Author: Jason Hanold


What You Need to Know About HR Metrics vs. Analytics

“Metrics” is one of the hottest buzzwords in human resources these days, and for good reason: in this age of big data, numbers are driving business decisions more than ever before. However, while most companies have mastered the art of capturing HR data, many have yet to realize that simply gathering the numbers is not the end of the line. In other words, many companies are still making the mistake of confusing HR metrics with analytics.

This is an understandable error. After all, the two terms are often used more or less interchangeably by many HR professionals. But in fact, metrics and analytics are very different things, and understanding what makes them so is a critical step in learning how to optimize the use of HR data to make effective decisions.

What you need to know about HR metrics.

managementThe most important thing to understand about HR metrics is that they are informational. Focused on tracking past performance using hard data from a wide variety of sources, metrics help to paint a picture of the overall health and status of an organization, showing business leaders in statistical terms what happened as a result of past decisions. Typical HR metrics focus on addressing the impact and effectiveness of an organization’s human resources practices. If you want to know the answers to questions such as how many top sales representatives left their jobs in your company’s last quarter, for example, or what the average compensation is for software engineers across your organization, metrics can give you the answers.


What you need to know about HR analytics.

If metrics focus on the past, HR analytics are all about the future. Indeed, HR analytics are often referred to as “predictive analytics.” The role of analytics is to use past and present data to generate insights and predictions that will drive business decision-making. Whereas metrics are all about providing information, analytics are actionable. They take that information and use it to project and forecast possible future scenarios or potential outcomes of different business choices, as well as to understand the reasons why things are happening the way they are within an organization. HR analytics represent the tool you use to answer questions such as “Why do our top-performing sales representatives keep leaving?” or “Why are our software engineers dissatisfied even though they recently received a raise?”


How HR metrics and analytics work together.

Understanding the difference between HR metrics and analytics can also help to correct the prevalent misconception that analytics are more important than metrics. It’s certainly not the case that one is more important than the other, or that companies focused on metrics should be concentrating on analytics instead: this is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. We need HR metrics because they are the building blocks that make HR analytics possible. To return to the examples previously mentioned, the critical question that your business needs to answer might be “Why do our top-performing sales representatives keep leaving?” However, the fact that you are even asking this question is due to the metrics that told you how many sales representatives left last quarter. When thinking about the relationship between metrics and analytics, keep in mind that metrics tell you what’s going on, and analytics help you decide what to do about it.


How to ensure that you’re making the most of your metrics.

Given the importance of HR metrics as the foundation of HR analytics, it’s clear that the metrics an organization decides to track should be selected with care. The most useful metrics are those that are actively chosen with the goal of gathering data that will help better manage the business. Some basic mistakes to avoid when selecting metrics include:

  • Not tying metrics to business goals—There’s little point in collecting data for a particular metric if it isn’t tied to a specific business goal.
  • Choosing too many metrics—Selecting more metrics doesn’t always mean you’ll end up with greater knowledge. When it comes to metrics, more isn’t necessarily better.
  • Only using standard metrics—There are a host of common HR metrics that most businesses will measure, such as turnover and new hire rates. But while standard information is important to know, you need to ensure that you are not overlooking critical metrics related to your organization’s unique needs and opportunities. In other words, you need to avoid choosing metrics that—while they may be easily accessible—won’t help to solve problems for your business. Again, it’s all about understanding what you need to know for your organization’s specific business goals.
  • Not comparing figures—While it’s important to know the numbers, what you really want to get at is the progress your organization is making over time. To do so, you’ll need to set up procedures for benchmarking your data and looking at trending patterns.

6 Statistics about Employee Retention That You Need to Know

Employee retention is one of the most pressing issues facing HR departments today. Significant shifts in employees’ expectations about their working life coupled with a fast-paced, technology-driven business world mean that it’s becoming more challenging for organizations to hold on to top talent.

