An employee headcount report, sometimes called an employee census, contains information about employees for a single employer. The information can be sorted according to job status, meaning active or inactive employees, or by characteristics such as race, sex, age, salary or veteran status. Human resources information systems, or HRIS, typically feature applications that enable employers to generate reports based on any number of variables. An employer's ability to generate reports simplifies human resources planning functions and tasks.

Employee Classification

Employee headcount reports are especially helpful in reviewing employee classification. Employee classification refers to whether workers are considered exempt or non-exempt employees. Exempt workers meet certain criteria according to the Fair Labor Standards Act for exemption from overtime pay. Non-exempt employees are workers who generally perform manual or routine work; they are eligible for overtime compensation for working more than 40 hours in each work week. An employee headcount report is useful for analyzing job titles and positions covered by federal and state exempt or non-exempt rules.

Equal Employee Opportunity

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, requires that certain employers complete and submit online an annual EEO-1 report. The federal government uses EEO-1 statistics for research and identification purposes concerning the U.S. workforce; the EEO-1 does not use this information to identify specific employees. Instead, employee information in an employer's headcount report becomes aggregate data reported on the EEO-1 survey. Employers report their workforce data according to total number of employees for each job or position, race and sex. An employee headcount report makes it easy for employers to fulfill their obligation to the federal government in reporting EEO-1 data.

Compensation and Benefits

Employee headcount reports are required as part of a compensation survey or when an employer contemplates making changes to the organization's compensation and benefits structure. Compensation specialists generate employee headcount reports based on actual salaries and wages, or they prepare reports based on hypothetical scenarios to determine appropriate wage and salary increases. Projecting the effect that rising benefits costs have on organizational budgets are another use for employee headcount reports. Longitudinal changes to health care insurance premiums and expenses related to employee benefits can be captured by generating different versions of an employee headcount report.

Workforce Planning

Human resources planning involves determining the level of HR support necessary for an employee base. An employee base is the number of active employees in the organization--usually enumerated by location, work site, department or other similar identifiers. Human resources best practices indicate one HR practitioner for every 100 employees. An employee headcount report, therefore, helps HR managers assess staffing needs for providing adequate levels of service to an organization's employees. In addition, employee headcount reports determine departmental staffing needs. Comparing productivity measurements with employee headcount data predicts whether the company's workforce can meet business needs.