Why data is HR’s most important asset

My new book, Data-Driven Human Resources, outlines how the average Human Resources (HR), team sits on a data mine. For starters, there’s data on staff satisfaction, job progression, training, absenteeism, productivity, personal development reviews and competency profiles. Companies can also collect additional data beyond traditional HR data. For example, they can scan social media data or analyze emails for employee sentiment.

Although it can be difficult to use HR data legally and ethically, it is incredibly valuable and one of the most important assets an HR team has. Why? Why? Because HR data can be used to improve decision making, increase employee happiness, and optimize company processes.

Many HR data was lost or not used in the past. Companies are now able to turn their data into insight thanks to big data and analytics. They can predict when employees will be leaving, where they will recruit the best candidates, how to attract and retain them, and many other things.

This means that HR data has never been more valuable. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 82% of companies plan to increase or begin using big data in HR by 2018. “Intelligent HR” has become a popular buzzword.

Intelligent HR is data-driven HR

Although they have access to vast amounts of data, I find that too many HR departments spend their time dealing with legal and administrative issues. Poor staff appraisals, the daily minutiae of people management and wasteful, costly activities such as annual staff satisfaction surveys eat up valuable time that could have been better used elsewhere. There’s also the problem that HR is often seen as being very people-oriented and less about data and numbers.

Data is not always being used in the most appropriate way for the business. Many HR data analysis is done using standard KPIs measures such as absenteeism. These metrics are simple to measure and most companies use them as a standard. These days, however, there are many more valuable HR metrics than can be measured. They can provide business-critical insight and have a significant effect on an organization’s performance.

This is the origin of data-driven human resources. Data-driven HR can help HR teams make better decisions in HR, understand and assess the business impact of people, improve leadership’s decision making on people-related matters and make HR processes and operations more efficient. This will improve the wellbeing and effectiveness of employees. This can all have a significant impact on the company’s ability achieve its strategic goals. That’s why HR data is so valuable.

The idea of a data-driven HR team is growing in popularity. HR and people management are undergoing a data-fueled revolution. This business, which has historically focused on soft elements such as people, culture and learning, is now driven more heavily by data analysis and hard numbers.

Adding value where possible

Truely intelligent, data-driven HR uses HR data and analytics to drive performance and add value across the organization.

Intelligent, data-driven people management is the key to adding value to an organization in the most intelligent way possible. This includes using all tools available to HR: data, sensors and analytics, machine learning, machine learning, AI, and many more.

As an example, take Google’s approach in people management. Google offers employees free meals, generous holiday allowances and access to nap pods for relaxing during the day. It also gives them space to grow their own fruits and vegetables at work. Why? This is not because Google’s leaders feel warm and fuzzy about their employees (or at least not the sole reason). These policies and decisions were based upon what data showed Google would improve employee satisfaction. What is the company’s value? Although staff turnover is high in tech, Google has been voted as the best company to work at in eight of the past 11 years.

I am not saying HR should only focus on data. Even in the age of robotics, artificial intelligence, and increasing automation, people will still be the key to success. The role of the HR department is changing. As we have more data to analyze, the possibilities for HR departments to add value to an organization are increasing. This is why HR data is such an important asset.

Data-Driven Human Resources explains how analytics and data are changing HR. This book is filled with real-life examples that show how HR can make the most of data-driven environments.

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