Are You Using Relevant HR Data to Measure HR Success?

As I found myself tweeting away at the back of Dave Millner’s Workshop on “Collecting Relevant Data that Measures HR Success” at CIPD’s annual Conference and Exhibition, I noticed the delegates’ thoughts and opinions were being challenged. And rightfully they should be; in recent weeks the topic of “Big Data” has been more and more under the spot light (HR conferences to mainstream media) and questions are being asked around how HR departments are using this abundance of talent data to drive bottom line results. With organisational budgets under tighter control than ever before, every department has to prove its business value and show clear return on investment—and HR initiatives are no exception to the rule.

Just like the way CIPD has continuously evolved since 1913, HR processes, benchmarks and systems in every department across the world have grown and developed in maturity (some a lot quicker than others)—reflecting technological booms and sheer moments of brilliance in today’s modern era.

The HR data evolution has flourished. From departments merely filing personal contact records, mainly administration focused, to a stage where they captured limited intelligence—to today’s chaotic and comprehensive highway of silo data, for each and every past, present and future (external talent pool) employee.

Though HR departments have made momentous strides in collecting employee and core HR data (though vastly dispersed) through major touch points, are they using this information effectively to predict future trends or are they becoming overwhelmed—not knowing which relevant data sets to adopt to help measure or reflect true HR success?

Sadly, the majority of departments fit into the latter. With so many sources of talent data, where do HR leaders start and what metrics do they use? With most organisations still moving towards the adoption of a unified talent record, is this more about understanding statistics and data, are HR professionals expected to become the organisation’s new mathematicians?

Keep It Relevant and Simple

As Dave pointed out during this interactive session, HR need to keep it relevant and simple, it’s not a maths course that requires thousands of profound formulas and calculations. It’s about starting somewhere and refining the process and strategy step-by-step—ensuring everything you do is simple yet meaningful. After all, it’s about using this intelligence to make decisions in real-time and using this to prove the strategic and operational value of your HR initiatives and how these in turn, drive business performance today and tomorrow.

Workforce Analytics Approach

So what does this simple yet effective approach look like? As the session went on, Dave introduced the Workforce Analytics Approach, a tier system made up of HR Success, Business Success and Business Case metrics. With direct correlation between HR practices, workforce performance and business impact, this system should be at the heart and soul of every HR department’s workforce analytics strategy. So what are you waiting for?

Until HR departments increase their ability to show a clear return on investment, other departments will always question their value and credibility in the boardroom. After all, didn’t you know we’ve become part of an era where metrics and analytics rule the world of business and drive every associated decision?