People Solutions Require People Analytics: The Importance of Data-Driven HR Practices

At a time when robust data aggregation technology is not only available but also affordable, HR departments are not taking full advantage of the value these systems provide.  In 2018, a survey by AIHR Analytics found that HR metrics and analytics were deemed the least effective area of HR.  Yet, more than 70% of companies now say they consider people analytics to be a high priority, according to Harvard Business Review.

The potential impact of HR data goes beyond simply understanding recruitment, hiring, and retention within an organization.  By becoming become data storytellers, HR professionals can use data to not only provide valuable insight for their organizations but also drive better decisions around talent management and the relationships between business units.

Using a data-driven approach to HR, organizations can move away from implementing reactionary solutions to problems (such as turnover, retention, risk, talent, and futurecasting), and instead design proactive programs.  For example, retention data can be used to identify what departments or positions are at the highest risk for turnover. This data can impact what resources or activities are put in place to mitigate that risk. Another example of how HR data can be useful for an organization is how predictive talent data can identify potential high performers. Using this information, organizations can make important decisions on who which employees should be fast-tracked and which employees may need more training and development opportunities. Furthermore, benefits analytics can provide insight into what benefits are valued by employees and what benefits may need to be restructured, remarketed to the employee population, or eliminated.

The insights provided by HR data can contribute to higher productivity by identifying employee motivators, drive change in management practices by translating data into financial impact of a changed behavior or practice, and lead to a more efficient and prioritized budget by identifying and funding the HR programs that are leading to the highest business impact. 

Data-driven decisions in HR can affect an entire organization’s bottom line. Organizations need to do a self-evaluation to see if the software they are currently using provides their HR team with the most comprehensive and accurate data.  From there, organizations should determine whether or not they are utilizing the data to its maximum potential.