Workforce reporting is about communicating the value and impact of an organisation’s workforce. It is an important part of stakeholder engagement. This factsheet outlines what workforce reporting is, why it’s important and what should be included in a workforce report.
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What is workforce reporting?
Workforce reporting describes the process that organisations take to show:
- The value and impact of its workforce.
- The effectiveness of its management.
- How its people practice adds value.
The value of a workforce’s knowledge, skills and abilities is also known as an organisation’s ‘human capital’. An organisation’s people, like its brand and reputation, are intangible assets that can increase or diminish an organisation’s value.
A workforce report has measures about an organisation’s people and may include charts and narrative. It may exist as a document or interactive dashboard.
Why is workforce reporting important?
- Provides information on the types of people management practices that drive an organisation’s performance, and highlights associated risks and opportunities.
- Makes workforce matters more transparent and can help build trust in an organisation. It is a responsible business practice.
- Supports evidence-based practice, a core knowledge in the CIPD Profession Map for people professionals.
What do stakeholders want to see in a workforce report?
Different stakeholders are interested in different types of information, so do consider customising a workforce report according the audience.
- Employees want to know their jobs are secure and how they can develop themselves and their skills.
- Managers need information on actions they can take to improve the performance of their business units.
- Leaders are interested in understanding how workforce matters and decisions create value for the organisation and whether it is sustainable over the long term. They may also be interested in the ‘bigger picture’, for example organisation culture.
- Investors need information to help them make better investment decisions. Our research finds that investors are interested in the quality of leadership and management, how the workforce delivers short-term and long-term value, and employee satisfaction. They are also interested in the diversity of senior teams, an indicator of whether an organisation supports inclusion and diversity.
- Customers want to know if they will get good service and after-sales support and are increasingly interested in how organisations treat their workforce. Prospective employees would like to know whether an organisation is a good fit for them.
- Regulators and policy makers are interested in understanding whether organisations are operating ethically.
How do you measure the value of your workforce?
Valuing your Talent, a project led by the CIPD, provides a framework on the types of data that can be collected to measure the workforce. For a full description, see figures on p53-54 and appendix 1 on p68-69 of this report.
In summary, the framework organises the measures into subcategories within four broad categories:
- Inputs: Fundamental data about the workforce such as workforce composition. Measures within workforce composition may include average number of employees, ratio between full-time to part-time employees, and gender diversity figures.
- Activities: People management activities such as recruitment and retention. Measures within recruitment and retention may include employee turnover, time to hire and replacement costs.
- Outputs: What adds value to an organisation, for example, leadership capability. Measures with leadership capability may include, appraisal results, engagement scores and training outcomes.
- Outcomes: The quality of outputs and resulting impact, for example, organisational performance. Measures for organisational performance may include market share increase, profit and service quality improvements
Are there workforce reporting standards?
There are standards that organisations can voluntarily follow for internal or external workforce reporting:
- BS76000 valuing people in organisations. This is the first national standard to recognise the importance of valuing people in organisations. It was issued by the British Standards Institution in 2015.
- ISO30414 human capital reporting. This standard provides guidelines for transparent human capital reporting for internal and external reporting. Deutsche Bank was the first company on the German stock market DAX30 index to adopt ISO 30414 in its HR report.
To learn more about standards, visit our HR and standards factsheet.
The International Integrated Reporting Council - improving corporate reporting with a holistic framework of capital
ShareAction Workforce Disclosure Initiative - a voluntary movement by investors and corporates to improve reporting standards on workforce and supply chain issues
Books and reports
FERRAR, J. and GREEN, D. (2021) Excellence in people analytics: how to use workforce data to create business value. London: Kogan Page.
KHAN, N. and MILLNER, D. (2020) Introduction to people analytics. London: Kogan Page.
MARR, B. (2018) Data-driven HR: how to use analytics and metrics to drive performance. London: Kogan Page.
Visit the CIPD and Kogan Page Bookshop to see all our priced publications currently in print.
CAMPBELL, B.A., COFF, R., and KRYSCYNSKI, D. (2012) Rethinking sustained competitive advantage from human capital. Academy of Management Review. Vol 37, No 3. pp376-395.
PHILLIPS, J.J. and PHILLIPS, P. (2014) Developing a human capital strategy in today's changing environment: eight forces shaping HC strategy. Strategic HR Review. Vol 13, No 3. pp130-134.
WRIGHT, P.M. and MCMAHAN, G.C. (2011) Exploring human capital: putting human back into strategic human resource management. Human Resource Management Journal. Vol 21, No 2. April. pp93-104.
CIPD members can use our online journals to find articles from over 300 journal titles relevant to HR.
Members and People Management subscribers can see articles on the People Management website.
This factsheet was last updated by Hayfa Mohdzaini: Senior Research Adviser, CIPD
Hayfa is the CIPD's Senior Research Adviser in Data, Technology and AI. She has been writing for the HR community since 2012 and is interested in how the people profession can contribute to good work through technology.
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