There are no quick fixes, but taking a broader approach to gathering HR information is a good place to start. This means gathering data from a much broader range of sources. Internal colleague data is the basic foundation. Next comes internal data showing the connection between HR activity and business priorities (such as business performance by geography, market or sector.) Then external data such as economic indicators or competitors’ performance and key industry measures.
Integrating their data
New technology, particularly the introduction of cloud-based HR management systems in addition to established ERP solutions, is making it easier to maintain all HR data in a single, standard format – and a potential end to the problem of inconsistent, dispersed data.
Building a statistics skill set in HR
HR leaders will need to hire a new generation of HR specialists to make the most of this new data they are able to collect. Historically, statistics and data analysis has not been a core requirement of HR roles, but to get it right, HR teams will need people who have deep quantitative analysis skills.
Right questions, right insights
With the right information, right systems and right people HR needs to ask the right questions. Analytics should be less about raw data and more about what insights occur when you combine a range of measures and analyze them to test questions or hypotheses that are relevant to the business.
Different organization, different questions
The questions that are right for one organization may be irrelevant for another. The shape of any company’s people program and the analytics that underpin it must be driven by that organization’s unique competitive landscape, customers and products. No two suites of HR analytics should be alike.
For example, an organization that has adopted the Value Disciplines Model developed by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema will have chosen to excel in ‘operational excellence’, ‘product leadership’, or ‘customer intimacy’ or a unique configuration of the three. Unfortunately, HR strategies are generally far too generic and undifferentiated and don’t support the pursuit of competitive advantage.