Four ways data analytics will transform your HR department

Change is inevitable. And it’s often driven by technology. Just as, for example, HRMS self-service functions gave employees direct access to their personnel information and that had a direct impact on the frequency and type of queries directed to the average HR department, so predictive analytics have been touted as heralding the next big shift in human resources. But how exactly? What kind of changes should you expect if you fully embrace your analytics software?

1. Different skills will be required

Big Data, algorithms, ‘competitive intelligence’, etc. – if these and similar terms are not familiar, you’re not alone. However, if you want your HR department to really reap the benefits of predictive analytics, you’ll need people who feel at home in this strange new world. Having the skills and understanding to ask the right questions, to interpret the data and analytic reports that your HRMS throws out, and to be able to translate that output so that key people in the business can act on it, will be essential. In the past, there hasn’t been a great need for data scientists in HR. Now there is.

2. Hiring processes will sharpen up

Potentially, your HR analytics features could transform any and all of the HR functions. However, in the past, recruitment – from applicant tracking systems to gamified assessments and social media-driven talent pipelines – has usually been in the vanguard of technology adoption. So, consider the potential impact of using algorithms to predict which candidates have a higher risk of leaving or underperforming; or using past data to identify the most effective recruitment channels; or to identify your next batch of high performing future leaders.

Make better use of your HR analytics features using this five step guide to getting more out of your HR data

3. Your HR department will become more strategic

A recurring theme over the last couple of decades has been discussion over HR’s ‘seat at the table’. About the need for HR be more strategic, to relate its activities and role to the overarching goals of the organization. Predictive analytics offer the opportunity to get that seat.

The right HR analytics will link people data and business data and show the impacts and interrelationships. In other words, show in numbers how people affect performance. We all know that relationship exists, we may even be able to explain it. But being able to show it on a chart is a transformative step forward and will help HR engage with exactly the kind of person in the organization who used to call human resources work, “woolly”.

4. HR will become more business-relevant

Part of the ‘seat at the table’ issue is that traditionally, HR activities are not seen as having a direct impact on business activity and results. That’s changing, of course, and has been for some time but again, predictive analytics offer the chance to consolidate that connection. Using analytics to make more focused and data-driven business decisions in areas such as performance and talent management can result in a lead over your peers in the market – the elusive competitive edge. If you can use predictive analytics in this way, not only will you have a seat but you’ll be moving a few places closer to the head of the table!

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall