The desire for data analysis and application is high amongst HR professionals. At SHRM’s first People Analytics Conference, the conversation amongst attendees has to do with this. We know that data is vital; we know that data can direct the actions and intentions of an organization. Data is gold, we believe.
Yet, what HR finds themselves stuck in is a small handful of report generation tasks. This is not data analytics and strategy. Information systems may house relevant data, but that does not mean we know what to do with it. Skill development in data analytics and functional utilization is necessary. From speaking with those attending SHRM’s People Analytics conference, many have not been given a place or resources for developing these skills. It’s time to ask.
Furthermore, we find ourselves in HR responding to the same types of data asks – Time to Hire, Retention rates, Headcount, etc. And many of these asks are coming from leadership/management. Who is teaching leadership/management as to what others’ data they could know? As HR professionals, it should not be surprising that training may be needed for those who need to know what information is available, why to ask for it and the difference that data will make. Just as for the HR professional, data analysis is not a natural skill for many. Build up leadership and management, just as much as you need HR to be built up.
Being relegated to a handful of data asks may not have anything to do with your leadership being difficult or unwilling to recognize HR’s value. It may have everything to do with a lack of understanding that value and, more specifically, the value of data to organizational health and performance. And the more that value can be shown, the more likely it will be to get the updated tools needed.
HR may be discouraged by the platforms available to analyze data within their organizations. Of course, we would like the top of the line software product. And if our journey to a more vibrant people analytics function is dependent on that cream of the crop software, we’re likely to be disappointed. Instead, work with what you have. Soup it up as best as you can with the goal to deliver what you can (beyond what leadership thinks you can do). By delivering and showing the relevant application to the business, leadership may become more amenable to expanding the platforms HR is using. They would see the value and want to encourage its next level of applicable development.
People analytics is meant to transform the organization, not merely report on the transactions of HR. And if we’re fighting to be seen differently, then it’s up to us to change the conversation.
Deliver relevant data based upon a skilled-up function. It will difficult for leadership to deny this applicable approach.