What is an HR Dashboard & HR Report? Examples, Visuals and a How-To

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The Human Resource dashboard and human resources report is an integral part of managing HR. Both tools are important for making informed decisions in HR. Why? Because it is hard to do so when HR business partners and other stakeholders lack insight into their own organization. Never fear, HR reporting can solve this! How? Well, that’s what this article is all about. We will outline the value of the HR dashboard. 

We’ll explore the advantages of a human resources report as well as the data and metrics which could be included. We’ll also include an interactive report and a few HR dashboard templates to provide you with some practical insights on how to get started.

Want to truly master powerful reporting skills and get the metrics right? Check out our HR Metrics & Dashboarding Certificate Program.

Contents
3 functions of an HR report
How to create a Human Resource report
HR reporting pitfalls
Metrics in an HR report
HR dashboard and HR report templates
FAQ

3 functions of an HR report

Reporting on the workforce is one of HR’s essential tasks. When done right, it offers three key benefits for both HR and management:

  • HR Monitoring. Regular reporting enables HR to keep a finger on the pulse of the organizations by tracking key workforce metrics. New trends and opportunities can be spotted early on and emerging problems can be addressed before they significantly impact the business.
  • Management information. A human resources report can also help managers in doing their job better. An HR report can inform managers about relevant developments in their teams and department. When, for example, the marketing department struggles with high turnover and a high time-to-hire, managers will be more likely to put emphasis on retaining employees and will be aware of risks like longer replacement times when someone is about to leave.
  • Track problem areas. HR reporting also offers a great way to track key problem areas in a transparent way. Transparency in turnover rates per manager will encourage them to pay closer attention to retaining employees because their own reputation is on the line! By tracking problem areas, HR can leverage its position to drive improvements.

How to create a Human Resource report

An HR dashboard is the most efficient way to monitor, manage, track, and report on data. Using this business intelligence tool enables you to track, analyze and report on HR KPIs (key performance indicators).

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Before you start to create your HR report, there are a few considerations to be made about the ‘how’ and ‘when’.

Automated vs. manual

A lot of organizations still work with ad-hoc data reports. For example, when a manager or director wants to know something about the organization’s workforce, they ask HR to send them a report. After this request, the HR data department will work overtime to produce this report. This is an example of (inefficient and) reactive reporting. HR reports should be deployed (pro)actively and should, therefore, be automated.

An HR report can be automated, if certain software is used to create it – such as Excel, Gusto or BambooHR. There are many software options on the market – these are some of the best HR dashboards.

Static vs. dashboard

In line with the previous point, there’s still a considerable number of organizations that work with manual/paper reports. This isn’t necessarily bad: When the information isn’t likely to change, paper reports can be quite effective.

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In addition, an email containing a report might be more likely to be seen than an infrequent update on an HR dashboard. This is simply because people won’t use dashboards that don’t constantly add value. David Creelman explains this in his blog  Why you produce HR dashboards no one will use.

An HR dashboard is the most efficient way to monitor, manage and track data. Using this business intelligence tool, enables you to track, analyze and report on HR KPIs (key performance indicators). It offers the possibility to drill down to the finer details.

Turnover may be an interesting metric, but how much of this turnover consists of regretted loss? You wouldn’t bat an eyelid when a bad performer leaves, but it’s like shooting yourself in the foot when a high performer leaves. These employees are potential senior management material. Interactive dashboards enable you to dig down deeper into your data and make these observations.

You can give all HR staff access to this dashboard or provide the relevant access or data for the relevant personnel.

While the previous dashboards offer simple drill-downs, more advanced dashboards enable you to predict the future through machine learning algorithms. This gives insights into how employees will behave, for example, which employees are at risk of quitting. This information could potentially be of great strategic value.

Note: in this case, the dashboard is merely the means of displaying the information. The predictions are made using specialized analytics tools.

HR Report: The Top HR Dashboard

An example of a Human Resource dashboard with headcount. Click to enlarge.
For more examples, check the end of the article

Hygiene factor

A final note before we show you an example of the HR report: HR reporting is often seen as a hygiene factor. This means that, like hygiene, solid reporting is not appreciated.

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To explain this concept better – imagine you are out for a meal in a restaurant. You are not likely to comment on a restaurant being clean. This is what we all expect! But, if you are given dirty cutlery, or the toilets are messy – you would (rightfully) complain. So, to relate this back to HR; reporting is not noticed much unless errors occur. Solid reporting, like cleanliness in a restaurant, is essential in maintaining credibility.

Luk Smeyer, founder of iNostix, wrote this about HR reporting a few years ago. We think it captures this sentiment well.

Of course, every HR department should be (extremely) good at this ‘classical’ reporting level. No discussion. No debate. Just do it. This level should be the fully automated, highly effective, super-fast, slicing-and-dicing, easy to read, well-structured, ‘just-click-on-the-button’ functionality in every organization.

Not every organization is at the ‘highly effective and super-fast’ bit yet. However, every organization should be extremely effective in its HR reporting.

HR reporting pitfalls

There are several pitfalls in regards to HR reporting. It’s important to address these as they will prevent you from getting trapped in a never-ending reporting cycle.

  • Automate your HR reporting: Don’t try to generate every report manually. This is highly inefficient and will drain the capacity of your HR data department. All reports described in this article can easily be automated and auto-generated.
  • Provide relevant information: Don’t try to make everyone happy. If you can make 80% of the people happy with 20% of the information, that may well be the best solution. Making an overly complicated dashboard and reporting on irrelevant data may lead to low engagement with the reports or dashboards and thus lower the impact.
  • Fix mistakes: HR data will have a human error! No matter how efficient your software, processes, and staff are –  there will be mistakes. When mistakes occur, fix them in the source systems.  And make sure to create procedures that are dynamic in the input of data.

