HR reporting and HR analytics: what is the difference?
Last week, we attended the CIPD HR Analytics Conference in London. If you read our event review, you’ll know that it focused upon the growing trend towards ensuring your HR data is analysed so that you can spot patterns and predict any potential issues. But what does this actually mean for HR professionals?
Using data in an analytical way isn’t a new idea; but when it comes to human resources, it has only relatively recently become a trend that HR professionals are keen to benefit from.
The evolution of HR technology has made it possible for companies to simultaneously combine reporting with analysis without sacrificing staff time – making it easier and more affordable than ever before.
HR Analytics: An emerging trend
Traditionally, HR reports have focused upon standard data collection; i.e. the number of new starters, staff turnover, staff absence rates, employee engagement etc.
All useful facts of course; yet ‘flat’ and often incomplete data such as this doesn’t create a complete picture – making it difficult to extract useful insights that senior managers can use to aid business development.
In contrast, an analytics system allows you to examine, analyse and interpret your data – telling a story about the true state of the business. Information can be accessed via secure dashboards that will highlight trends along with areas for review and allow you to make better business decisions based on real evidence.
For example, using analytical tools to examine your data will help you to understand how long it takes for a new starter to have a business impact, whether certain employees are outperforming colleagues and if there has been any impact from training or L&D opportunities.
You can also use performance metric analysis to provide quantifiable data which may help you make difficult decisions such in the case of redundancies. Ultimately, analysis makes your data relevant.
How can HR technology support HR analysis?
At the conference, we spoke to many HR professionals who were either starting to implement analytical tools or were there to learn more about what analysis means and how it can benefit them.
It was clear that implementing HR analysis is a daunting prospect for everyone, and that collectively, the HR profession needs to up skill in order to cope with the new demands placed on them. Practitioners currently using Excel spreadsheets to monitor employee data, may feel particularly daunted!
However, technological advances mean that it is now easier than ever before to provide meaningful analytical breakdowns. Investing in a sophisticated HR system, will enable you to access and automate consistent and reliable reports to evaluate and improve both employee and business performance.
Types of HR Analysis
The CIPD has broken down HR analysis into three levels:
a) Descriptive Analytics. Using descriptive data to illustrate an area of HR, with no analysis beyond a change over time (known as trend analysis), e.g. turnover stats
b) Descriptive Analytics using multi-dimensional data. This is where you can combine different types of data to look at relationships between different HR activities and processes, e.g. the effect of appraisals on turnover stats
Predictive Analytics. Using data to predict future trends, allowing you to plan for all possible events and scenarios for the good of the business. This can be done, at a basic level, with an Excel spreadsheet and statistical knowledge. Or, via a simple analytics module or system that takes a data feed from your HR system
Prescriptive Analytics. This will apply mathematical and computer sciences to suggest options to the data set out in Levels 1 and 2. It will not only predict the outcomes but also the interrelated effects of each decision.
How do I make the most out of my HRIS to provide analytical reports?
Our experiences at the CIPD HR Analytics Conference demonstrated that the move towards analysis isn’t going to go away, it’s only going to become more and more prevalent.
Each HR system is different, and has different strengths so as independent HR technology consultants we can offer specialist advice on the wide range of cloud-based systems available and which one is right for you.
Contact us for a free HRIS health check where we will find out more about your specific goals and help you choose the best HR Analytics System for your business.