The Data Conundrum

The Data Conundrum


Leanne Adair, Senior Consultant

I’m currently conducting research into the development of talent management and have interviewed a number of Human Resource Directors and Talent Managers.

It is already evident that identifying and engaging prospective talent is critical to ensure your business has the right talent, in the right place, at the right time. However, one of the major challenges organisations are facing is the inability to collate the data. Still a number of companies – large and small – have not invested in suitable HR information systems. Many are working on excel worksheets or collating information from various fragmented systems. With the changing landscape of the way organisations are structured, employee profiles and markets, is this acceptable?

In my research, I will be exploring other elements of talent management, the challenges and opportunities that are involved, however, for now, I am keen to understand what is happening with regards to data within HR…

The finance, customer service and sales functions all use data to make informed business critical decisions and there have been numerous articles focused on the importance of data analytics for HR with many CEOs suggesting that data analytics is important to their company growth. Yet research suggests that only 5% of big data investment is within HR. Source: The Emerging Big Returns on Big Data, A TCS 2013 Global Trent Survey.

CEOs rank ‘human capital’ the number 1 factor in creating sustainable economic value – workforce analytics can improve human capital strategy and, therefore, business performance.

Why is there a big disconnect between what CEOs are suggesting and what is actually happening? Are we simply not ready to embrace the change or are we unsure of where to look for best practice – moreover, what does good actually look like when it comes to data analytics in HR?

Of course, implementing an integrated HR talent management solution does provide some challenges. It is simply not a case of setting it up and then immediately reaping the consequent rewards.

A number of factors need to be considered, including:

  • Skills: HR Professionals will require training to be able to both analyse and present key finding to senior stakeholders.
  • Resource: Being able to analyse and pull together data from a number of sources and quantify the data takes time. Some larger organisations actually have teams focusing specifically on data
  • Collaboration: Divisions and country operations will need to work together to understand what data they require and how they react on the results

However, can you afford not to? I read a statement recently, “hard data trumps soft opinions”, and considering the current war on talent and the changing motivator of your workforce, never before has it been so important to understand and engage with your current and future employees:

  • What skills do you have?
  • How engaged is your employee base?
  • What motivates them?
  • What skills will you require in the future?
  • What will it take to attract the best external talent?

Data analytics can support HR In a number of ways:

  • Enhance employee morale
  • Drive business performance
  • Improve retention
  • Run effective recruitment campaigns
  • Support the diversity agenda
  • Engage with external talent pool

Are you a business that has recently implemented a people management system, or looking to embark on a system implementation? If so, I would certainly be keen to hear your thoughts and understand the impact it has had or you feel it would have on your company.

At 6 Group, we work with a number of businesses who are embarking on transformational change programs, through data-driven insights, organisation design and leadership development. So, if this is something you are considering, get in touch.

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