For HR professionals, cultivating a thorough understanding of the scope of the issue, as well as the key factors that drive turnover, is an important step in helping companies to achieve higher employee retention rates. Read on for a helpful roundup of six significant statistics about employee retention and their implications for human resources.


  1. In the US, roughly 3 million employees quit their jobs every month.

Nothing drives home the magnitude of the issue of employee retention quite like this surprising statistic, which is based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. And it’s important to remember that this figure is for voluntary turnover only. Layoffs and any other kind of involuntary termination aren’t counted here. So with such a high volume of employees walking out the door every month (and likely even more who are thinking about doing so), there’s no question that finding out why it’s happening and taking steps to stop it needs to be one of the human resources department’s top priorities.



  1. 31% of employees have quit a new job in the first six months.

In order to properly address the problem of employee retention, human resources departments not only need to know how many workers are quitting their jobs, but when they’re doing so. This statistic, culled from a 2014 survey of 1,000 employees conducted by BambooHR, reveals that almost one-third of new hires are leaving their jobs less than six months after they started, with the main reasons for doing so being an inadequate onboarding experience, insufficient clarity about job responsibilities and expectations, and an unsupportive boss. Fortunately, human resources has the ability to do something about these issues, such as creating more effective onboarding programs and building transparency and trust with new hires.


  1. More than 25% of employees are at high risk for turnover.

Research conducted by Willis Towers Watson shows that more than one-quarter of employees fall into the “high retention risk” category; that is, they self-identify as likely to leave their employer within the next two years. Since many employees in this category are top performers or possess mission-critical skills, it’s particularly important for HR to identify them as high risk and to maintain an open dialogue about the best ways to retain them. Another pertinent statistic from the same study offers a valuable clue: given that 70% of high-retention-risk employees say that they will have to leave their current company if they want to advance their careers, HR needs to take a careful look at what type of training, development, leadership, and advancement opportunities they can offer in order to hold on to top talent.



  1. Support for remote work options reduces employee turnover by 25%.

In addition to providing development opportunities, remote work programs are an important way for companies to hold on to valued employees. A study of remote work in 2017 conducted by Owl Labs with support from TINYpulse revealed that improved employee retention rates are beneficial to organizations that support flexible and remote working arrangements. In addition, these programs offer the further benefit of helping companies to attract and retain excellent employees who might not have otherwise considered the organization, such as those who are prevented from working in an office environment regularly due to a physical condition or life event.


  1. The lack of a pay raise would lead 35% of workers to search for a new job.

A 2014 Glassdoor survey of more than 2,000 US employees revealed that more than one-third of employees would start searching for a new job if they didn’t receive a pay raise within 12 months. This is an important statistic for HR to be aware of because it highlights the fact that even though company culture is gaining more attention as a major retention driver, salary still plays an important role. Therefore, it is a mistake for companies to believe that culture can replace salary parity.



  1. 87% of HR leaders believe that improved retention should be a priority.

Organizations that don’t believe employee retention is a big deal may want to rethink their position in view of the fact that the vast majority of HR leaders are calling retention a critical or high priority in the years ahead, according to a national survey of more than 600 HR professionals conducted in 2016 by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace. However, these leaders are also aware that they may face an uphill battle in bringing the issue of employee retention to the forefront: 20% of survey respondents stated that their organizations faced too many competing priorities to focus sufficiently on retention. Meanwhile, 19% of HR leaders mentioned that their ability to act strategically and in “big picture” terms was hampered by outdated HR technology. Moreover, 13% to 14% of HR leaders cited a lack of support, commitment, and vision from the C-Suite as another obstacle to improved retention.


5 Ways HR Can Support Managers with Flexible Working Arrangements

Few HR professionals would disagree that we are in the middle of a revolution in flexible working. A 2016 Gallup survey revealed that nearly half of all employed Americans spent at least some time working remotely and that the availability of flexible scheduling or work-from-home arrangements is playing an increasingly important role in employees’ decision about whether to accept or leave a job. Due to new technologies that make flexible work easy and convenient, more companies are integrating remote work as a standard practice in their overall workplace culture.

