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16 MIN

Learn How to Use Your HR Dashboard the Right Way

how to build and use an HR dashboard
Alexandre Diard
how to build and use an HR dashboard

In today’s business environment, it is becoming more and more important to make data-driven decisions. For this reason, many organizations are adopting a data-oriented approach on how they do business. In fact, business owners are recognizing that one of their biggest assets is their human capital. Therefore, it is becoming more important than ever to strategically manage employees in order to drive success.  

To make better data-driven decisions, organizations are turning to analytics. Having an analytics tool such as an HR dashboard at your disposal can help give you the competitive advantage you are looking for when it comes to understanding your data. But simply having an HR dashboard is not enough. A display of metrics that are rarely updated and that do not align with your business goals will not give you the edge needed to make the right strategic HR decisions. In the following sections we will learn what an HR dashboard is, what it is used for, the benefits of incorporating one and what characteristics a valuable HR dashboard should have.  We will also look at some examples that can help you get started with creating your first HR dashboard today.  

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What is an HR Dashboard? 

An HR dashboard is a business intelligence tool that displays a company’s key HR metrics in the form of interactive visualizations such as chart and graphs. These visualizations enable HR teams to leverage the insights provided by HR key performance indicators (KPIs) to make better data-driven decisions. An HR dashboard is an important tool to provide a quick snapshot of the effectiveness of the human resources function 

An important role of an HR dashboard is to combine HR data from multiple databases and data sources into one place. This allows all team members across departments, whether it is HR managers or top management, to see a real-time recap of the company’s current state without sifting through multiple reports or systems. There is a different, however, between reporting and dashboards. While reports let you convey information to others in the organization, dashboards helps them gain meaningful insights to support and guide strategic decisions.   

 

What is it used for? 

Dashboards are more than a communication tool. They are used in organizations to give managers a better understanding of their operations’ current state in order to make decisions on how to move forward. Knowing the current state allows them to more effectively set new goals and assess progress towards those goals. In human resources management, there are various uses for HR dashboards 

HR dashboards can display metrics related to all areas of HR. For example, a dashboard can display absentee and turnover rates to represent an overview of the workforce. An interactive dashboard can allow users to drill down even further to see turnover rates by location, department or even a specific shift. This breakdown can give meaningful insights to drive employee retention initiatives and future recruiting tactics 

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Benefits of using an HR Dashboard 

Now that we saw an example of what an HR dashboard can be used for, let’s explore the potential benefits of implementing one into your organization.  

Agility: One of the most important advantages of a real-time audit of the company’s current condition is having the information at your fingertips. This allows managers to monitor metrics regularly and run a more agile operation. The faster they are able to detect problems, the more quickly they are able to react to them.  

Efficient communication: HR dashboards can give you a quick, comprehensive and adaptive overview of the efficacy of your HR department and workforce management. It also gives you a way to easily communicate to managers and executives. While reports can be an acceptable way to convey information, dashboards allow them to understand the insights behind that information. 

Support Decisions: Thanks to the precise and examinable data and relevant metrics represented on a dashboardHR professionals can have a solid basis for proposing recommendations. For example, you can understand the factors that may be impacting your employee turnover or absenteeism and recommend interventions that are supported by evidence.   

 

What should an HR Dashboard Contain? 

There are multiple methods to creating an HR dashboard. Today, there are many software available on the market to create customizable dashboards with ease. It is also possible to create dashboards using Excel. However, an Excel spreadsheet can quickly become cumbersome to maintain especially when data is coming from multiple data sources. Since most software are easy and intuitive to use, they can help you build a dashboard without requiring considerable technical skills. Additionally, you can use software to efficiently and even automatically import data from multiple sources.  

Before building your first HR dashboard, there are some questions to keep in mind:  

  • Who will be the primary user of the dashboard 

  • What are the business objectives that you need to more visibility to achieve? 

  • What data do you need to measure these objectives and where does this data currently reside? 

     

Based on your answers to these questions, you can determine what to include in your HR dashboard 

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KPIs and Metrics: The main thing to remember when selecting which metrics to display on your dashboard is that they should be aligned with your business objectives. In other words, they should be relevant to the business and to the person looking at them. Furthermore, they should be displayed in a way that is easy to understand and that accurately reflects their importance.  

