Reports vs. Key Performance Indicators (KPI) vs. Analytics in HR

reports kpi analytics

Yes, there is a difference. Reports summarize current and past data. KPIs measure degrees of success based on the comparison of summarized data (actual) to forecast. Analytics are typically used to predict future performance.

In other words:

  • Reports (metrics) = what happened
  • KPI = why it happened
  • Analytics = how can we improve

This is an important distinction for HR, because most HR managers and executives are not necessarily technical. You may be requesting the wrong service from your IT resources, wasting valuable time when timing is critical to HR.

Using the following guide, you can be assured IT will deliver the right information you requested the first time:

  • At a high level, describe what you are looking to accomplish with your request, and its purpose (goal)
    • Summary of data (i.e., pivot table report)?
    • Comparison of the summarized data to forecast?
    • Information that will assist in future predictions?
  • Detail the specific metrics (historical data) you believe are needed for the project
    • Are you collecting the needed data in your HR Help Desk, talent management, or other HR systems?
  • Create a “dummy” example of your vision in Excel, or even manually draw out a picture of how the data needs to be displayed (graphics, text, both)
  • Ask IT for a quick prototype, if feasible, to ensure they are on track to successfully deliver on your project
  • Carefully examine the delivered project, looking for potential errors or incorrect assumptions. Generally IT is not as familiar with HR data as HR is. HR knows and sees the actual data, while IT is working with the “behind the scenes” database schema, which often uses cryptic names for data fields. HR sees “Date of Hire”; IT is programming with “sys1_doh”

Hopefully this blog will clear up some misconceptions about reports, KPIs and analytics. Unfortunately, many people (even in IT) use these terms interchangeably.

LBi HR Help Desk includes a powerful report writer, easy-to-use data extraction tools for building custom analytics, as well as 9 popular preconfigured customizable KPIs. LBi consultants are here to help you make the best use of your Help Desk system data.