However, not every company is finding the transition from fixed to flexible work to be an easy one. For all those companies that are reaping the benefits of remote work—including enhanced employee productivity, efficiency, and reduced employee turnover—many others are struggling with how best to embrace flexible working arrangements so that they can serve employers and employees alike most effectively.

This is where the HR department comes in. HR professionals can be an invaluable resource for managers by helping to ensure that processes related to flexible working are fair and legally compliant, and that managers and employees alike feel empowered to get the most out of a flexible working arrangement. Read on for a look at five important ways that HR can lead the way in creating a flexible work culture that works well for everyone.

  1. Help the organization set clear goals.

While it may seem obvious that flexible working arrangements lead to increased employee autonomy, not all companies realize that this means that business goals must be clear and straightforward. When employees are working with increased independence and reduced oversight, the benefits will be greatest when they fully understand what they are working toward. HR can help by working with senior leaders to ensure that—from the top down—goals make sense and are easy to understand, and are geared appropriately depending on the organizational level. In addition, since goals can change quickly in the modern business environment, checking in on them needs to be an ongoing process in order to ensure that the focus can shift when necessary.

remote work

  1. Help to shift the emphasis from processes to outcomes.

While remote work has been shown to boost employee productivity, the perception nevertheless remains that employees who work on-site alongside their managers are more productive than their off-site counterparts. The perception can sometimes lead on-site workers to receive higher performance ratings and more promotions, which can cause tension and reduce team cohesion. HR’s role is to help managers focus on achievements rather than processes; that is, whether or not employees have met specified goals—not on how or where they have done so. Clear goals are important for this process, as are KPIs, precise timelines for when results will be measured, the use of tools that facilitate management-by-outcome, and modeling outcome-focused behaviors by executives and senior leaders to set an example for the entire organization.

  1. Design appropriate policies.

When it comes to flexible working, HR professionals must tackle the challenges of helping to design policies that are transparent and allow for discretion. Organizations must be crystal clear about the boundaries of what is acceptable in a remote work situation. Transparency surrounding areas such as core hours, check-in’s before changing work patterns, and appropriate work locations will help to ensure the practice is fair for everyone and that flexible working does not result in friction or the perception of preferential treatment. At the same time, however, employees’ distinct personal circumstances and backgrounds will play a role in their workplace requirements, and managers need to have the discretion to be able to set up a flexible work situation for one employee that wouldn’t necessarily be suitable for someone else.

  1. Ensure that the right technology is in place.

There’s no question that technology has been one of the main drivers of flexible working. Therefore, it’s very important that HR help to ensure that the appropriate technology is in place and functioning properly in order to allow remote employees to do their jobs effectively. The smooth operation of technology is usually prioritized at central locations such as offices and warehouses, although it is not always overseen with as much care in complex remote work situations. However, if technology isn’t working properly for flexible workers, not only does productivity suffer, but so does employee trust and motivation.

work from home

  1. Support managers with tools and training.

There’s a reason why many companies continue to struggle to embrace remote or flexible work: simply put, leading and managing is still easier (or it is at least perceived that way) when managers and employees are in each other’s physical presence. However, technology can help to bridge this gap. A range of new collaboration and communication tools means that managers and employees can check in with each other on a regular basis, ask and answer questions, and attend meetings—all from different locations. Human resource’s role is to help ensure that managers are comfortable using these tools and that they have the training and support they need to make the most out of them.


