How HRMS Can Help You Identify HR KPIs

In the HR data blizzard, knowing what to measure is half the battle. You can have the best and most sophisticated Big Data cruncher in the world, but if you don’t know which target HR KPIs to point it at, it’s just an expensive white elephant.

KPIs are traditional corporate performance measures – keeping everything measurable and easily monitored at the C-level while being clear and straightforward enough to be understood throughout the organization. The sheer volume and variety of the available information these days means that HR KPIs are (and should be) up for grabs – the opportunity to explore and measure ourselves against more pertinent metrics can’t be passed up.

Cautionary Advice

However, some commentators are urging caution. Big Data is macro in scale whereas your organisation – unless you’re a globe-spanning multinational with a workforce larger than a small country – is on a smaller scale. Big Data gives you the world’s talent data, but you’re dealing with the talent requirements of a medium-sized service provider or manufacturing outfit. Put simply, there’s a small but significant backlash that suggests that useful as Big Data can be, those seeking to exploit it must ‘keep their feet on the ground’ and sometimes narrow the focus a little; searching the Big Data ocean for the precise items of information that are of most use to their specific circumstances.

Recommended reading: boost your data analytics activities with this comprehensive guide to managing HR data with HRMS

So, before you dive in and start swimming, there’s a value in setting the right HR KPIs, establishing the right measures, and identifying which are going to be the best spots in which to ‘go fishing’. While undoubtedly, the ‘traditional’ HR metrics of relating to turnover, employee satisfaction, and skills are still valid, deeper insights are now possible. For example, under the heading of turnover, your HRMS and associated apps may allow you to examine churn in relation to role, position, location or team, and compare it to that of your competitors and industry sector as a whole.

Fruitful Hunting Grounds

The following three areas may be fruitful hunting grounds when looking for more relevant KPIs in the Big Data era:

Sources of new hires – Where do you get most of your recruits from? The chances are that you’re targeting a number of sources, including graduates, competitor organisations, the ranks of the unemployed, and so on. The right KPI could lead you to judge the usefulness of each category and adjust your recruitment strategies.

Productivity – This is a classic HR KPI, often expressed as a single surface percentage that hides a complicated formula based on volume and throughput. By factoring in issues such as workload and shift management, cross-team working and collaboration, a more useful picture can emerge.

Impact on the customer – this is often a no-go area for HR but your people policies and internal culture will determine how your organisation appears to customers and clients and subsequently affect their interactions with you. How does your HR impact on your customer-facing operations, is a key question in the information age.

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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