Frequently Asked Questions

What is benchmarking?

Benchmarking is the structured process to assess one organization’s performance against a group of other organizations, in order to establish a reference point or best practice. The goal of benchmarking is to identify potential areas of improvement to implement within the organization and to identify trends. An organization can benchmark cost, quality, processes, financial and human capital performance. An organization can also benchmark against a group of similar or dis-similar organizations depending on the outcome desired.

The HR Metrics Service is a Human Resources benchmarking service designed to assist organizations in assessing the performance of their human capital relative to other organizations by province, by sector, industry, location and more.

Where does the benchmarking data come from?

Benchmarking data is compiled from all organizations participating in the survey.  The organizations included in each subset (i.e. sector or industry) will be based on the responses each organization provided at the time of survey submission.

Why should I use the HR Metrics Service?

The HR Metrics Service is the only Canadian-based provider of quarterly HR metrics.

The service ensures highly-accurate data and requires all pre-screened participants to commit to follow the Standards & Glossary when submitting data.

There is a high level of support offered to participating organizations – you’ll receive a copy of the User Guide and Survey Worksheet to complement the HR Metrics Standards & Glossary and Interpretation Guide already available for free. Phone and email support is also available to answer your individual questions. All organizations will receive one-on-one support with their first data submission as well as a one-on-one review of their first report. The service is online which provides easy and streamlined submission of data.

Can I trust the data quality?

Yes, you can! The online survey is not accessible by the general public. Only pre-screened organizations receive the URL and are required to use a personalized username and password. All participating organizations sign a contract to ensure they are committed to submitting quality data within the required timelines. All participating organizations are also required to guarantee the quality of their data to 95 per cent or greater level of accuracy.

Within the survey itself, there is an initial data validation tool checking your responses from behind the scenes. These validations flag addition errors and guide you to the area need for correction.

Finally, all organizations receive a copy of the HR Metrics Standards & Glossary outlining the data definitions to follow when submitting data. Once data is submitted, the HR Metrics team audits each organization’s data prior to releasing any benchmarking report.

All of these factors ensure that we have the highest possible data quality and therefore the most accurate benchmarks.


Would my organization’s data be secure?

The database is protected by several levels of security. Participating organizations receive one personalized username and password to submit to their data and retrieve their reports.  No reports are sent over email.


What is a “data point” and why do you refer to it as a “question”?

Each HR metric is calculated using a series of data. For example, the following data points are needed to calculate the Turnover Rate:

  • Count of Resignations
  • Count of Retirements
  • Count of Involuntary Terminations
  • Headcount

The online survey is designed as a question and answer format for ease of understanding. For example, “How many permanent employees were working for the organization at the end of the quarter?” is used to prompt participants for total headcount.

How many questions are in the survey?

There are about 159 questions or data points in the survey. If you answer each one, it will result in 131 metrics.

How much time does it take to gather and submit data?

Depending on how much data you are submitting, the state of your data, and your familiarity with metrics, your time investment will vary. Keep in mind, the first submission of data will take the longest and will most likely include set-up time to learn the data definitions, create the proper reports, ask co-workers for data, create a data collection process, and document.

When you’ve got all your data ready, it is a simple upload of the Survey Worksheet into the online survey database.

Subsequent surveys are completed much more quickly as the data collection process and reports are already in place. Currently organizations report between 3 and 6 hours per quarter to participate.

Will anyone else see my organization’s data?

Benchmark ranges will only be provided where the sample size is five or more organizations. This will avoid situations where an organization may be identified by their unique data. Where we do not have data from five organizations the benchmark range will not be calculated. This step is hard coded into our reporting process and therefore not subject to human error. Although your organization’s data will never be shared with others, your organization’s name will be displayed in our participant list. This will serve to attract your competition and similar organizations to the service in order for you to benchmark against each other.

How long does it take to receive my organization’s benchmarking report?

To allow sufficient time for data auditing and ensure data quality, reports will be distributed up to four to five weeks after the survey closes.  Refer to Timelines for specific dates.

Who can I compare against?

We provide many different ways to create a comparator group for you to benchmark against. Within the survey every quarter, you will have the option to compare against the province(s) and sector(s) of your choice:

Sector(s) Business

  • Business – Privately Owned
  • Business – Publicly Owned
  • Cooperatives
  • Crown Corporations
  • Government
  • Institutions
  • Not-for-Profit

We have the ability to narrow down a comparator group by other criteria as well, such as:

  • Industry type
  • HR budget size
  • Employee size
  • many more…

These comparator groups are provided by special request since we need to ensure that there are at least five organizations that meet this criteria before producing a report. Survey participants will receive one additional report on an annual basis with the comparison group of their choice: organization sector, industry, size, or location. Comparison is limited by the number of organizations in the database. You cannot compare against a group which has less than five members.

Is my contact and organization information going to be sold to external vendors?

No, the organizational information in our database will be treated with the utmost respect and no specific data about an organization will be passed to any third party. The only people that will see your calculated metrics are you and the staff who run the HR Metrics Service.

Can the HR Metrics Service staff help my organization interpret my results and recommend action?

The HR Metrics Service does not provide consulting services. Our Interpretation Guide is a free resource available to help you to interpret your results.

How did you develop your metrics standards and glossary?

There are several measures which are commonly understood, such as Revenue per FTE. Those measures appear in the glossary.

For measures where the methodology varies across the board, the formulas were developed by scanning which formulas were easiest to track and provided the most reliable assessment of the HR function.

Our standards are a collection of the most common and useful metrics from all commonly published sources with additional measures or adjustments made to improve the scope or value of the measures included.