Two days ago I sat in on a webcast given by Google’s people analytics manager, Neal Patel. Yesterday I was a voyeur on HR Executive’s 4th annual Predict and Prepare webinar. What I got out of them? Refer to it in whichever way you choose – data, outputs, business-driven – it all surmounts to making decisions with data. Simply, HR analytics is the wave of the future.
To make data-based decisions, the data need to be transformed into relevant information. Data need to be collected, pulled from their source, analyzed, interpreted and reported in a way that the audience can make use of it. Speaking of reporting, an HR analytics group is not a reporting function; the staff goes far further than aggregating data and comparing groups’ scores in a benchmark-y kind of way. HR analytics is about having a question, translating it to a hypothesis, and testing that hypothesis empirically. We are talking about the scientific method applied to HR.
Both webcasts paused to touch on the obstacles to widespread use of HR analytics. Without a doubt, these obstacles are nothing to brush past. Between Google’s Neal Patel’s, panelist and HR tech soothsayer Naomi Bloom’s, and my own experience, here’s the list to watch:
Combatting the above is reasonably straightforward, although not easy.
The road to data-driven HR is full of potholes – some minor bumps, others sinkholes perhaps only marginally smaller than the Grand Canyon. Don’t spend the next year wandering around the bottom of the gorge without a compass. Hire an HR analytics leader and get them talking to IT – it will take time to import data, create new SQL tables and collect data in a different way (or collect different data altogether). I encourage you to take the leap: get started now and in six months you’ll be taking your first steps towards supporting a data-based HR practice: a practice that will support a more effective and efficient organization. What’s more, through the wizardry of analytics, you’ll be able to show exactly how HR’s data-based contributions have improved the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness. At whatever point you are on this journey, let me know if Bersin & Associates can help.
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Brenda Kowske is a seasoned research analyst with expertise in HR, engagement, L&D and talent selection. Brenda has one objective: to get HR practitioners and leaders research-based information they need to make the best decisions possible. Brenda's favorite topics are utilizing HR analytics, impacting bottom-line through HR, and examining how work affects the lives of real people.
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