Four new uses for your HR data

We’re keeping more HR data all the time. The question is, are we leveraging it efficiently?

1. Look for ways to combine quantitative and qualitative data

The easiest type of data to store and understand is numbers. The scores on the doors, for example from recruitment assessment tests and in-house training. Unfortunately, such quantitative data often only indicates potential benefit, whether that potential is actualized in practice, in your business, is another question entirely.

Better results lie in drawing conclusions from a combination of HR data. For example, take a longer term view and compare the test scores from your assessment processes with the more qualitative data from your performance management processes. Which new hires went on to perform at high levels, and how does that link to the potential identified during hiring? Over time, this kind of comparison can feed back into the recruitment process, leading to better hiring decisions.

Guide: five ways HRMS helps you get more out of your HR data

2. Know how to read HR data

It’s been said for a while now, the traditional HR skillset needs to expand to include data management and analysis. The category of HR analytics has been showing up on annual hot trends lists for some years now which implies HR departments are yet to realize the full benefits of HR Big Data. HR teams need data specialists who can not only understand the information collected by HR but also how it connects to and impacts on the wider business. HR needs to do more than mere analysis, it must help the business to plan and strategize using that analysis.

3. Offer insights from data to all managers

A common perception has been that the outputs of HR data analysis should be targeted at the C-suite. Maybe the image has been too much one of HR impressing a monthly executive meeting with clever reports and insights. But HR data is capable of real-time and more frequently updated outputs too. Imagine a dashboard available to team leaders throughout the organization, showing metrics of performance, attendance, and engagement for their people. The first iteration of such a dashboard doesn’t need to be over-sophisticated, just useful – the first step in creating more of a ‘data culture’ in your business’s people management practices.

4. The crucial practical application

Of course, the key to the impact of HR data is for it to have one. Numbers and charts on-screen are fine but the test is whether that data influences decisions about the running of the business. Focus on producing metrics and measures that managers can actually use in their decision-making. Naturally, your managers will be the judges of what may be of practical help but here are a few suggestions:

  • Turnover: predicting which teams, roles or locations have the highest staff turnover and what factors are contributing.
  • Retention: where are you losing valuable people prematurely, and why. How can you boost retention rates?

Talent management: who are your high achievers; who are likely to become high achievers; and what kind of support makes a positive difference to realizing their potential?

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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