The future of HR is driven by data. The benefits that metrics and analytics provide enable HR to make better, more informed decisions. Data also provides a strong argument when trying to implement changes in a business.

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While many HR departments have started incorporating data into their HR strategy, getting started with HR analytics can be overwhelming, particularly if you’ve never worked with them before. The following five steps can help your HR department get started with data-driven HR.

1.    Centralize Employee Data

Traditionally, employee data has existed across a variety of platforms—HR systems, excel sheets and even paper records. Fortunately for the HR departments, technology has vastly improved, and specifically technology has been developed to help with the HR function.

Collecting data across various platforms is difficult. It’s messy and time consuming too. If you want to focus on HR analytics and develop data-drive HR, you need to start by centralizing all employee data, and the best way to do this is by using a Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

The HRIS makes it possible to easily consolidate employee data all in one place. Centralizing data is important for ensuring consistency and accuracy. Merging employee data helps with identifying key performance indicators, which in turn can help you identify how these KPIs affect business outcomes.

2. Identify the Data Crucial to Business Success  

HR is a unique department in that its role is to serve as a support function for every other department, particularly their operations. HR does this by providing the necessary insights and guidance that support a business’s goals.

When it comes to HR analytics, creating a data-driven strategy requires you to first identify the data most crucial to your business’s overall success.  You’ll also want to identify the data specific to each individual department that can support their position in helping the business reach its goals.

3.    Create an HR Analytics Dashboard

Your HRIS should support analytics and reporting, if it doesn’t, it’s time to look for one that’s more advanced.

Being able to visualize the data you’re collecting helps with monitoring the data which makes it easier to gain the insights you’re looking for.

A dashboard can provide interactive visuals that highlight various metrics such as employee absenteeism, training costs, overtime and more. A dashboard makes it easier to identify emerging trends and potential problems and even available or upcoming opportunities.

4.    Train Your HR Team

Some of your HR team may already have had experience with HR analytics, but, despite the rise in data-driven HR, many HR professionals are still on the periphery when it comes to using metrics. If you’re serious about creating a data-driven HR strategy, you’ll need to provide the right training to your HR department.

Fortunately, there are many courses available that explore HR analytics, how to use them in strategy, how to understand them, and more.

5.    Take Time for External Data

Internal data is easy to collect. As we’ve pointed out, centralizing your employee data and creating an HR dashboard can help you monitor KPIs and the metrics that matter most to your business’s bottom line.

However, internal data is only half of the information. Exploring the external data that can also affect your business, its objective and goals strengthens your overall data strategy.

External data requires partnerships. Your HR management should aim to connect with leading data-focused organizations that can provide access to the most relevant data to your industry.

A Shift in Focus

Data-driven HR requires a shift in focus. HR analytics should not be looked at as a one-time deal.  To drive organizational success analytics must be monitored and assessed continuously. Changes in data reveal important insights that can lead to crucial developments within your organization. Ongoing measurement and analyzation help businesses avoid major catastrophes because you HR department can identify issues and fluctuations ahead of time, giving your ample opportunity to make any necessary changes.

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