12 HR Metrics That Will Uncover Hidden Issues

Aug 17, 2022



"Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”    

— H. James Harrington, author of 55 books on
organizational performance improvement.

People analytics takes strategic HR to a new level, enabling a deeper understanding of underlying issues that, if left unchecked, can severely affect business outcomes.

With that understanding comes the power to control the factors at play to make improvements.

Some metrics, more than others, apply a magnifying glass to areas of the organization for more granular examination, enabling more targeted, timely interventions. They are indicators of efficiency, effectiveness, and sometimes cracks.

Here are twelve metrics in four categories, representing the employee lifecycle: Recruitment, Productivity, Training and Development, and Retention.


1. Cost Per Hire

The average cost incurred when bringing new employees on board.Cost Per Hire Formula

Internal hiring costs = recruiter salary, interview costs, referral bonus, recruitment technology, and other resources.

External hiring costs = advertising, recruiting software, recruiting fees, and agency fees.

While this metric will vary by industry and company size, the objective is to create a benchmark and stay as close to it as possible. This makes it a recruitment budgeting tool and an indicator of recruiting effectiveness.

2. Time to hire

The time to hire a candidate.

TTH = Average number of days between a candidate’s job application and acceptance of an offer

TTH will answer questions about the efficiency of your recruiting. Questions like:

  • How long does it take to identify the right candidate?
  • How fast does HR mobilize when they find that person?
  • Are there bottlenecks in the hiring process? If so, where?

3. Time to Fill

The time to fill a vacancy.

TTF = Average number of days between advertising the vacancy and the acceptance of an offer

When you capture data on the hiring process from the beginning, TTF will answer questions related to recruitment planning, the effectiveness of your advertising, and the speed of talent sourcing.

So how long should you take to fill a vacancy? According to a report published by SHRM in 2017, around 36 days.

4. Time to Productivity

The average time a new employee takes to reach the required level of productivity.

TTP = Average number of days between an employee’s start date and when they achieve the desired objectives.

This metric will provide insight into:

  • Quality of hiring practices—Do new recruits have the skills and competencies for the role? Were they properly evaluated? Did they receive clear, complete information about the role and expectations?
  • Onboarding - Quality of training and induction process. How effective is it in giving new hires a good understanding of their role and inspiring confidence in their ability to perform?
  • Management - Managers can significantly impact their team’s results. How effective are your managers in motivating and mentoring their team members?

Do you want your new employees to start strongly? It can take three to twelve months for a new employee to get up to speed in a new role.

5. New Hire Turnover Rate

The number of new employees who leave the organization within 12 months of hire.

New Hire Turnover Rate Formula

This key HR metric can shed light on important recruitment and retention questions. Is our onboarding process effective? Are you hiring the right people? Are new starters receiving enough support? Since people often quit their managers and not the job itself, it can give insight into manager performance.


6. Absenteeism Rate and Absence Rate Per Manager

This metric will detect a pattern of chronic, unapproved absences within the workforce.

Absenteeism Rate Formula

What do we consider a normal or acceptable absence rate? 1% to 2%.

What does your score tell you? It gives insight into your workforce's health, happiness, and productivity. Over time, the rates should be consistently low.

Pay close attention to increases because they could be a sign of a worsening work environment caused by anything from stress to a flu contagion, poor relationships within a team, or toxic work culture. A high absence rate may also be an early indicator of employee turnover.

Absence Rate Per Manager is a deeper dive that may reveal issues within a team or a problematic manager.

7. Overtime

Average Overtime Formula

Now and then, overtime becomes necessary, but when sustained over a long time or increasing, it becomes a cause for concern. It may be an indicator of operational inefficiency or a sign that you need to hire more employees. It can lead to turnover if not corrected.


8. Training Effectiveness

Collecting data on total training spend, training cost per employee, and training hours per employee is essential for determining the ROI on L&D spending. However, the surefire way to know if it is working, and therefore worthwhile, is to measure training effectiveness.

One of the more popular models for measuring training effectiveness is the Kirkpatrick Model, which evaluates training based on four levels:

Each level of evaluation employs different methods to assess effectiveness, with the higher levels showing the impact on the organization.

Training effectiveness metrics will provide feedback on the quality of your L&D programs and how engaged learners are.



9. Employee Satisfaction

You might think that happiness is an elusive quality that would be hard to measure, but it can be quite simple for employee satisfaction.

Regular (as opposed to annual or bi-annual) pulse surveys can be quite effective at gauging employee sentiment. Employee satisfaction links to lower turnover, higher sales, productivity, customer satisfaction, and eNPS—employee net promoter score, which assesses how likely an employee is to recommend their employer to friends and family.

If your employees are unhappy, they will be unmotivated, uncommitted, and unlikely to stay.

10. Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

Perhaps the easiest metric of them all asks a simple question:

“How likely are you to recommend your employer to your friends and family?”

Employees give a rating based on a ten-point scale and a follow-up question teases out the why behind their score.

  • Promoters give a 9-10 score.
  • Passives/Neutrals give a 7-8 score
Detractors give a 0-6 score

Employee Net Promoter Score Formula

This metric measures loyalty and is a good proxy for assessing employee experience and engagement.

11. Total Turnover Rate and Voluntary/Involuntary Turnover Rate


Attrition Rate Formula

Replacing employees is expensive. The various costs involved can be more than that employee’s annual salary.

You can dig deeper to uncover the causes of turnover by segmenting into voluntary and involuntary turnover rates. Voluntary turnover or resignations may reveal internal management or work environment issues, while involuntary turnover (terminations) may reveal recruitment issues.

12. Retention Rate And Retention Rate Per Manager

This is the flip side of the attrition rate.

Retention Rate Formula

Your retention rate should be considerably higher than your attrition rate. Otherwise, you have a crisis on your hands.

The retention rate per manager will help identify ineffective managers and signal a need for training and additional support.


About Pixentia

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.

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