Let’s travel 10-20 years into the business world of the future. This glimpse ahead shows data and lots of it. In this realm, the leading data analysis department is not IT, finance or even marketing – it’s human resources. 

Four secrets to being successful with analytics (and impressing the C-suite)

Let’s travel 10-20 years into the business world of the future. This glimpse ahead shows data and lots of it. In this realm, the leading data analysis department is not IT, finance or even marketing – it’s human resources.

While it may be hard to believe today, the future of HR lies in big data. The perceptive and analytical use of employee numbers, statistics and information will transform the human resources field. However, HR leaders don’t have to wait for this transformation. Today, access to employee data enables the HR department to earn its seat at the executive table by speaking the language of business – numbers.

“Today’s data-saturated business environment makes it very difficult for organizations to successfully gather, manage and analyze data. Statistical dashboards, like the ones offered by Ceridian, allow business leaders to quickly and accurately spot trends and remain proactive.”

-  Ronnie Lapidus, senior product manager for Ceridian

By sharing the right data, HR professionals can help management understand, predict and improve employees’ performance. Examining HR factors, such as retention, hiring and engagement, enables the organization to strategically plan and manage its human capital. Consequently, the success of a data management program is contingent upon having the right tools in place. Effectively using big data involves more than just gathering a plethora of information. HR must synthesize this information and apply it to the organization’s initiatives. Dashboards can help with this process.

“Today’s data-saturated business environment makes it very difficult for organizations to successfully manage and analyze critical data. Statistical dashboards, like the ones offered by Ceridian, allow business leaders to quickly and accurately focus in order to spot trends and remain proactive,” said Ronnie Lapidus, senior product manager for Ceridian. “These dashboards are a vital piece of the evaluation puzzle.”

Using the right tools

Data dashboards may be essential, but they are not the only piece of the analytics puzzle. To earn their seat at the executive table, HR professionals must be able to effectively apply data to the organization’s challenges and opportunities. Despite its volume, data only has value if the information provided is actionable. The data must be presented to managers and executives in a format that they can use immediately.[1]

Analytics have the potential to play a vital role in boosting productivity. By tracking the organization’s engagement programs and incentives, HR can engage in and contribute to executives’ employee engagement strategies. Additionally, by analyzing the characteristics of the organization’s top performers, businesses can more easily replicate and encourage these attributes in other workers. [2]

Four secrets to making HR standout with analytics

  1. Start small. Gain your credibility with analytics by successfully completing small analytical projects before you tackle larger initiatives.
  2. Tap into the expertise of internal partners. Other departments, including IT, marketing and finance, may already have analytical tools in place. Collaborate with these groups for insight into which processes, systems and tools to use.
  3. Develop benchmarks. Compare current findings to the company’s previous performance and that of similar companies. These benchmarks set expectations and standards for the organization.
  4. Present data well. When sharing analytics with executives, translate the numbers into business terms, such as revenue, productivity, errors and net promoter score.

“Human resources data and analytics have the power to transform the organization and save valuable time and money. Big data is the future of human capital management, and businesses must ensure that they have the tools and expertise to effectively use this information,” Lapidus said.

HR professionals are on the cusp of a radical transformation of their field. Smart and strategic use of big data has the potential to change executives’ perception of HR. This change won’t happen overnight, and it will require investment of significant time and resources, but digging into big data is well worth the effort for HR and their organizations.