Blog Post

The Art, Science and Impact of Implementing Data-Driven HR in 2017

Mike Bollinger

VP, Strategic Initiatives, Cornerstone

[This article reprinted by permission of Human Resource Executive®]

Data has been the driving force behind innovation in finance, sales and marketing for years, while human resources has struggled to keep up. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends report, 77 percent of companies believe that using "people analytics" is important, but the capabilities are lacking. In fact, just 8 percent believe their organization is "excellent" in this area. Figuring out how to successfully implement data-driven HR is a business challenge every company wanting to maintain or gain a competitive advantage will face in 2017.

For organizations that take the time to invest in data-driven HR, there is a huge opportunity to leverage employee and external data to improve shareholder value. A Bersin by Deloitte study found that companies using sophisticated people analytics see 30 percent higher stock market returns than the S&P 500, and HR teams are four times more likely to be respected by their counterparts for data-driven decision-making.

But for all the good that data-driven HR can do for business, there are still a lot of questions about what businesses need to do to successfully implement a data-driven HR program in the first place.

The reality is that implementing data-driven HR requires a new set of skills and tools not found in HR departments today. A Mercer survey found that 69 percent of business executives do not believe HR professionals possess an adequate skill level to perform more sophisticated analysis. HR professionals are generally very good at reporting and benchmarking, but not as good at more sophisticated analytics.

Source: US and EMEA 2012 Metrics and Analytics: Patterns of Use and Value Survey

These skills are necessary to understand crucial drivers of employee retention, employee productivity and overall return on human investment. So, how can HR work to fill the skills gap?

Becoming data-driven requires both art and science, but it doesn’t mean HR needs to know how to do pivot tables and chi-squares.

HR professionals need to be aware of how people analytics can impact the broader business.In order to have a data perspective, HR professionals first need to have the business acumen to ask the right questions. This means understanding the key drivers of their company’s performance and having the financial knowledge, marketing orientation and strategic perspective to know how they can match business priorities with talent priorities.

HR professionals need be able to communicate effectively through data. Once HR professionals are asking questions that align with their company’s priorities, they need the ability to hone in on what matters in a data stream and use that to prove their hypotheses. This data becomes a communication mechanism for HR to communicate their talent strategies in a way that executives understand and respect.

HR professionals need access to a multidisciplinary team. HR professionals need to have access and support from people who understand statistical analysis to help inform their hypothesis. For example, HR organizations have long screened out candidates who are frequent job hoppers, but through statistical analysis it was discovered that "frequency of job hopping" had no statistical bearing on longevity in a candidate’s next role. This means the development of the right structure and talent within an organization is crucial for data-driven HR to be successful. I often use the following graphic in my conversations with HR leaders to outline both the people you will need (on the left) and the broad and varied team skills required (on the right). This is useful in describing how you build a team of people who think, develop and communicate in a data-driven way.

The good news is this doesn’t mean you necessarily need to restructure an entire team. Today’s gig economy means HR departments can "borrow" or buy the technology and/or people they need to get the job done.

Data-driven HR is the only way for HR pros to truly understand the connection between the work they are doing and the impact it is having on their company. Other business units have had this capability for years and their importance to the company has skyrocketed. The rise of the CMO is a great example. It’s HR’s turn, and the talent and tools are here today.

Related Resources

Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.

Empowering Employees by Learning & Development at Amplifon

On-demand Webinar

Video

Customer Story

Empowering Employees by Learning & Development at Amplifon

Learning and development strategies must continue to evolve in the ever-changing world of work. Training and development provide employees with a softer landing into change, and the introduction of digital learning and development platforms allowed employees a smoother transition into a new style of work. Amplifon created a learning and development strategy that is hyper-personalised and skills-focused, allowing their people and their entire organisations to become more agile and adaptable. Amplifon invested not only in learning and development content but also in strengthening the global network and collaboration across geographies and functions, to encourage an equal sense of belonging across the entire organisation. Amplifon created a learning and development strategy that is hyper-personalised and skills-focused, allowing their people and their entire organisations to become more agile and adaptable. Amplifon invested not only in learning and development content but also in strengthening the global network and collaboration across geographies and functions, to encourage an equal sense of belonging across the entire organisation.

Howdens shares how they grew learning by over 500% in one year

Video

Howdens shares how they grew learning by over 500% in one year

Charlene Jackson, HR & Payroll Systems Lead, shares how Howdens moved from traditional classroom based training, to grow learning by over 500% in just one year through the introduction of a simple, modern user experience, accessible from any device.

4 tips to managing diversity and gender equality in your company

Blog Post

4 tips to managing diversity and gender equality in your company

If you want to generate success in your company and work in a harmonious environment, then you need to consider each and every one of your employees, get to know their interests, and offer them the best treatment and commitment. However, one of the most important principles that should be commonplace in every organisation is the equal treatment of employees (regardless of gender, race or religion). Gender, for example, should not be a factor that influences how we treat our workforce. Having a gender equality policy shows employees that they are valued and that the company is serious about ending discrimination. Having a fair remuneration policy that is not distinguished by the employee’s gender, but by their job position and their development within the company is an important step towards gender quality too. Opt for a gender-diverse workforce Having more gender diversity in a company is very positive and not just for the company’s own benefit. In fact, the UK could boost its GDP by 9% if the female employment rates matched with Sweden’s for instance. The challenge for HR departments is to successfully and strategically find and enrol more women in their business. It could solve a real problem, breaking barriers of gender discrimination in the workplace and promoting equality within the company. Equality between your workers is essential It is important to not only review the salaries of your employees, but also other professional aspects such as career plans and promotions, ensuring that there are equal opportunities for both men and women. Equality will undoubtedly be a motivational element for employees, regardless of their gender, as having clear objectives is a contributing factor in maintaining employees’ interest levels Strike a balance between work life and family life Fostering harmony between work and family life is key to attracting and retaining talent. It can contribute to the company culture, and to a positive attitude and collaboration amongst employees. Another important point is not to make sweeping generalisations about different genders, and instead to consider the specifics on a case by case basis. Employees need to see that their family life is considered and respected. They will appreciate this and it will likely improve company loyalty in the long run. HR must ensure gender equality in their company HR’s role is essential in managing and promoting gender diversity within the business. They must ensure that the motivation and commitment of their employees is strengthened, which, in turn, strengthens the workforce overall and benefits the entire company.

Schedule a personalised 1:1

Talk to a Cornerstone expert about how we can help with your organisation’s unique people management needs.

© Cornerstone 2022
Legal