For many, when they hear the words “metrics” and “analytics” they think both are generally the same – largely because both metrics and analytics are utilized by business leaders and HR departments to make key decisions on the future of the organization. But the two are actually very different. And to use them properly, it’s important to understand what metrics and analytics bring to the table and how to use them properly.

Related: Data vs. Metrics vs. Analytics

What are metrics

As the saying goes, “the truth is in the numbers”.

Metrics first begins with a question that someone is looking to answer. Then the metrics or numbers are accurate measurements based on the asked question or hypothesis.

For metrics, there are two types to consider:

Operational – these numbers are collected with a process or work function in mind.

Financial – these numbers are collected regarding the price tag that goes along with a process or function.

For more: see HR metrics examples

What are analytics

Analytics is evaluating the data and math collected to discover answers to questions asked. Analytics looks for patterns that are shown from the data and assist with discovering relationships, predicting outcomes, or evaluating key KPIs.

For more: see what HR analytics is and what HR analytics are important

How to uses metrics and analytics for HR decision making

First, it’s important to know what question or problem you want to address. For example, is the cost of hiring higher than last year?

Then you’ll want to begin gathering the information for the HR metrics. Per our example, this dollar amount can be found by adding up internal and external hiring costs and then dividing the total amount by the number of employees you hired in each period. When gathering HR metrics, it’s important to gather more than one set of figures to give you a means of comparison.

Once you have your information, you’ll want to begin drawing your conclusions or HR analytics from what you see. Per example, cost of hiring is 20% higher than last year.

Next, you will want to determine if what you found will be beneficial to the company and report your findings to the right person. Per our example, cost of hiring has gone up and upper management needs to know.

Lastly, you will want to act on your discoveries. Per our example, hiring strategies need updating.

What are the key HR metrics and HR analytics?

It’s wise not to go about operating an organization without some idea of the best way to do things. HR metrics and analytics help HR managers and business leaders alike evaluate processes and procedures so they can determine what is working, what is not working, and what might need changing.

For human resources departments, there are 6 key metrics and analytics they should be tracking.


Recruitment is a large part of the HR department. Sourcing and hiring new staff can be costly, so it is important that these are monitored. This includes:

  • Current headcount to monitor when recruitment efforts should begin
  • Demographics to have an idea where to find the candidate needed, best means for doing so, and means for diversity
  • Time to hire to determine if practices are efficient and cost effective
  • Acceptance rate to evaluate compensation packages and determine if company is competitive
  • Cost per hire to find cost saving practices
  • New hire turnover rate to understand if onboarding practices are effective

Related: Recruitment Best Practices in 2022

Time tracking

Time tracking is important if you are evaluating production practices, wellness programs or the effectiveness of a particular manager. This can be done by collecting metrics from overtime hours or absence rates.

Engagement and retention

To best evaluate the company culture and the satisfaction of employees, it’s smart to track the metrics of turnover rate and analyze the why. Consider looking at:

  • Voluntary turnover rates that look at those who chose to leave the company
  • Top talent turnover rates explore who and why top performers are leaving the company
  • Total turnover rates put everything together including involuntary turnover to evaluate company culture
  • Retention rates give out positive numbers and information of what is working

Training and development

For any learning program put into play, because of the time and money it normally takes to create, it makes sense to track the program. For better ideas of how training programs are working, points to measure:

  • Training completion rates allow managers to determine if employees have enough time to finish the learning
  • Time taken to completion allows managers to determine if the training is doable or if there might be ways to make it easier
  • Training effectiveness gives managers the information needed to determine if the training should be continued or needs changed.

Employee performance

How well employees are accomplishing the jobs they were hired to perform can be measured by the effectiveness of multiple factors, such as training performance, best recruitment practices, and company culture. This can be collected and evaluated by self-assessments, manager assessments and peer reviews.

HR software & services

To evaluate tools used and their performance it is wise to measure this as well.

  • HR software employee participation rate looks at how many employees use the software and find it helpful
  • ROI of HR software looks at whether the software is saving time and functioning effectively

How can HR software help HR professionals leverage this date to be successful?

When collecting metrics and analytics, having the right tools will make decision processes more efficient – giving you the results you’re looking for so that important and strategic decisions can be made.

HR tools and software can gather and store metrics safely so that no information is corrupted or lost. Also, HR tools and software can organize the HR data collected in simple to read charts and graphs.

From there, HR software can present the data in easy-to-read reports which can then be presented to other leaders and HR professionals who can make vital changes that will help organizations reach their goals.

Employee Cycle HR Dashboard
HR Manager shown using the Employee Cycle HR Dashboard Software to make data-driven workforce decisions

For more: see how to buy the right HR software as well as making the business case for data-driven HR

Key takeaway

HR metrics and analytics are what’s new in HR from this year, forward. Understanding the difference between the two and how best to implement them into everyday practices will keep any company competitive. The key to a successful HR metrics and analytics process are the tools you use to do this and having an employee data platform, like Employee Cycle, available to help you identify the areas of your business that need improvement is essential. Schedule a demo today and see how Employee Cycle unifies your HR data and helps you evaluate your metrics to create the best analytics reporting for your HR team.