Technology has provided us with a dearth of information—statistics, metrics and data—that we can use in a variety of ways. The sales department has always relied heavily on numbers to build out strategy. As technology has improved, other departments have followed suit. The one holdout has been, and to some extent, continues to be human resources.

HR departments have spent the last decade working hard to move from administrative duties to a more strategic role. In doing this, HR has demonstrated its leadership qualities. But for HR to get better buy-in and more support from management and the C-Suite, it needs to make the shift to data-driven HR.


Data-driven HR is the use of data accumulated from current and prospective employees to gain key insights into the organization, employee satisfaction, engagement and more.

Data-driven HR increases human resources measurable business impact.

Many people are wary when it comes to analytics, preferring human judgement over data and numbers. There’s also the worry that data will be used irresponsibly.

But there are many reasons that HR needs to make the shift to data-driven HR.

Increase Corporate Innovation

Data, metrics and analytics when used correctly can support a business’s desire for innovation. By measuring and evaluating your hiring process, you can make the right changes that help you focus on finding innovative candidates.

Analytics can help you design better recruiting systems; they can also help you determine systems that are working—which you can then learn from.

Furthermore, analytics provide insight into your employees—how they feel about your business, whether they feel comfortable sharing ideas, and if your company culture really encourages innovation.

Analytics Helps Prioritize Resources

Data-driven HR helps with prioritization, particularly when it comes to resources and determining which ones have the largest overall impact on the business’s bottom-line. By analyzing metrics, it’s easy to determine what HR programs are most help to individual departments and teams.

With this information in hand, HR can build out a more focused HR strategy, allocating the appropriate budget and even staff, towards the programs that are having the biggest—and most positive impact—on your organization.

Analytics Can Help Improve Productivity

HR is a people function. Data-driven HR can be used to support employee production. By analyzing employee performance data, you can effectively edit and change the way you promote and encourage employee productivity.

Data can help you identify individual employees’ strengths and weaknesses. By measuring project completion rates, output—even time off—you can determine where employees may be struggling and work with management to create initiatives that support them.

Improved productivity boosts engagement and retention. When you make informed decisions using data it’s easy to meet employees’ needs.

Data Improves HR/Managerial Relations

HR is designed to support employees while also helping managers lead. A common challenge HR faces is getting managers on board with new protocols and policies.

Managers can be protective of their roles and teams. But the advice of the human resources department is invaluable. HR professionals are experts in people management, employee law and conflict management. Managers need to work in tandem with HR.

Using data to influence managers makes it hard for them to argue against new protocols. By quantifying a new initiative’s potential impact, you provide clearer reasoning for executing a change.

Shift HR from Operational to the Strategic         

The 2010s saw the human resources department go through a renaissance. Technology and automation, as well as outsourcing, have permitted HR departments the opportunity to shift from an operational focus to more of a strategic partner within a business.

For this shift to succeed HR must use data and analytics. Analyzing the various metrics put out by employees, and the initiatives HR executes help with overall performance and structure. Analytics provide a clearer picture of how a strategy is—or isn’t—working. These insights are invaluable, as they provide the support HR needs to step up as a leading force within the corporate world.

Data Can Support HR Initiatives                  

Data-driven HR provides quantifiable support for HR initiatives. Integrating data into your overall strategy will make it easier to collaborate with the C-Suite. You’ll be able to provide proof that initiatives are working, show areas that need improvement and provide solutions that can help—all from measuring and analyzing data.

Data is the best way to prove the ROI of an investment. For HR this is vastly important since historically it’s difficult to get buy-in for new programs and technologies, such an HRIS. Data is the foundation of support HR needs to make the changes that will lead to improved productivity, engagement and retention.

Preparing HR for the Future                        

Data-driven HR helps us to make better decisions. The decisions your HR department makes affect the business, management and employees.

But data-driven HR doesn’t just support a business in the here and now. Predictive analytics can be used to determine upcoming trends, changes, opportunities and problems in human resources. Data can highlight shifts in ongoing trends, giving you time to make the necessary adjustments ahead of time, securing your business by reducing risks.