How HR Can Use Data To Drive C-Suite Buy-In

People Analytics

In this Point of View, Adam Rogers, Chief Technology Officer at Ultimate software, describes how HR can provide meaningful insights into the overall health of an organization.

Companies are drowning in data. Every organization uses data in some way to glean relevant, actionable insights and guide corporate strategy and decisions. But when you’re constantly inundated with data that doesn’t drive clarity, finding these insights can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

A 2017 report of more than 50 Fortune 1000 companies found that while 81 percent of executives considered their data investments “successful”–a record high–only 48 percent of these firms reported achieving measurable results. In terms of developing data-driven cultures, just 37 percent of executives considered their efforts successful.

HR leaders who can draw connections between people analytics and corporate goals play a valuable role in the organization and are well-positioned to gain visibility. #HR #Data @UltimateHCM @adamr Click To Tweet

The issue isn’t data availability–it’s usability. In fact, in a separate study by IDG, 42 percent of enterprise organizations said their biggest data concern was that it’s “difficult to extract insights.” That’s understandable, considering that some companies produce terabytes of data every day, 80 percent of which is unstructured and so difficult to analyze without help from sophisticated artificial intelligence solutions.

Human capital typically accounts for a big portion of a company’s gross revenue, so it’s especially vital for HR teams to develop data-backed talent and retention strategies. Ideally, people analytics should bridge communication gaps between team leaders and senior management to support both talent and organizational decisions. HR leaders must embrace data optimization and learn to differentiate between data that’s valuable to the C-suite and data that’s just noise.

The Power Of HR Data

Ultimate Software's Adam Rogers
Ultimate Software’s
Adam Rogers

An HRO Today study showed how powerful this relationship between HR data and business success can be. Organizations that leveraged employee performance data to advance their talent acquisition process outperformed their peers 58 percent of the time, by margins of 200 percent or more. The study also found that these companies strategically drilled down their metrics to gain a deeper understanding of the data and made this data available to all stakeholders. These efforts resulted in holistic, integrative knowledge sharing that benefited the entire organization.

Over the past two decades, the increased adoption of cloud-based HR software has streamlined people analytics and encouraged leaders to analyze the entire employee journey, just as customer experience teams do. A continuously expanding array of technology, such as pulse feedback solutions, employee wellness apps and social communication tools have led to a heightened understanding of and appreciation for the employee journey. And each of these solutions provides rich, valuable information to HR leaders–as long as they know how to look for it.

Remember that CEOs rely on executive dashboards to connect them with data insights from across the organization. Isolated metrics are of little value when it comes to corporate strategy. Company-wide visibility into key performance indicators lets the C-suite accurately gauge the proverbial forest without getting lost in the trees.

A Future Driven By Analytics

The pressure is on for HR departments to provide meaningful benchmarks and insight into the overall health of an organization. Examples include comparing performance to pre-determined benchmarks, evaluating the connection between retention and customer satisfaction or assessing whether employee engagement was affected by recent benefits changes.

The future of HR analytics is rapidly moving toward sophisticated business intelligence and drill-down capabilities. These solutions combine data from disparate systems, create detailed reports, consolidate insights and help spread information across teams.

HR has a valuable opportunity to develop compelling stories that demonstrate business value. Leaders who learn to draw connections between HR data and overall corporate goals not only play a valuable role in the organization but also they’re well-positioned to earn executive buy-in and visibility. When you cut through the noise, the data speaks for itself.

Adam Rogers, Chief Technology Officer of Ultimate Software, a leading cloud provider of HCM solutions. Based in Weston, Fla., Ultimate Software is a sponsor of the HCM Technology Report.  To learn more, click here.

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