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Utilizing Headcount Data: Its Benefits, Sources, and Reporting

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July 16, 2021

Generally speaking, headcount data refers to the total number of employees working for a company during a particular period of time and is thought to be a key metric in measuring a company’s success. At first glance, this data source doesn’t seem very complicated. After all, headcount data suggests that it only includes quantitative information such as counting the number of people working for a particular company. However, this is not the case. Headcount data includes a wide variety of demographic and qualitative information surrounding employees. 

On a more technical level, headcount data is demographic information about the employees that make up a particular company, including employment status, job title, gender, and age. Headcount data is utilized in headcount reporting and workforce planning, providing valuable insights about companies from internal and external perspectives. It is important to note, due to the confidentiality needed to properly manage such qualitative details about individual employees, headcount data must be handled responsibly during both internal and external reporting. 

What is headcount reporting?

In its most basic form, headcount reporting is exactly what it seems – a reporting of information about the entire personnel working for the organization at a given time. However, two significant considerations make such reporting more complex and consequently more crucial than realized at first glance.

What is headcount reporting data?

Firstly, there is more than one way to count the employees. Back in the 90s, when HR departments across industries rebranded themselves to be valued as more than just additional costs, there was a running joke among CEOs that if you asked three different HR officers for a headcount, you would get three different numbers. So one way is to count only the full-time employees, another – to count both full-time and part-time workers, and yet another – to add contractors as well.

Secondly, there are multiple sources for employee data within the company. This means that the headcount report includes various information about the employees that may come from different company sources, for example, with part of the information coming from the finance department. The data in the report usually includes the following data types.

  • Job title and position
  • Job-status
  • Salary
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Veteran status
  • Exemption status

All these metrics directly impact a variety of business goals. For example, exemption status relates directly to budgets, legal, and financial obligations towards the employees, while sex and race are fundamental in complying with inclusion and diversity policies. And, of course, all the data is fundamental for future workforce planning.

This makes it crucial to choose a singular definition of a worker and unify the system of tracking data for headcount reporting. In addition, such a company-wide data-driven system would remove issues that arise from departments each working on their own when accounting for their human resources.

Headcount FTE analysis

One of the ways to unify headcount reporting within the firm is by employing full-time headcount equivalent (FTE) analysis. Employee FTE analysis involves calculating hours worked rather than simply counting full-time workers. This way, a single measure for all types of workers can be set by comparing it to the hours a full-time employee in the company would work in a week.

For example, if a company equates full-time with working 40 hours per week, an employee who works 20 hours would measure as 0.5 FTE. Thus, understanding workers by calculating and analyzing their FTEs allows companies to sidestep all the issues and confusion that may arise in reporting and workforce planning.

However, strictly speaking, headcount FTE is not reporting but analysis. Meaning its overarching goal is to provide insights into how working hours are used in the company over periods of time and in different projects. These insights, of course, are valuable information to executives and managers looking to improve efficiency.

Top benefits of headcount data

Workforce data is useful not only for internal business purposes but for other companies and investors as well. Here are some of the benefits of using external headcount information.

Lead generation

The company’s size measured by employed workers is one of the key firmographic metrics that help categorize organizations. Thus, B2B companies can use it to determine whether the company is a valuable lead for them when targeting firms of a particular size. When this type of information is put together with additional company data, the result is a well-rounded lead profile.

Sales intelligence

Additionally, as another source of information surrounding a particular company, headcount data can enhance sales intelligence by improving, informing, and preparing business offers. Knowing the number of people employed by the firm and their characteristics will give the sales personnel a better idea of the company’s business needs. Furthermore, it may help to judge how much potential value there is in the firm if they were to become a client and prioritize accordingly.

Competitive intelligence

Another way to track and measure a company’s business success is to compare employee data with its competitors. For instance, a competitor’s employment data provide insights surrounding their general business views and strategies. Likewise, 43% of HR professionals cite “competition from other employers” as the top reason for the difficulty in finding talent. Thus, learning from other employers’ best practices and shortcomings can help companies maintain competitive workforce planning and internal operations strategies. 

Investing insights

Investors can also find value in headcount data as changes in a firm’s workforce size provide a lot of insights into its growth trends. Additionally, various characteristics of a company’s employees, such as surplus or shortage of a particular type of employee, may indicate potential issues within a company, informing investment insights. Further, investors can enhance investment insights by leveraging headcount data when applied to various data-driven investment practices (i.e., predictive analytics). 

Where to find headcount datasets

Since headcount information is useful for B2B companies and investors, data providers are naturally aiming to satisfy the demand. Therefore, various alternative B2B data providers gather such information through available online sources and add it to their B2B company datasets.

Here, at Coresignal, we provide a wide variety of high-quality alternative data, including headcount and other crucial B2B data. As the quality and accessibility of data are top priorities here, our headcount datasets are competitive and provide high-quality alternative data for headcount datasets. But no words are as assuring as checking out for yourself. Thus feel free to contact our data experts.

Wrapping up

Ultimately, information regarding a company’s employees is more complicated than it seems. Likewise, analyzing headcount data offers various benefits for businesses and investors, both internally and externally. It is clear that a data-driven headcount reporting system advances business goals, and its absence hinders them. For example, data surrounding the employees of B2B companies can enhance business intelligence, and headcount data offers many insights that can boost investment intelligence. 

Frequently asked questions

What is headcount data?

Headcount data refers to the total number of employees working for a company during a particular period of time is understood to be one of the most assessed metrics that indicate a company’s success.

What is a headcount report?

A headcount report is a compilation of records of information about the entire personnel working for an organization at a given time.

Is a headcount report considered a KPI?

Headcount reports are considered key performance indicators (KPIs), as it a good metric for company growth, culture, employee satisfaction, etc. All of which indicate internal organizational health.

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