HR finds data-mining intimidating, but you can turn high-tech mountains into info-rich molehills.
There is data out there—easily accessible to you—that could do much to support your work and enable better hiring and greater retention and engagement; but you’re not using it. You may not even know it’s there. In fact, a new survey suggests that HR professionals have access to good technology but don’t take advantage of all of the data it provides.
Over a third (39%) of HR professionals said that they have adequate technology and infrastructure but don’t use the data it produces as extensively or effectively as possible. Nearly 30% said their “data maturity” is sufficient to support diverse needs, although only 12% said their technology or tech know-how is advanced enough to support all possible data and analytics efforts.
Most respondents said they only sometimes have access to data and insights when they need them, and many said they don’t always trust their data’s quality enough to use it for decision making. Only about one-fifth of respondents said their leaders “almost always” use data to inform their decisions.
While nearly half of respondents said they understand their customers/clients and their needs, they said that they don’t use data to improve their experience with the organization.
Clearly, if data and analytics remain a bit mysterious for you, you aren’t alone. HR in general is just now realizing the power of available data in making hiring, retention, engagement, and training decisions. This might be a good time to reach out to your IT staff, your software vendors, and other experts and stakeholders to help you do a better job of accessing data and understanding how to use it.
In the meantime, don’t let data overwhelm you. Take a few key steps:
· Recognize the difference between metrics and analytics. HR metrics are operational measures, while analytics focus on decision points, guiding choices that impact the workforce and related matters.
· Identify specific goals for your data analytics. Once you know what you want from your data, the easier it will be to target, collect, and use the information you need.
· Get past the “what” to the “why.” Use data to make better-informed decisions backed by facts instead of hunches.
· Speak the language of business, i.e., numbers. You have to be able to show how the dollars you spend on data and technology impact return on investment. Focus on building a business case for what your department is doing with technology, such as reducing turnover.