The Inherent Tension of Analytics in Human Resources

18 August 2017

Everywhere you go information is being requested.

Don’t you just love that part of the performance year when Human Resources (HR) are asked to update Business Plans or scorecards? Or that point where it’s time to do the next round of talent mapping and your outputs will be used to support the shaping of the business agenda? 

In addition to this, consider those of your Senior Executives who actively engage with HR, and are hugely number driven, who eat data for breakfast and constantly knock on your door requiring immediate updates.

It all begins with data

Looking at all the scenarios above the key ingredient is data, data and even more data.  
I guess the good news is that at least there’s enough engagement from within the business for the data to be requested and just as importantly, the data has been collected in the first place. Imagine if the data wasn’t there! Now that would be one huge problem.

There isn’t the capacity within the team

But for many HR functions the challenge lies in the knowledge of what it will take to produce the deck and more pertinently the inherent tension brought on through having to produce the reports for the said deck. The intensity of producing reports is not always welcomed. Primarily because the activity to collate and sort the data eats into precious time which is already consumed with other essential ‘people’ related activities, or, the systems that host the data are not updated or easily accessible. This is assuming that you have some form of system in place in the first place.

Putting the internal customer first

Analytics and the insights that they provide, I believe, are a crucial part of the business journey. Consider the life cycle journey of customers: businesses have been garnering analytical insights on them for some time. However, can the same be said of understanding our internal customers at critical points of the employee life cycle?

Time for honest reflection

Where do people analytics sit in your business, and how do you personally feel when it is that time when you need to produce data and insight? Are you and your organisation comfortable playing with, and utilising analytics? Is it part of the HR function’s DNA and is supported by great tools and teams? Or is your response more likely to be “Oh no, not that time already. How am I to gather that quantity of information with the time and resources I have?”. In addition to this there is the even more critical tension point which is whether the requested analytics are the right data points to actually benefit the business…. never the less we regularly go ahead and produce them.

Good, bad or ugly, I have no doubt that you will have a strong viewpoint on data and analytics within HR. Come and share it with like-minded professionals, who are facing similar struggles and challenges. Whatever your reaction is to this subject, it’s obvious that it’s a vital part of HR’s function, and is not going to disappear.

Different data sets may be fads that come and go, yet analytics play a constant part in our HR world. Come and join me and other fellow HR colleagues who have experience, passion and understanding on this matter. Let’s debate about the pressures encountered by businesses wanting/needing/ requiring (delete as you feel appropriate) analytics, and HR’s experiences of the challenges (and successes) this produces. Additionally, let’s be curious about whether the business is using or even wanting this information.

Do you ever ask yourself this question? “Why do I bother with analytics?” I know I do………….  

 

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About the author

Jacky has over 20 years’ experience of leading and facilitating organisational and transformational culture change and is creative, encouraging and innovative in designing and delivering business solutions.  Jacky has worked with business leaders in her corporate and consultancy roles to deliver commercial and tangible results.  She uses great instincts and critical data to make connections that resolve issues inside businesses either at an individual, team or organisational level. 

Jacky’s wealth of corporate experience has been gained from a number of sectors including complex and matrixed UK and European Financial Markets and Global Professional Services Firms including her role as Head of HR for the UK Commercial Bank, and for the European Commercial Bank and as Senior Business Partner of the Retail Bank for HSBC. Her professional services career includes working with Willis Towers Watson with their Investments and Benefits practices.

Jacky supports leaders in their drive to create environments to improve organisational effectiveness and human capital efficiency programmes which are developed to sustain business performance.  She does this by looking at patterns of activity and behaviours which impact on how the organisation flows.

Jacky’s qualifications are a BA (Hons) in Social Science, an MSc in People and Organisational Development, Chartered Member of CIPD and Member of the British Psychological Society and Association of Business Psychologists.