Metrics in an HR report

There are several important metrics that need to be included in an  human resources report. Note that most of them are high-level metrics as they provide an organizational overview. We’ve published multiple lists of HR Metrics, including recruitment metrics and performance metrics on this platform. These can be used for specialized dashboards. The most common HR metrics that are being reported on, include:

  • Seniority
  • Gender: A common distinction for drilling into diversity data (see the example HR dashboard below)
  • Age: Age is becoming increasingly important in today’s multigenerational workforce. Age is important for strategic workplace planning and succession planning. It is also often a key focus point for organizations that want to innovate and reorganize.
  • Education level: Educational level should only be included when available and when relevant for the overarching goals of the organization. Otherwise, it runs the risk of being a ‘vanity metric’ in the HR report.
  • Function type: A metric like function type or function clusters might help to distinguish different groups within the company. An example could be top management, middle management, production personnel, and support staff.
  • FTE: A Full-Time Equivalent is the hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis. The number of FTE is often lower than the number of total employees. This holds especially true if there are a lot of part-time workers present in the organization.
    FTE provides an accurate measure of the total workload in the organization. In addition, people who work less than 1 FTE can be considered part-time workers.
  • Employees Active: This metrics represents the number of employees working at the organization.
  • Turnover: This metric represents the number and/or percentage of employees who left in the previous period. Read here how to calculate employee turnover.
  • New hires: This metric represents the number and/or percentage of new employees who joined the organization within the last year.
  • Absence/Absenteeism rate: This metric represents the percentage of time that employees were absent in the previous period on average. Another representation of this number is the total days of absence per employee.
  • Cost of absence: This metric is not a standard metric but it can make the previously mentioned absence rate more tangible by attaching it to a financial number.
  • Cost of labor: Labor cost is the total amount of money that an organization pays to its workforce. This number includes employee benefits and payroll taxes. The cost of labor can be split up into direct or indirect costs. Direct costs are the labor costs associated with people who contribute to the primary process (an assembly line worker). Indirect costs cannot be traced to a specific level of production (a security person guarding the factory).
  • Training cost: Training cost represents the total amount that a company spends on training new hires and the existing workforce.
  • Recruitment cost: The total cost of recruitment efforts. Typically, it includes the costs of external agencies, job advertisements, and, sometimes, lost productivity. There is much more to the cost of recruitment. Examples include the cost of management time in selection and training, and attrition – how long an employee stays in post. 
  • Time to fill: We’ve already touched upon time to fill. It’s the number of days between a position opening up and a candidate accepting that position. This metric will vary significantly between job types: software developers, big data analysts, and highly qualified salespeople are much harder to find than entry-level marketers for example.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Other metrics that can be included are:

HR Report Metrics

HR dashboard and HR report templates

To illustrate exactly what we mean, here’s a number of examples of HR reporting in action.

HR Top Dashboard

HR Report: The Top HR Dashboard

HR dashboard: Sickness & Absence

Human Resource Dashboard: Sickness and Absence Report

HR dashboard: Talent 9 box grid

This dashboard helps you understand where your employees stand on the 9 box grid.

Human Resource dashboard Template 1: The Talent 9 Box Grid

HR dashboard: Diversity

Human Resource Dashboard: Diversity Report

Personnel flow matrix

Simply capturing the number of people who join the organization and who leave the organization is often insufficient as it doesn’t provide you with the full picture. A solution could be a personnel flow matrix. Such a matrix offers a great way of representing how many people joined, were promoted and left the company, and also how these numbers stack up.

Personnel Flow Matrix
Based on Evers, 2014

This somewhat complex-looking table is a perfect example of a personnel flow matrix. The rows represent the four personnel categories (A, B, C, and D) and the changes between 2018 and 2019. For example, during the year 2018, 10 people went from a middle management position to a top management position.

The total employees on 1-1-2019 are displayed in the bottom row, while the total employees on 1-1-2018 are displayed in the rightmost column. The total turnover of 2018 is represented in the turnover column, and the promotions/demotions are represented in the matrix.

This overview helps to visualize organizational growth, turnover (this organization has low turnover in its production staff department, but all other departments struggle with turnover levels of well over 10%). It also visualizes its personnel development (note the 10% increase in top management, from 45 in 2018 to 50 in 2019).

On one hand, a table like this provides a great overview, on the other hand, it helps to identify some key organizational problem areas.

General HRIS dashboard

This HRIS the report we’re most proud of. It’s part of our People Analytics Certificate Program in which our students learn how to create this exact report by connecting multiple datasets using Power BI. As you can see for yourself, the report is fully interactive!

Another great example is the Valuing Your Talent initiative, from the Copyright Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). 

CIPD – a professional association for HRM – provides some great resources, including a case study on Capgemini. This case study was developed with Capgemini’s own people analytics team. The report contains some excellent examples of HR dashboards (all data is, of course, fictitious).

If you want to learn how to work with data and Excel & PowerBI to create this report, check out the HR analyst course page.

A final word

HR reporting and HR dashboards are often a stepping stone for organizations that want to move towards HR analytics – and that’s why this subject is so important. Depending on the company that you work for, different data will be relevant. Good luck with creating your HR report!

FAQ

What is an HR dashboard?

An HR dashboard is a dynamic overview of the most important HR metrics in one place. The HR dashboard provides a slice-and-dice overview of the workforce, their performance, absence, and turnover. It is key for strategic decision-making in HR.

How to make an HR dashboard in Excel?

It is fairly easy to make a basic HR dashboard in Excel. Create a Table (‘Insert’, ‘Table’) with the relevant HR data. Open a new worksheet and add slicers (‘Insert’, ‘Slicer’) for the HR metrics you want in your dashboard. Arrange the slicers to create your dashboard.

 

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