The XpertHR 2020 HR Roles and Responsibilities Survey showed that over three-fifths of organisations don’t gather sufficient relevant data to measure HR performance in various areas. And around 62% believe that’s due to having poor or non-existent HR information systems.
Having an HR system that facilitates the capture of employee data is important in many ways. After all, it’s the foundation on which sound business decisions are made. Most organisations appreciate their employees make a key contribution to their competitive advantage. Yet if good quality data isn’t available, it affects an organisation’s ability to make good quality decisions about those people. Decisions that are being made using out-of-date or inaccurate data pose a real risk; HR professionals and those that they work with must have confidence in the information they’re using.
Accurate, real-time data has the potential to help HR in many ways
Most companies are likely to already have some type of information tracking in place for HR issues like absence management. But even this might not be done as well as it could be. Some businesses still use predominantly spreadsheet-based systems. That can work up to a point if the business is small – but as it increases in size, the more inefficient and risky this approach becomes. These kinds of data snapshots are limited in the insights they offer. Managers might not be reporting consistently. The opportunity to identify trends could be missed.
If other measures are also being recorded using a similarly patchy approach, trying to then reconcile it all in any meaningful way is virtually impossible.
The ability to consolidate different HR data builds a far more rounded picture
More sophisticated data management via HR software and payroll software means a more cohesive and connected picture can be created. That helps companies really understand what’s going on. They can identify broader patterns that enable them to get to the root cause of an issue and react appropriately. An employee engagement problem within a department, for instance, might manifest itself in several ways: along with high absence, signs might include lower retention levels than might be expected, poor timekeeping and frequent occurrences of unplanned leave being taken. Rather than dealing with instances on an individual basis, if a company’s able to run reports and view the data collectively, it can make it a lot easier to spot the beginnings of a wider departmental problem that needs addressing.
As well as using data to spot early warning signs and pre-empt problems, it can also drive more strategic HR activity within the company. Clearer overviews of training and development activity can connect up with, for example, 360 degree review processes to provide a more comprehensive analysis. Both training and development and recruitment processes can be guided by skill audit activity within the system. What key skills does a business have? Where are the gaps that need addressing through development or recruitment? This more in-depth analysis can be used as the basis of talent reviews and talent mapping activity. It can contribute to a better understanding of what a good performer looks like in terms of what the organisation needs.
In turn, that can inform succession planning, and facilitate more effective deployment of people throughout an organisation.
There are other advantages too
HR employees can work more efficiently and accurately if they’re not required to collect and input large amounts of data manually; data can flow more freely across departments, reducing the need for duplicate inputting. Employee self-service options can reduce this burden even more.
The digitisation of a vast amount of HR data also potentially offers a greater capacity to operate a business more remotely. This has proven itself to be of value during ‘business as usual’ – and also, at the moment, when business is anything but. It seems likely that organisations with mobile remote systems in place are currently benefiting from the flexibility and ability such software gives them to make accurate decisions quickly, as they strive to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.