Imagine walking into a dark room; you are likely to bump into the wall, corners and possibly run over an item and maybe even end on the floor with a few injuries. That’s very similar to practising Human Resources management without leveraging data.
Data is a powerful tool for HR professionals and the world at large; for its immense importance in decision-making. For example, it is used for something as simple as checking reviews on where to eat, what vendor to use, and for complex life decisions. Data is the centre of it all.
I love data a lot and rely on it. Just as individuals rely on data, so do organizations, from supply chain decisions to expansion or hiring decisions.
Data provides organizations lot of benefits which include:
- Greater confidence in business decisions, which leads to improved business performance.
- Help to increase business profitability through higher operational efficiency and cost savings.
- More accurate predictions.
- Root-cause identification.
Data has been and will continue to be a core part of the human resource function.
Human resource programs no longer need to be based on soft reasoning but should be analytical and data-driven as any other management discipline – Chris Argyris, Management Theorist & Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School.
While it is impossible to predict the future, relying on good data can help prepare for what’s around the corner and is better than flying blind.
In my opinion, I would classify the quest for data into three phases:
Data Collection: Most organizations have data; from onboarding, and documents to exit surveys, there is a lot of data available to HR to use. Data availability is less of a challenge to the HR profession. Business leaders look to HR to provide data-driven advice, not guesswork, thoughts or presumptions. A level of certainty enhances the trust of business leaders, and data-driven advice is a way to earn a seat at the table.
Data Interpretation: Data tells a story about what we know today. An example of data interpretation would be “there was a 10% employee turnover in 2020. HR often uses data to describe a problem rather than solve it.
Data for Predictive Analysis: This is the phase I believe the HR profession and professionals strive to operate at, leveraging the information collected to provide advice that solves business problems and mitigates business risks. For example, using data as a predictive tool in making an accurate hiring decision can save the business lost time and other associated recruitment costs.
Choosing the appropriate data to analyze is also very important. While relying solely on one data source may not provide a complete story, combining multiple sources and data points will give a more holistic picture that would help with insightful decision-making.
In conclusion, it is now more than ever before important that HR professionals handle, analyze, interpret and communicate data effectively to drive business outcomes. To continue to be relevant as HR professionals and live up to the expectation of business leaders, we need to move from administrative HR activities to leveraging data in how we support businesses to be more productive through people and achieve business objectives. This is how we become strategic business partners.
Thank you for reading!
Written By: Laide Adepetu
Gartner Management Consulting (2022) Enhancing your Data Judgement (assessed August 25, 2022)
Stéphane Kirchacker, 2022, 6 Ways a Data-Driven approach helps your organization succeed. Available from https://www.sinequa.com/blog/intelligent-enterprise-search/6-ways-a-data-driven-approach-helps-your-organization-succeed/