10 HR Technology Disruptions to Watch for in 2018

These days, the HR technology market is transforming faster than ever, and 2018 is set to bring even more fresh changes. Ten of the biggest disruptions to watch for in the year ahead include the following:

  1. A shift from automation to productivity

The early years of HR technology were strongly focused on process automation: developing and integrating practices like online payroll and record keeping, and software-supported learning management and performance appraisals. But now that automation has become the new standard—it’s no longer innovative to automate HR functions, it’s expected—focus has shifted to the question of productivity. Today’s agile, team-centric organizations face overwhelming workloads, and issues like employee burnout and engagement have become pressing concerns. The situation has left HR technology consumers and creators alike asking the following: Can we develop HR software that really boosts productivity and helps teams work more effectively together?

  1. Ongoing cloud migration

cloud computing

Cloud-based HR services have become very popular over the past five years, but many companies are still pondering the question of when and how to make the transition to the cloud. Typically, given the range of customized HR software and the broad choice of vendors, a large company can take as long as two to three years to complete a cloud migration. And given that only about 40% of today’s companies are using cloud-based, human capital management solutions, we won’t be seeing the end of cloud migration any time soon.

  1. Continuous performance management

There’s no longer any denying that continuous performance management, also known as real-time feedback, is not only here to stay, it’s transforming companies for the better. Supported by a variety of software and online systems, more and more companies are weaving a new, ongoing process for goal setting, coaching, performance assessment, and feedback into their operations. The results are tighter teams, more engaged workers, and stronger connections between management and employees.

  1. Feedback, engagement, and analytics tools


Evaluation isn’t a one-way street any more. Today, it’s just as important for employees to be able to evaluate and give feedback to their employers. As such, a whole dynamic world of real-time survey systems, organizational network analysis tools, and sentiment analysis software has sprung up to support this growing practice.

  1. New corporate learning tools

The next generation of corporate learning tools has exploded onto the HR scene, and companies can’t seem to get enough. From micro-learning platforms to modernized learning management systems to new AI-based technology that helps recommend, find, and deliver educational materials, today’s corporate learning tools are getting smarter all the time.

  1. Ongoing innovation in recruitment


Recruitment is the biggest marketplace in the HR sphere. With companies spending billions annually on strategic sourcing, candidate experience, and employment branding, it’s logical that recruitment has been a prime target for disruption in recent years, and that trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Chatbots and other new tools are automating high-volume recruitment in industries like hospitality and health care; open-source tools are transforming skilled job recruitment; and automated applicant-tracking systems are facilitating connections between candidates and employers.

  1. An exploding well-being market

Employee well-being is virtually inseparable from the question of productivity, so it’s hardly surprising that HR technology, content, and tools focused on well-being are set to become the next major business trend. As corporate well-being initiatives move from emphasizing “health” to emphasizing “reducing burnout” to emphasizing “human performance,” all kinds of tools and data are emerging to help measure employee energy levels, determine why they might be low, and provide personalized recommendations on how to improve energy levels. So far, the rapid adoption of these tools is driving tremendous value for companies.

  1. More mature people analytics


When it comes to people analytics, companies have been experimenting with models for years, but recently there has been an increasing shift towards more serious infrastructure investments that bring all personnel data together to drive measurable improvements. With embedded analytics tools now the standard offering from human capital management vendors, it’s easier than ever for companies to build a manager-level dashboard that provides thorough and accurate insight into how to make the work experience better.

  1. Better self-service tools

An emerging market that is poised for major disruption is the rapidly growing need for self-service employee experience platforms. With employee service centers becoming more automated every day, effective and intelligent self-service systems that integrate case management, document management, employee communications, and help-desk functions are desperately needed. So far, vendors are answering the call with AI-supported tools, including smart chatbots and cognitive coaches.

  1. HR leading the innovation charge

One of the most exciting disruptions to watch for in the year ahead is the level of innovation coming from within the HR field itself. Previously, HR approached innovation in a purely reactive way: waiting for tech companies to invent things and then figuring out how to use these new products. But increasingly, HR professionals are becoming disruptors themselves—experimenting with new systems and models for performance management, learning strategies, or recruitment—and then seeing which vendors offer or can create tools that support those innovations.