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What are HR dashboards and how do they help small businesses like yours?

What are HR dashboards and how do they help small businesses like yours?

If you’re responsible for HR at a startup or small business, you’re probably aware of the existence of HR dashboards. But do you know exactly what they are or what they do? And could you confidently explain how they will help your business? 

If your answer to any of those questions is no, then this blog is for you.

As a product manager and former customer advocate at Charlie, I’m responsible for our product planning and user research. Talking with small businesses and understanding their unique needs is an essential part of my role — it’s how we create and release new Charlie features that are fully tailored to suit.

I know that a good HR dashboard is an essential tool for a small business, but I also understand that it needs to be affordable, intuitive, and user-friendly to be a viable option. And finding an HR dashboard that meets the criteria can be tough.

In this blog, I’ll explain what HR dashboards are, and highlight some of the barriers and benefits for small businesses. And where it makes sense to mention it or better illustrates a point, I’ll talk about how our HR metrics dashboard works at Charlie.

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What is an HR dashboard? 

An HR dashboard is a place to gather HR data, and build and visualise HR reports.  

Sophisticated HR dashboards hold all of a company’s HR-related data (employee details, payroll, time off, etc.), and then translate it into different reports. These reports can be exported into graphs and charts to display the data visually so that it may be better reviewed and understood. 

HR dashboards are great for small businesses and startups because of their built-in reporting functionality, which allows small business owners and HR leads to track and analyse data (and report on HR KPIs) easily and professionally. The insight from HR dashboard reports can be used to make all sorts of improvements across a business, from employee engagement and performance, to recruitment. 

Why is it important to collect HR data in a centralised HR dashboard?

Collecting HR data in a centralised HR dashboard enables small business owners to view and analyse information relating to their employees quickly and easily. This is important because you can then make decisions based on real data and by tracking patterns and trends. 

Information related to employees is hugely useful, but is likely to go untapped if it’s not properly collected or easily analysed. 

HR dashboards do both of these things, so they’re a win-win for small businesses. 

The data collected in an HR dashboard can be used strategically to implement changes and improvements across a business. For example, you could track employee engagement through your HR dashboard and use the data to predict turnover and increase your engagement rate. This will save you time and money in the long-run, and help to keep good people working for you. 

HR dashboards give small businesses an easy and reliable way of gathering and storing valuable HR data, which in turn enables meaningful and strategic decision making

What type of data should you collect in an HR dashboard (and why)?

In HR dashboards like Charlie, you can collect essential employee data as standard, and gather additional data through engagement surveys and polls. 

As not all HR dashboards are as sophisticated as Charlie (which is built for small business, so it offers functionality and affordability), these are the metrics that any HR dashboard should pull through as a minimum:

Basic and full team member data

This is the basic data associated with every member of your team:

  • Login information and personal email
  • Date of birth 
  • Gender
  • Start date 
  • Job title

Full team data includes employment status, contact details, salary, and any key documents that are saved to an employee’s profile.

Collect and store team members' data using Charlie's HR dashboard

Payroll data

This is all data you use for running your payroll process internally, or passing to an external accountant or agency:

  • Bank details
  • National Insurance number
  • Salary, including currency, frequency and date effective from
  • Full address

In Charlie, you can pair this with the Payroll Changes’ log to identify any updated details. 

Time off overview

All time off data for your team, including:

  • Individual leave allowances
  • Leave days approved
  • Leave days taken 
  • Any manual leave limit adjustments
  • Any imported leave days

Monthly, yearly, and (all time) time off requests

Individual time off requests and associated data:

  • Start date
  • End date
  • Overlaps with
  • Actioned on
  • Created at
  • Updated at

Useful for understanding individual time off types, or the specifics of when and who a request was approved by.

Keep track of your employees' time off with Charlie's HR dashboard

Sick leave

Your team's sick leave totals.

New starters and archived team members 

Who has joined and left your company. This is useful for understanding turnover, and working out your head count at different points in time. 

Track headcount and turnover with Charlie's HR dashboard

Whatever HR dashboard you choose for your business, ensure it collects and reports on all of the data above.

Common barriers for small businesses 

Despite HR dashboards being hugely beneficial, small businesses are much more likely to encounter barriers when trying to implement them. 

Do any of these feel familiar?

Budget: Small businesses typically operate on tight budgets. Investing in a comprehensive HR dashboard solution can be costly, so it can be a struggle to find a tool that meets their needs without going over budget. (Side note from Charlie: that’s why our HR dashboard is affordable — we made it for small businesses, so the cost will never be prohibitive.)

Integrations: Small businesses often end up using various tools for different aspects of HR (payroll, employee management, and benefits administration etc.). So finding an HR dashboard solution that seamlessly integrates with these can be a challenge. (Side note from Charlie: our HR dashboard is an all-in-one solution for all things HR, so you don’t have this problem.)

Lack of IT expertise: Small businesses are unlikely to have dedicated IT personnel to implement and manage sophisticated HR dashboards, which can cause difficulties in setup, customisation, and ongoing maintenance. (Side note from Charlie: our system collects all the data you need automatically, so you don’t need to set up a thing!)

User-friendliness: Small businesses need an HR dashboard that is intuitive and user-friendly. A solution that is too complex or requires extensive training just isn’t practical for a small team with limited resources. (Side note from Charlie: we built our HR dashboard with startups and small companies in mind — it’s so simple to use that you and your team won't require any training.)

Limited time: Small business owners often ‘wear multiple hats’ and do not have the luxury of time for implementing new systems. So rapid deployment and minimal disruption to daily operations is essential. (Side note from Charlie: you can launch our HR dashboard with one click!)

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Easily collect data with CharlieHR’s dashboard

From the side notes above, we hope that you’re beginning to understand what we’re all about at Charlie…

Our aim is to make HR effortless. And that means our HR software doesn’t just do what you need it to do, it also combats the barriers to setting it up in the first place. 

With Charlie, you’ll collect your HR data in beautiful, user-friendly dashboards that are quick and simple to set up

To give you an idea of how, these are just some of the built-in reports we offer:

Time off

  • Time off usage (daily)
  • Holiday used this leave year (daily)
  • Sick leave per month and year
  • Work from home usage
  • Leave types: what type of time off are most used and when

Team members

  • Headcount: including joiners and leavers
  • Average tenure
  • Retention rate
  • Diversity reports
  • All contact information
  • Emergency contacts
  • Birthdays and work anniversaries


  • Joiners
  • Leavers
  • Tenure


  • Salary changes report

And in addition to the built-in reports, you can easily build custom reports to track any other HR metrics that are important for your business.

Because it’s built for small businesses, Charlie’s HR dashboard automates everything you need, and can be customised to deliver everything you want. 

HR dashboards may be essential, but they shouldn’t be costly or stressful. Try Charlie for free today

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