5 Essential HR Metrics for a Productive Workplace

If you think about it, we live in a society obsessed with tracking progress. Technology provides us with the capability to record activities of all kinds. There are apps and programs to count our steps, keep track of our food and water intake, and even record our budgets. My personal favorite is a Habit Tracker that I use to keep track of how many days in a row I get up within ten minutes of my alarm.

There’s a reason we enjoy tracking our progress: it’s just plain satisfying. It provides a sense of measurement to our everyday routines so that we can keep our priorities straight. Metrics serve the same function for business, and especially HR.

HR alone entails so many metrics, you might need a new metric just to track all of the metrics! When there is so much to calculate, it’s difficult to know which measurements are the most relevant. The following five HR metrics are the ones that are most essential for a productive workplace.

Training Involvement

Several HR experts will remind you to measure the cost of training per employee, but a more significant measure of training’s value is found in the percentage of employees that actually participate in training and development opportunities.

The typical formula for this training participation rate is:

# of participants in training opportunity divided by # of employees eligible for said opportunity X 100

This is more than just making sure employees are completing mandatory training. Recording the rates for extra training and development provides a visual of what methods are most utilized and who is utilizing them. In turn, you may notice correlations between someone’s performance and the training that they take advantage of.

Human Capital Specialist Michael Schneider explains that the results of this metric will show you “if you’re offering the right type of training, if you’re using the best delivery medium, or if you’ve effectively communicated the opportunity.”

Average Performance Rating

This goes beyond the usual KPIs. An average performance rating can be calculated for an individual, a task force, or even for an entire team. Which statistics contribute to the performance rating may vary by industry, but all you need to calculate a performance rating are the sum total of all performance ratings and the number of employees that were rated.

You can also use software that will analyze data to provide you with individual performance or productivity ratings automatically, like Prodoscore. However you choose to measure it, the average performance rating can show you if anyone is falling behind or showing signs of a struggle.

Engagement Rating

This is one of the “softer” HR variables that can be tricky to measure. Schneider defines it as the “degree to which employees are engaged with and committed to the strategies and objectives of their organization.” In layman’s terms, it involves asking: Who actually wants to come to work in the morning? Who actually believes in the work that we’re doing here?

Frequently this is done through surveys, though if you do use those, be sure to pay mind that the surveys are actually completed. That’s right, that would potentially make for an additional metric, but don’t give up on measuring engagement in the ways that are plausible for you. Analytics in HR founder Erik van Vulpen reminds us this is one of the most important metrics, “because an engaged workforce is a productive workforce” that is less likely to buckle under stress.


There are a lot of subcategories within turnover that are important to pay attention to: voluntary turnover, early turnover, and the turnover of high potential employees. Together these make up your talent turnover rate, which is a vital metric.

Your turnover rate tells you which employees are leaving, and how frequently. Erik van Vulpen explains that while not all turnover is negative, “people often quit their managers, not their jobs” and often quit if they don’t feel valued and there’s little opportunity for promotion.

High turnover is pretty normal for low-performing employees or those that are not engaged. However, if the turnover for your high-performing employees is increasing, that could indicate big losses for you as far as talent and production.

Essentially, monitoring a consistently high turnover rate over time can tell you if turnover is seasonal or if it’s a chronic issue.


Yes, even though you may be out of school, you should still take attendance. The normal rate of unscheduled absences is around 2%. A growing absence rate could indicate dissatisfaction with the workplace, increased stress, or even an epidemic of illness.

If you notice the absence rate climbing higher, take the time to consider the array of factors that keep people from work. Has company culture become overwhelmingly negative? If you provide health care coverage, is it sufficiently preventative? Should you consider a remote working option?

More than Numbers

While the mere idea of measuring “human capital” can seem overwhelming, HR metrics provide some method to the madness. They also give your company insight beyond just the recorded statistics, as they give you the chance to recognize patterns that need to be addressed.

That kind of insight is priceless when it comes to cultivating a workplace that is engaged and productive. So don’t let the metrics scare you; they’re here to help.

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