HR Advisors Conference Blog

Further thoughts from the conference or about the challenges of being in an HR Advisory role.

HR Super Hero Files #5: Getting Metric!

Big Data is getting lots of attention at the moment, but from our training here at Elephant, we’ve found that many HR teams have only just started their companies on the journey.

If you’re interested to know more about using data – but aren’t sure where to start, I thought I’d write this short introduction to figuring it all out (sorry couldn’t resist a pun!).

The thing is, before you start throwing around the term big data, you need to take the first steps and first get your HR reporting right, before you move to metrics and then analytics. What’s the difference? Here’s my ‘sum’mary:

HR Reporting

The first step to take is running some HR reporting for your company. This is looking at where you’ve come from and is a great way to identify where there might be issues. In HR we’re often not very analytical and figures/numbers aren’t our thing. The trouble is, when you identify issues based on gut instinct or talking to people but have no science behind it – your senior management team often won’t listen.

The good news is that there someone in the wider HR team who is awesome with figures. That’s your payroll person. Whether they are based in HR or Finance – go and make friends with them and discuss what you’re trying to look into. They will often know what reporting might be useful and may be able to pull it out of the payroll system.

Basic HR reporting can include leave liability, sick leave patterns, length of service, voluntary turnover and remuneration and wage costs.

Do think about taking your HR reporting a step further. In a contact centre we had 40% turnover. It wasn’t enough to just report on how much was voluntary, but we also gathered information about why people were leaving. Once we found that 10% of people were leaving to do their OE, we could keep in touch with them about what the company was doing so when they came back to NZ, they might come back to us. We could then also report on that!

A Deloitte survey found that 56% of companies who were using any type of Big Data – were just doing reactive operational reporting.

HR Metrics

Metrics are when you then introduce regular measures that you report on. Often companies use a traffic light system to report on these. Just like having too many KPI’s or goals, you want to pick 3 – 4 key metrics. For example:

  • Monthly Headcount vs FTE
  • Number of disciplinary actions
  • Number of open roles
  • Time to appoint
  • Absenteeism
  • Excessive leave balances
  • Sick leave balances

The same Deloitte survey found 30% of companies were using this proactive reporting data. You need to think about what metrics would be useful, who the audience is, how you’re going to report and what you’re trying to achieve. You may have different metrics that you report to different management groups.

HR Analytics

Then you get to analytics which is where you can use the metrics to analyse and predict trends for the future. Once you get to this stage you can link this to your workforce planning. Only 10% of companies are at this stage and you’ll need to tap into business analysis skills and use technology or systems to model future scenarios and build algorithms. Companies like Google are leading the way in people analytics.

If you want to find out more:

  • Have a read of the HR metrics chapter in Employment Bites where I include a lot more examples
  • Book for the HR Metrics workshop at the HR Advisors Conference
  • Spend some time researching the different types of reporting, metrics and analytics
  • Talk to others in your HR network or join some different LinkedIn Groups
  • Go and talk to your payroll team!

It’s great that in HR we’re good with understanding the people stuff – but our lack of detail around producing data to back up what we’re talking about can turn off our senior management team.

So make sure you’ve got a plan to take your company and your HR team through to the next step on the big data journey and you’ll be a true HR superhero!

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This entry was posted on July 29, 2015 by in Operational v Strategic HR Work and tagged , , , .
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