Increase the Influence of Your HR Data to Win Friends and Influence People

One of the key imperatives from the C-suite for HR this year, according to the CEB’s Leadership Council Research, is to increase the influence of HR data in the enterprise organization.

In fact, developing and applying measurement strategies that “ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and business alignment” is among the 10 best practices of “high-impact HR organizations,” according to research from Bersin by Deloitte.

Yet only 8 percent of senior HR leaders “believe they are getting returns on their talent analytics investments, and only 15 percent of business leaders have changed a decision in the past year as a result of data from HR,” according to the CEB report.

It’s a sad irony, considering the mountain of people data at HR’s fingertips.

“Human-resource departments generate and collect more data than most other areas of a company, but our attempts to claim big data for our own often get mired in technology infrastructure and analytics tools that were never intended to meet the needs of a modern HR organization,” JoAnne Kruse, chief human resources officer for American Express Global Business Travel, wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

“For many human resources departments,” Kruse continued, “it can be challenging to manage large amounts of diverse employee information typically captured by different systems and providers.”

I may be oversimplifying things, but my experience says the challenge for HR when it comes to harnessing big data stems from two problems: not having a plan for the best use of data from the get-go, and not being able to get meaningful data from HR technology and data systems. An HR case management system can help ease both challenges.

How the datafication of HR fits into the quantified organization is the focus of a recent paper from LBi Software, in which several observers of the HCM space weigh in on this topic. I wrote in the paper’s conclusion that the first important thing for HR to have when it comes to using big data is a goal.

Yet having a goal for big data — having a project, a hypothesis, a strategic business pain you want to understand more clearly — is probably the most overlooked element when an organization of any size sets out to develop its people data through new technology.

Once you know where you want to go with your HR data, it becomes a matter of getting the right data into HR’s hands, in ways that deliver meaningful analytics, that lead to data-driving decisions. With rich analytics and an easily accessible executive dashboard, a fully featured help desk gives HR the technologies and skills to become more data-driven. LBi HR HelpDesk, for example, allows HR to systematically gather and analyze data that it can then translate into practical, business-aligned insight and measurable impacts.

Our e-book “Five Top HR Challenges and How an Automated Case Management Solution Can Beat Them” makes the case that an automated case management system can also pool its data into a data warehouse or “data mart” — a virtual repository of employee concerns and grievances across the company. This data allows executives to quantify the degree to which various employee issues are affecting productivity and performance. For example, leadership can easily correlate an increase in labor-related disputes handled by the HR help desk to a drop in production over a specific period.