Data-driven HR: Increasing the strategic value of your HR function

The main focus for most businesses right now is recovery. COVID-19 has caused disruption to our practices and processes, and made us question if we are doing things the right way. Are we investing in the right technology and using the correct tools to provide the best possible product and services to our customers? No business is exempt from these questions. 

Departments are rethinking, evolving and adapting to help their business recover in the short-term, and in the long-term, looking at ways they can protect operations, personnel and their bottom line from events that cause shockwaves like COVID-19 has.

Data is going to play a huge role in this transformation. With every department in the business being called upon to provide insights that can unlock value, and ultimately better inform the business in making the right long term strategic decisions. 

One area of your business that has a gold mine of data rich insights is HR. However, for a long time HR has simply played an administration role, being reactive not proactive. Serving as a way to keep track of personal records, absence, staff turnover and supporting team members only when called upon.

The problem is these often disparate datasets don’t tell you what’s happening in the business. If analytics could be applied to these datasets, you can spot trends and patterns that begin to show you why things happen or why things repeat themselves. This enables you to begin predicting outcomes, which is what c-level executives want to know right now. 

From timesheets and recruitment info, to performance data, contract information and team history, HR has a treasure chest of data that can feed strategy. The HR profession has long had ambitions to move towards a more strategic business position and now, using analytics, many businesses can make it a reality. 

But if you don’t have one single version of the truth, you won’t have accurate data to analyse. This means your HR department can’t become strategic unless you make real changes to the way your team collects and stores its HR data.  

Fragmented, inaccurate data

Like with all strategic decisions a business makes, the insight used to form it is critical. If your data isn’t joined up or accurate, you’re often going to make the wrong analysis and conclusions. It means not only the reports your team pulls together have little value, but these reports could actually become a hindrance to the business going forward.

HR teams can only report on the data, measurements and metrics which are available to them. If their datasets are fragmented it means there is a gap between the information available and the information needed to provide those valuable insights. This ensures that they can’t take a holistic view of what is actually happening in the business. Your HR team then just gets into a cycle of reporting as a tick box exercise, rather than as a proactive one.

Moving to a single view

To ensure you’re getting the right insights from your HR data you have to move to a single view. A dataset that your entire HR team is working from, and one that is connected with other areas of your business such as finance, sales and marketing.

Establishing a single analytics pane across various data sources allows HR teams to have a single page view of all talent and staff data across the entire enterprise. It can help to inform recruitment, by identifying the best types of candidates and where to source them.  It can reduce lead times, talent leakage, recruitment costs – as well as allowing for real time benchmarking against industry averages. It could predict how long people stay in specific roles and what policies and incentives the team needs to introduce to boost retention. It will also help compliance issues which can typically occur when dealing with multiple HR datasets and systems. Especially prevalent in larger organisations.

Once this is complete and the team is working from its new single pane, through analytics HR can begin to have a much bigger impact on business decision making. It can start to help to understand and measure the success of important corporate strategies such as diversity and equal pay. Critical insights that all organisations need.

With a single cloud based analytics pane across different data sources, HR teams can also access and input your HR data from anywhere, at any time – which is more important now in this more flexible working world. 

There is no single COTS solution that will solve every company’s disparate data HR issues. Every company is unique in their IT architecture, systems and data sources – as well as what their desired outcome is that they’re trying to solve. But moving to a single pane view is the first step in transforming any HR team – to one that can make a real difference to the business. This means common HR applications such as SAP SuccessFactors, Workday, ADP etc need to be able to link with a myriad of finance, marketing and sales datasets to create that holistic enterprise view.

Taking these datasets and applying the power of Google Analytics, HR can then really serve as a strategic function that helps navigate the direction of your business. 

The CLOUDWRXS iHR service supports businesses with IT architecture, systems and data sources of all types and sizes. The team works with businesses to find out what they need and creates a solution that best fits their HR needs. If you’d like support with your HR function, you can speak to the CLOUDWRXS team on +44 203 3322 007 / email: