Sorry, what’s the question?
“We need to be data-driven” is a tagline being bandied about across all parts of organisations at the moment and HR is no different. It seems to be a convenient way to sound important, sound strategic and all too often push responsibility onto someone else’s shoulders. The real question, however, should be “why do we need this data?” “what do we need to decide?” and “where should we start?”. That is what we are about to explore.
As a proactive, forward-thinking, modern HR professional, what should you do to take ownership, add value, and be the principal driver for data-driven HR activities? Let’s start with what you shouldn’t do; You shouldn’t ask yourself or anyone else in the organisation “what analytics do we need?” or “what data does that require?”. Doing so will miss the point and all too often pull the shutters down on what should be an extremely valuable activity.
You should, however, sit down with your organisation’s leaders and managers. Ignite conversations and demonstrate that HR is a strategic enabler of critical decisions by asking them “what is the organisation trying to achieve?”, “where do we need to be in 6 months and beyond?” and follow-up with “what does the organisation need from its workforce to do this and therefore what decisions do you need to make?”. When you have these answers, you’ll find that not only has your reputation been greatly elevated but you have identified priority areas for workforce insight. This process represents a critical point for HR. The HR strategy takes its lead from the organisational strategy. Your workforce analytics strategy must take its lead from the critical organisational decisions required. This ensures any analytical output is focused on guiding educated decisions.
You may be wondering “what data will we require to do this?” and “where is it?” and these are valid questions but armed with your priority areas you are ensuring that this quest is being undertaken with clear purpose and tailored to your organisation’s needs. You will also quickly realise that HR is awash with people related data. Yes, some of it may be inconsistent and lack quality – a problem, I should add, that is greatly diminished with modern HR systems which include built-in data quality checks – but by focusing on specific areas, rapidly creating reports and dashboards, and constantly iterating, you will uncover insight to support your organisation and strengthen relationships.
Recently a growing number of articles have suggested that HR professionals need to reskill or face their influence dwindle in the organisation as innovation-led disruptors take control of data and analytics. It may be that there is an element of truth in that, but any HR professional – and therefore HR department – that is steering the conversation for organisational decisions is going to be value-add and highly sought after. Help your organisation to use data to guide critical decisions and you will be in driving-seat accelerating forward in this world where the road seems to be changing all the time.
Leveraging people data to make enterprise decision making more effective
In this recent Harvard Business Review pulse survey, 90% of survey respondents agree that embedding analytic capabilities into their organisation’s HR system would increase the use of HR and people data for enterprise planning and decision making. Learn how human capital analytics is one of the most powerful levers for business impact.