“Well, actually, I have data that shows…”: ensuring value from people data

By Andrew Watson, Chief Technology Officer, MHR International

  • 2 months ago Posted in

Data sets are the building blocks from which most modern strategies are constructed. They allow organisations to measure the effectiveness of a given approach, whilst giving invaluable insights into wider business operations, processes, and employee behaviours. MHR research has found that a quarter of HR managers and directors in the UK are spending 40-49% of their budget on people data and analytics. On the surface, this is unsurprising: people data is one of the richest sources of information within an organisation and can shape every aspect of business strategy, from planning salaries and managing costs to identifying flight risks and reducing skills gaps.

But unlocking the true value of people data relies on organisations’ ability to use it to the best of its potential. Currently, 86% of businesses are failing to capitalise on the wealth of insights at their disposal, as they are not using people data insights to inform crucial strategic objectives. Given the vast proportion of HR budgets being tied up in data costs, and with people being the biggest overhead in almost every business, this represents both a wasted opportunity and a heightened risk of costly productivity losses.

HR managers must now start to utilise the data around them. So, what practical steps can they take to maximise returns from their data analytics technology?

Mind the gap

HR teams can only get the most out of people data if they are confident about utilising it, extracting it to show business leaders what the data represents, and then what decisions they should be making based on the results. However, the analytics tools used should be accessible across every department of the company to ensure that all relevant employees within each business unit can abstract value from the data produced too. This will allow the data to be analysed from a wide range of professional angles, from finance to marketing, enabling others outside of HR to provide deeper insights and promptly identify potential issues.

However, gaps in technology and skills gaps across the wider organisation are causing many HR teams to underuse valuable people data. By simply sticking to the basics, teams are denying themselves access to crucial pieces of the data jigsaw, as they remain locked away within silos. Not only does this prevent HR teams from getting the insights they need, but it also isolates them from the organisation at large. With almost half (45%) of HR leaders failing to share their people data with finance and senior leadership teams, many organisations simply lack the visibility needed to understand the bigger picture and make objective business decisions.

Concerningly, 16% of HR leaders claim not to share their people data with anyone. Organisations can only tap into this rich source of information if they know where to find it: if prized people data resides in one isolated system, or with just a handful of individuals, its full potential in shaping the success of a business cannot be realised.

The right reporting tools

For HR teams to unlock the power of their people data and gain visibility across the organisation, they must move away from manual methods and embrace smarter reporting tools. At present, over 60% of organisations rely on manually exporting people data into spreadsheets before doing anything with it, leaving the process vulnerable to duplication, misinformation, and loss of sensitive data. In fact, almost half (44%) of HR leaders admit that pulling key information across different systems in different formats is making it difficult for their teams to give accurate reports. At a time when the world of work is transforming at pace, the reality of what is happening inside an organisation, and the experience of the people within it, is often inaccurate, out of date, or altogether out of reach.

Fortunately, the right reporting tools are at hand to help teams stay on top of changing working practices. With 44% of HR leaders spending over half their time on reporting and analysing data, automated processes can help to ensure that this data is put to strategic use by reducing both the administrative burden and the risk of human error. With the optimal skills and tools, HR teams can transform their processes and reduce data gaps by reviewing insights from historical data across multiple sources, effectively creating a single source of truth to enhance companywide decision-making. Integrated data collection technology streamlines and simplifies the process of real-time reporting, making it easy to connect departments and drive holistic, collaborative data decisions. In today’s changing workplace, people data holds more value than ever: by harnessing it and using the insights gained to strengthen their organisational core, HR leaders can own their rightful place at the board table.

Leading the people data revolution

The time is ripe for HR teams to gain maximum value from the wealth of people data at their fingertips. By doing so, they can transform their world of work by showcasing the crucial role this data plays in shaping long-term business strategy.

Partnering with the right software and services provider will ensure that all relevant employees have the skills and confidence to access the data insights they need – from pre-built reports to in-depth reporting tools that offer granular, timely insights into the many layers of data available. Therefore,

with HR leading from the front, businesses can successfully track patterns, predict employee behaviour, plan more effective recruitment, and pioneer much-needed initiatives to bridge the gap for workplace diversity and learning and development opportunities.

With such vast amounts of money being spent on people data and analytics, HR leaders must now ensure that the insights gained are substantial and provide far-reaching value. Implementing the right solutions and tools will allow teams to make crucial strategic decisions with greater confidence and data-driven expertise.

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