How to Leverage Your HR Data Insights For Smarter Organizational Decision-Making

In a survey by Deloitte and Visier, 70% of executives said they could make more effective and faster decisions if they had better access to people's data.

Human resources has always had access to organizational data but have not always leveraged it to assist organizational leaders in making strategic decisions. This gap between access to raw HR data and the ability to use that data in decision-making is called the People Impact Gap.

Fortunately, HR information systems have become more effective at managing data, allowing HR professionals to offer greater data-driven HR insights to executives.

In this article, we’ll discuss the challenges HR professionals face in managing data, practical ways to overcome these challenges, and how leveraging HR analytics can benefit public sector organizations.

The Challenges of Managing HR Data

1. Operating on legacy systems

In the past, HR systems were mainly transactional. They collected, stored, and processed data relating to recruitment, onboarding, payroll, leave, and employee performance. Most, however, were not designed to deliver insights into workforce data.

HR departments still using these legacy systems are limited in how much workforce intelligence they can extrapolate from their people data.

2. Underutilizing HR information systems

Some public sector organizations have invested in more intuitive HR systems but still need to sufficiently train their HR professionals to use the software to its full capacity. If HR leaders only access superficial information, they can’t provide organizational leaders with deeper strategic insights.

3. Lacking communication skills

Data is worthless without interpretation. Some HR professionals lack the communication skills to translate the story the data tells to executives.

For example, the recent “Great Resignation” had many executives turning to their human resources managers for an explanation of why employees were quitting in droves and what could be done to retain staff.

Employee turnover statistics can point to strengths and weaknesses in your organization. For instance, if your employee turnover is high, the data may reveal that employees are leaving because they are stagnating or because the workplace culture is toxic.

Once you understand the reason, you can report it to your executives and recommend steps to address the problem.

Effective Solutions For HR Data Management

If your organization is struggling to manage HR data effectively, there are two fundamental steps to put in place to improve data management.

Establish sound data governance

HR data governance encompasses the quality, security, and usage of HR data across your organization. To establish sound data governance, you need to:

  • Define your HR data goals.
  • Develop data management policies and procedures.
  • Implement monitoring tools to ensure data management standards are met.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities to key employees for collecting, storing, analyzing, and sharing your HR data in the organization.

Exercise data quality control

Problems with data quality typically arise from human error, system glitches, security breaches, and compromised or outdated information. Poor data quality can lead to incorrect or misleading insights, which can lead to bad decision-making.

To keep your HR data safe and maintain data integrity, you may need to set up certain security protocols, define data ownership roles, limit full access to data to key HR administrators, and conduct regular data audits.

4 Best Practices for Managing and Analyzing HR Data

By following some industry best practices, you can improve your HR data management outcomes and offer more valuable insights to your leadership team.

1. Use the right HR analytics tools

Installing the right HR information system can ensure more efficient data management.

Choose HR software that:

  • Centralizes data, integrates with other business systems, and automates processes
  • Allows you to assign roles to various HR administrators and other key stakeholders
  • Provides rich HR metrics
  • Offers robust data security features

2. Stay up to date with industry trends

HR departments have typically lagged behind other industries when it comes to adopting a data-centric approach. Technology and workforce trends are constantly changing. HR professionals should keep their finger on the pulse and invest in ongoing training to adapt to changes in the field.

3. Collaborate with other departments

Human resources is no longer an isolated role, relegated to the back office and only called upon to hire and fire. Today’s HR practitioner works closely with other departments and has taken a seat at the leadership table. By understanding the organization’s goals and where the skills gaps lie, you can leverage your HR data to plan your workforce more strategically.

4. Assess and adjust your HR data strategy

Data management is constantly evolving; so are your workforce and your constituents. To remain relevant, assessing your HR data strategy at certain junctures and adjusting it as and when necessary, is vital.

How Your Organization Benefits from Better HR Data Insights

When HR shifts from transaction to transformational, public sector organizations can better align their workforce outputs to support their goals.

The benefits include:

  • Increased efficiency. Get richer HR insights in less time so that organizational leaders can spend more time making proactive rather than reactive decisions.
  • Talent retention. Understand what influences employee satisfaction to reduce your chances of losing top talent.  
  • Smarter workforce planning. Your HR metrics can help you recruit talent more strategically, identify rising stars in the organization and develop a succession plan.

Key Takeaways

To fully leverage insights from your workforce data to drive your organization forward, you must manage and interpret your HR data more effectively. To do this, you need an HR information system capable of not only collecting and storing data but also analyzing and translating this data into actionable insights your leaders can use to make smarter decisions.

Find out how to leverage insights from HR data to make more strategic organizational decisions in public sector organizations.
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About CPS HR Consulting

CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country.  Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients.  We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.