People analytics: Six essential HR metrics for 2018

With HR professionals identifying data and analytics as a top priority area for the profession, new analysis from XpertHR Benchmarking reveals six essential HR metrics for 2018.

Six essential people data points

The box to the right provides links to full data on six key HR metrics for 2018 - trending data for users of the HR metrics tool XpertHR Benchmarking over the past year.

Employee retention, absence and recruitment are the three main problem areas that HR professionals want to use people analytics data to solve, according to research undertaken for XpertHR by RBI Customer Insight.

The ranking of HR metrics data accessed by XpertHR Benchmarking users over the past 12 months mirrors these priorities.

Labour turnover

Retention is the number one data priority area for HR as we enter 2018.

Labour turnover rates have shown a steady increase since 2012, in line with the gradually strengthening labour market.

The median voluntary resignation rate has risen from 8.9% in 2012 to 13.1% in the latest XpertHR data.

Absence rates

The median sickness absence rate has risen to 2.9% of working time, according to 2017 XpertHR data, ending a period of comparative stability.

The increase in recorded absence rates could in part reflect a greater focus on HR metrics and people analytics among HR professionals, resulting in more accurate data.


The median total time to hire for managers is 13 weeks, according to XpertHR data on key recruitment metrics.

One-quarter of employers report that time to hire across all job roles is getting longer.

HR metrics and analytics

People analytics is a current priority for 46% of HR departments, the RBI Customer Insight research for XpertHR finds. A further 32% expect it to become so in the next 12 months and 9% in the next three years.

Besides tracking metrics on retention, absence and recruitment, HR is also using data and analytics to ensure that HR departments are appropriately staffed and structured to ensure maximum efficiency.

XpertHR's annual data on the ratio of employees to HR staff is a useful metric for assessing HR department efficiency. The median number of employees per HR practitioner was 62.5 in 2017, showing significant change from the median of 80 recorded by XpertHR in 2011.

The downward trend in this number reflects the impact of redundancies and restructuring during the recession and its aftermath.

Top survey topic pages

This box has links to the six most accessed survey topic pages on XpertHR Benchmarking, over the past three months.

This list covers a broad range of topics, demonstrating how HR has a strong need for up-to-date benchmarking data beyond the essential HR metrics identified above.

Topics here include learning and development budgets, employee engagement and gender pay gap reporting.

Robust data on gender pay gap reporting is particularly timely for many HR professionals.

This is because there are now just three months until the 4 April 2018 deadline for employers with 250 or more employees to publish data on their gender pay gap and gender bonus gap in a standard format.

Building an HR data culture for 2018 and beyond

HR professionals looking to begin the people analytics journey need to create an HR data culture that enables them to make data-driven rather than gut-instinct decisions, delegates at the recent Tucana People Analytics Forum in London heard.

An effective way for HR to go about building a data culture is for HR to collaborate and share knowledge with sales, marketing, customer analysis and other functions that are already making use of analytics.

The potential benefits of creating an HR data culture are considerable. People analytics can help HR make better-informed evidence-based decisions, according to 86% of respondents to the RBI Customer Insight research for XpertHR.

A further 77% believe people analytics can enable HR to engage with the business with increased credibility.

All HR departments should therefore look to ensure that they are embedding HR metrics data and people analytics into their decision-making processes wherever possible in 2018.

XpertHR Benchmarking users are able to access and drill down - for example by geography, industry sector or employer size - into the complete results for each of the seven essential HR metrics and 4,000 further HR data points from more than 150 survey data sets.

XpertHR is launching Retention Analytics, a powerful new people analytics product, focused on employee retention. Contact the team to learn more about how XpertHR can help you take the next step on your journey to evidence-based decision-making.