Providing Real-Time Insight: Using an HRMS to Get More out of Your HR Data

It’s been said before that when it comes to using data, HR is traditionally backward-looking. That’s not meant to be an insult, just an acknowledgement that the ‘HR data story’ so far is one of measuring what has happened and reporting it as a result. With the introduction and spread of more strategically-focused metrics and predictive analytics, the focus is turning toward the future. Anything it would seem except the present. And yet, particularly for managers ‘on the shop floor’ some insight into what’s happening right now is possibly the most immediately utilitarian leveraging of people data.

This gives HR an opportunity to fill the gap between the past and the future; to fill it with useful information and in the process become practically indispensable to the day to day management of business performance. Put like that, it’s the kind of opportunity HR has been waiting for.

Recommended reading: get more out of your analytics activities using this guide to managing HR data with HRMS 

Unfortunately, the kind of “performance management” usually associated with the HR department is a once a year appraisal data collection exercise focused, of course, on what employees have been doing for the last 12 months.

However, real time HR data does feature in many HR software and HRMS systems and its usage is beginning to gain some traction. In some ways, the focus is still on workforce (and workflow) planning functions, helping address daily skills needs by being able to cross-reference them with learning and development records and data; possibly linking to scheduling and time attendance inputs to identify where the gaps are in today’s workforce, plus, who might be both best and available to fill them.

On a wider scale, and from the employee perspective, up to date talent, succession planning and aspiration information can be combined and as real-time development opportunities arise, the right people receive the right instant notifications.

As yet, the real-time gap is easily overlooked but it represents an opportunity for a very practical link with day to day business that HR and HRMS developers are just beginning to explore. In many ways, the use of data to provide real time insights that can be instantly used for better managerial and supervisory decision-making doesn’t carry a lot of cachet. Big HR Data and predictive analytics sound much more exciting and that’s why they get all the press. But to those employees actively making sales and providing services, the right information, in the moment, could make possibly the biggest difference.

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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