Monday, November 14, 2011

Moving from HR Data to Organizational Insight

Over the last few months, I have been presenting and discussing the topic of HR analytics.
I feel that as a profession, HR is stuck. I think we have "got" the measurement part down pat. We can measure turnover, we can measure cost per hire, and time to fill.

But it's not really about these activity based measures anymore. It's about what you actually DO with the data.

You have to use the data in context with other data in order to really get to impact. For example, using customer satisfaction data and performance data to understand who is delivering the best experience to your customers and further determining how to sustain that experience over time...that's impact.

I have been giving some thought to why we are stuck at the Phase 2 on the above analytics roadmap. Why can't we make it faster to phase 5, where HR provides the business with BUSINESS INSIGHT that has significant IMPACT to the business.

Here are some of my initial thoughts:

1) It's the data excuse-Stop the madness. HR has more data than most departments. The issue is the condition of the data in most cases. Also, we have data in so many systems it is difficult to bring it all together. NOT IMPOSSIBLE just difficult.

2) It's the talent excuse-I don't have analytical people on my team. See last week's post on how to accomplish this one from two very smart HR professionals from Wells Fargo.

3) It's the "I don't have time excuse"-Find time before someone else takes over your data and does it for you. Enough said...

4) It's the "I can't get the data I need from other departments" excuse-Make a clear business case or state a compelling question that you need to solve that has impact on the business. State this at a high level meeting to get buy in and interest.

5) It's the "it's not important" excuse. keep thinking this while HR tasks are being outsourced and HR is suddenly being staffed with non-HR professionals who get analytics. Nay, it's not important.

I believe HR has the chops and smarts to get this done. Start small with one business problem that needs to be solved like:

1) How can I get my production workers to be more productive and get orders fulfilled on time when absenteeism is at an all time high and morale is at an all time low?

2) How do I increase our market share in a new market, where our competition has a strong hold and we have had problems recruiting talent that we need to make this happen?

3) How do I increase customer satisfaction in our call center, it has been dropping for two quarters straight?

Each one of these issues can be looked at with metrics and then analytics. It just takes asking the right questions, getting the right data and telling a great impactful story!

Why are you stuck? or...How have you moved past being stuck?


Sandrine Bardot said...


Great post ! I fully agree with you and actually wrote a post on a similar topic in September, focused on how to transform Compensation data into Compensation intelligence (

It is time for HR to earn their seat at the real decision-making table. Excuses like "I don't like Excel and don't know how to use it", "I am not technical" or "I don't deal with data, I deal with people" need to go away.

They say information is power, well it is... but only when it is the right information, and when it is shared and used appropriately.

Unknown said...

Thanks Sandrine for stopping by. I did read your blog...excellent post!

No more excuses!!!