HR struggling to make sense of employee data

by Iain Hopkins28 Mar 2013

Less than half of organisations use objective talent data to drive business decisions, and less than one in five of HR professionals are satisfied with the way their organisation manages talent data (18%), according to survey results from SHL’s annual Global Assessment Trends Report 2013.

In the study, it is suggested that HR is overwhelmed by the volume of data generated on employees and are having trouble deriving meaningful insight from it that will drive the business forward.

“Our research shows that even though organisations measure employee performance, they have historically focused on efficiency data, like how well an employee is performing versus data that allows them to make a strategic talent decision,” Ken Lahti from SHL said.

“This means key information on talent potential and future capability is overlooked, effectively making targeted programmes that identify the next generation of leaders and nurture talent for critical roles ineffective. This increases succession risk for organisations, putting business performance and continuity in jeopardy," he added.

Just last year, around 12 exabytes of data were created each day, which is likely to double every 40 months. The report revealed that the two major challenges HR needs to overcome are data quality and accessibility.

Social media is one source that is adding to the data deluge: despite 88% of employers stating they lack confidence in the quality of candidate data from social media sites, 20% use that information to make hiring decisions, and 30% believe the data is useful in determining candidate fit.

“HR is still grappling with its ability to provide strategic data to the business on its workforce and is ill-equipped right now to take advantage of big data. They do not yet have the systems and tools required to identify people intelligence, create metrics, and link HR data sources together,” said Lahti. “The ability to analyse greater volumes of complex workforce data and translate in to meaningful talent metrics offers HR the opportunity to identify skill shortages and development opportunities, while also answering the most pressing talent questions, such as whether the company has the talent to execute on its business plan and grow at the desired rate.”

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