From data to insight

Newsletter articles

1 Jan 2013

HR Insight Issue 16

Peter Reilly, Director HR and Consultancy

Peter ReillyAs organisations improve their HR IT systems, the capability to capture, analyse and report on data improves correspondingly. Our members' conference in October showed how companies like Vestas and SpecSavers demonstrate impressive outcomes from their own data analysis. They and companies like them can provide helpful insights based on various sources of 'HR data'. Employee engagement scores can be segmented by workforce groups; workforce supply can be viewed against length of service and wastage; references to contact centres can be reviewed by business unit; referrals to occupational health can be sorted by topic; and so on. Even more powerful is when HR data is combined with other sources of information held by colleagues elsewhere in the organisation. Thus you could look at employee engagement against customer satisfaction; measures of innovation (eg patents) by team structure; productivity by levels of employee autonomy; etc.

Besides having decent technological systems, prerequisites for success include having processes in place to ensure data are captured fully and accurately; that the data manager has an enquiring mind, and that this is devoted to solving business problems. Global organisations are addressing the first point through greater corporate mandation of data conformity and the threat of challenging data failures or deviations from standard.

Using data to improve business decisionmaking means sensitivity to which are the critical people management issues. For example:

  • Line manager capability - identifying those with low employee engagement scores, poor attendance rates, high wastage, low productivity, etc.
  • Present or future resource gaps - highlighting areas where business performance is hindered by vacancies, skill deficiencies, experience shortfalls.
  • Poor adherence to HR policies and practices - concentrating on those that impact business performance (eg performance management) and assessing whether it is a design or execution fault.
  • Uneven employee engagement - highlighting areas of employee dissatisfaction and identifying their causes and workforce characteristics.
  • Poor brand identification - understanding why the employment brand may be less successful than competitors in attracting new recruits from university campuses.

IES has helped organisations to both gather the right sort of data and analyse it in ways that give insight into the nature of the problem and a possible solution. Examples include:

  • conducting HR customer surveys such as for East Sussex County Council (which has seen the customer evaluation of its performance noticeably improve since our initial review)
  • understanding the cost implications of potential reward changes
  • examining the labour market challenges in office relocation
  • offering in-depth (correlation) analysis of organisational employee surveys.

There are fewer excuses these days not to mobilise the evidence in order to drive the organisation forward. It just needs the right attitude of mind and the right data protocols in place.

To discuss how IES could help your organisation with data collection, analysis or thoughtful application of findings, email Peter Reilly.