To achieve this, it is important to choose the right types of graphs to represent your data. For example, use line graphs to track metrics over time and pie charts to represent a composition of something such as the proportion of males and females in the organization. Bar charts are useful for comparisons or showing distributions such as the salary distribution across each department.  

Categories: To analyze your HR data, it is crucial to add categorical data to your dashboard. These variables can act as filters. Some categories that you can add include department, job title, location, contract type, etc. Establishing these categories can allow an HR manager to measure trends by category and gain additional insights. By slicing and dicing the data in this way, you can better identify the factors that are impacting certain employee behaviors.    

Time Component: Data can be tracked both in real-time and historically to track evolving trends. Connecting your dashboards to a database of historical data allows for an interactive experience where managers can compare current state to previous months or years. This way you can understand whether you have made improvements in certain areas or are slacking in others.  

Benchmarks: Simply adding metrics to a dashboard may not be as meaningful as you want. Metrics don’t mean much if you don’t have a clear goal or established benchmark associated with them. In other words, adding benchmarks can transform your data from a number to an actionable metric. For instance, adding your target turnover rate which is based on the average of your industry will allow managers to understand whether your current turnover is at an acceptable level or not.    

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Essential HR Dashboard Capabilities 

Whether you are looking for a tool to help you build your next HR dashboard or you want to improve your existing dashboards, you will need these essential dashboard capabilities.  

  • Mobile friendly: It is crucial in today’s environment for your dashboards to be accessible on a mobile device. Many team members and executives are spending less and less time behind a screen at a desk. Even those who are on the ground need to have analytics at their fingertips to be able to run the operations.  

  • Interactive: Allow users to drill down on different graphs to get more detailed information on the metrics displayed on the dashboard. 

  • User-friendly interface: It’s important to use a tool that is easy to use and intuitive for those interacting with it. A good tool for building dashboards will allow you to create compelling visuals and even include some templates for you to use as a starting point.  

  • Connected: Dashboards should be able to combine data from multiple sources such as multiple HR software. Set up a connection between your dashboard tool and all other relevant databases.  

  • Alerts and notifications: Set up alerts and notifications when metrics reach a certain limit or threshold so that managers can quickly respond to issues such as absenteeism by managing the staffing levels.  

  • Data security: Make sure that data security is a priority for your organization. This includes putting security measures in place to avoid tampering or manipulation of data that feeds your dashboards. Also ensure that your dashboard respects the data privacy of individual employees.  

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Examples of Valuable HR Dashboards  

There are many types of dashboards you can create that are related to different areas of human resource management. Examples that you can start applying to your organization today include but are not limited to: 

  • Demographics Dashboard: This type of dashboard includes metrics such as headcount and age distribution which can be sorted by department or role for more context. Demographics can give a broad overview of the composition of your organization and see the growth of the company over time.  

  • Diversity Dashboard: A diversity dashboard can help measure the effectiveness of the diversity and inclusion initiatives you’ve invested in. Metrics that can be included on this dashboard include number of employees by ethnicity, average salary by ethnicity or gender and male to female ratio.   

  • Talent Management Dashboard: Retaining top talent is a challenge that almost all organizations face. A dashboard that highlights the key elements of employee retention can go a long way in understanding the factors impacting the talent lifecycle. Some of the relevant KPIs associated with talent management are employee satisfaction ratings, training costs and turnover rates. 

  • Recruitment Dashboard: recruiting dashboard can include metrics like the number of employees hired year-to-date, number of applications per requisition, cost to hire, time to fill and more. You can also compare these to other metrics such as training costs, turnover rate and employee retention to determine the efficacy of your recruitment process. It is also worth comparing voluntary and involuntary turnover for further insights on your talent acquisition practices.  

 

Conclusion  

Filling your CEO’s inbox with reports full of HR KPIs is no longer an acceptable way to become a data-driven HR manager. Not only should the metric be actionable by including benchmarks, aligning them with other business metrics and goals is also crucial.  

Top management expect to see numbers represented in a visualization that tells a story about the business performance. Furthermore, they want to hear HR strategy recommendations from managers which are supported by solid analytics. For this reason, incorporating an HR dashboard in your organization is becoming less of a nice-to-have and more of an indispensable must-have. To get started, you will need to choose a tool that allows you to clearly and easily aggregate data in a way that is visually compelling and insightful.  

 

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