Top HR metrics for 2019

With data and analytics still at the top of the HR agenda for 2019, analysis from XpertHR Benchmarking reveals the key metrics for HR to focus on.

Evidence-based decision making is likely to become a central capability for modern HR – using HR metrics and analytics data helps organisations make better-informed decisions and enables HR to be more proactive, XpertHR research has shown.

HR is well placed to identify, measure and monitor the people metrics that can have the biggest impact on the organisation. Regularly benchmarking how the organisation is performing on a targeted set of core HR metrics can provide an ideal starting point for launching data and analytics activities. Benchmarking is the use of data to compare policies and practices with those at other employers. Collecting, analysing and using good-quality data is critical to this process.

The three key metrics that matter to HR, based on analysis of traffic data for the HR metrics tool XpertHR Benchmarking, are:

  • Labour turnover. The median voluntary resignation rate has risen to 14% in the latest XpertHR data. This reflects current record-high levels of employment in the UK labour market, which are resulting in high levels of churn in the workforce.


  • Absence rates. Rates of sickness absence have fallen over recent years, with XpertHR recording a median absence rate of 2.5% of working time for UK employers in 2018, down from 2.9% in 2017. This downward trend could reflect employees’ ongoing concerns about job security (perhaps heightened by Brexit on the horizon), combined with HR’s increased focus on collecting quality data on this essential metric, leading to more accurate and robust readings.


  • HR department resourcing. HR metrics data can also provide HR professionals with useful insights into the resourcing and performance of their own department. For example, data on the ratio of employees to HR professionals can provide an indicator of whether HR risks being overworked and under-resourced, and to what degree. The median number of employees per HR practitioner is 65.2 in the latest XpertHR data, compared with a median of 80 in 2011.

Data can help boost HR’s influence

The application of data to the work of HR is not limited to these three headline measures. Other key priority areas for HR metrics data include:

  • pay forecasts;
  • recruitment metrics (such as time to hire and cost per hire); and
  • gender pay gap reporting.

Commenting on the findings, Noelle Murphy, XpertHR senior HR practice editor said:

“It’s important for HR professionals to use data to inform and reinforce people management decisions, policies and practices. HR can use data to solve problems affecting the wider business. This can in turn help boost HR’s own standing within the organisation.

“The most valuable HR metrics data for each HR department will vary according to the strategic challenges facing their organisation. But the potential value to HR of robust, authoritative data is common across all organisations.”

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