Chief People Officers on the rise as HR leaders play catch-up with data

Chief People Officers on the rise as HR leaders play catch-up with data
Chief People Officers on the rise as HR leaders play catch-up with data
  • 83% of HR leaders believe all people decisions should be based on data and analytics
  • …but only 37% use data and analytics to make people decisions
  • 92% struggle to gain strategic insight from people data
  • 17% of mid-sized organizations now employ a Chief People Officer to put people data at the heart of their business

83% of HR leaders in mid-sized organizations say all people decisions in their business should be based on data and analytics, yet only 37% actually do so. This is the key finding from a new report ‘The use of People Science in fast growth companies’ released today by Fairsail, now part of Sage.

Data has revolutionized how companies understand and manage their customers, but their most important asset – people – has been left behind; many organizations admit to difficulties in providing even basic HR people data to the CEO within a day. Less than half (47%) could identify top or bottom performers and only 38% could show the overall churn rate.

The mid-sized firms we surveyed have fast growth ambitions – 30% of the HR leaders we polled say they consider their company as a gazelle (companies which are growing at more than 20% per year). They face significant pressure in retaining and attracting staff. For one in four companies, headcount is growing at over 20% to meet ambitious targets. However, less than half (47%) have high confidence that they have the best people in the right places to drive growth.

In fact, a staggering 92% of all respondents have issues in gaining strategic insight from people data. Forty-two percent said this is because data is located in too many systems, 32% find cultural resistance to sharing data and 31% don’t have the appropriate technology to analyze the necessary people data.

The research showed that there are, however, some organizations who clearly recognize the power of people data: 17% have appointed a Chief People Officer to put people data at the heart of their business.

Adam Hale, CEO of Fairsail, explains: “There are big challenges for mid-sized businesses to sustain growth and be more productive with a growing gap between HR leaders who get the urgent need for data and those who don’t. I’m not talking about simplistic HR metrics and KPIs, although clearly many firms do struggle with these; I’m talking about the power of People Science. This means being able to know why one of the firm’s top performers has quit, or what experiences new hires need in order to get up to speed quickly. It means the ability to hire and develop the right people today while building the skills needed for tomorrow.

“By hiring a Chief People Officer and taking a data-focused approach, mid-sized organizations can better understand the needs and perspectives of each employee, allowing them to know their people as well as they know their customers.”

The research also suggests that some of the biggest pain points associated with growth are HR related, including difficulties finding/recruiting the right skills (84%), managing performance/driving productivity (74%) and the inability to create great employee experiences (72%).

About the research:

The research was conducted across over 500 HR leaders in the UK and US in organizations with 500-2000 employees in Tech/IT, Financial Services and Business/Professional Services. The research was conducted by Insight Avenue on behalf of Fairsail in January – February 2017.

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