.

In this way, HR dashboards shine a light on HR successes and challenges, illuminate a path to the future, provide a nuanced picture of all that HR has to offer, and shape the company’s decision-making around human capital.

Here are a few guidelines to use in building an effective HR dashboard for your company.

Consider your audience

Who will be looking at this dashboard? What is it they care about or would find actionable? Don’t collect data just to collect it. Collect it because it is meaningful to someone in your organization. If you’re not sure about what they would find actionable, ask them to choose the metrics themselves.

Don’t overdo it

You could easily assemble a monster dashboard of 100 metrics to report on. SHRM offers a comprehensive collection of calculators that measure all manner of HR driven metrics, and one could definitely get carried away playing with their list.

But Dr. John Sullivan from ERE suggests limiting your dashboard to 8-12 metrics. He writes: “Because collecting data and calculating metrics is time-consuming and expensive, it’s important to focus your energies on the ones that really matter.”

Look forward

Many metrics are backward-looking, telling a story of what has happened. Other HR analytics are more useful in predicting and mapping the future. Your dashboard should contain some of each type to show not only where you’ve been, but where you’re going. Every metric you collect should be linked to some future course of action. If it isn’t actionable, consider dropping it.

Think creatively

Think beyond simple turnover and recruitment stats. What sort of insights about your organization can you glean from data you are already collecting?

Presentation matters

You should make an effort to present your data in a clear and concise way. Infographics can be an excellent method for presenting this kind of data – but even if you are graphically challenged, a clean set of charts can make a big difference in getting the attention your data receives.

What skills and tools do you need for effective HR reporting?

By now you’ve seen that HR reports – presented in clear, concise, and meaningful dashboards – yield a vast trove of valuable information and insights that can have a huge impact on the business. Now, the challenge for HR is to get the word out to its various constituencies.

Your HR department should consider issuing HR reports on an ongoing basis – many HR departments issue monthly or even a weekly report – covering such areas as:

  • Hired employees
  • Recruiting reports
  • Turnover analysis
  • Retention rates
  • Performance reports
  • And more!

As the need for more robust HR analytics has grown, many organizations have turned to comprehensive AI-powered social analytics solutions, such as Workhuman iQ. Such HR analytics tools provide an in-depth view into the employee experience using an amalgamation of data gathered from worldwide employee behavior to understand motivations, behaviors, and sentiment.

These insights, analyzed by psychologists, data scientists, researchers, linguists, and engineers, are so much more than what you get from traditional surveys and focus groups.


Human resource reporting provides a vital tool for HR managers looking to gain a deep, accurate understanding of the lifeblood of their organization – and make informed decisions that can help the organization achieve its business objectives. The HR metrics they deliver are a vital tool in gauging employee satisfaction, employee productivity, and employee performance.

Go beyond simple human resource reports to rich, real-time analytics.

Learn how Workhuman iQ – the HR industry’s most comprehensive, AI-powered social analytics solution – can provide rich, powerful data that can transform your organization.

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About the Author

Aaron Kinne

Aaron Kinne is a senior writer at Workhuman.

Human Resources