Chicken or the egg with HR metrics skills

by 04 Sep 2007

Regarding: ‘HR professionals lack metrics skills’ and ‘Creating space for HR’ (issue 134, 7 August, pp1 and 10), it’s quite interesting that these two articles are juxtaposed in the same edition. Working with HR professionals ourselves and commencing a survey on time spent with monthly reporting, we are finding that HR professionals in organisations with more than 1,000 people are spending about 20-40 or more hours a month generating reports, and they do not have the technology available to easily measure their metrics.

It may be unfair to say they lack metrics skills and actually support Chris Mitchell, MD of EDS, who believes HR professionals are spending too much time on “repetitive, administrative back office stuff” because they do not have the technology to free up their time. A bit of a chicken or egg scenario. If we free up HR professionals from mundane, administrative work, will they be able to add value with their metrics skills? My answer would be, it depends on the team.

I’d rather look at Peter Howes’ data and look at the reason finance and marketing are being brought into the HR function to make such generalisations. Is it a lack of skill or lack of time that people external to HR are being brought in to do the analysis?

Another trend is that HR professionals want to do more work around their metrics, but are unable to due to the resources they’ve needed to create themselves (also known as ‘Excel spider webs’, with some teams working off 20 different spreadsheets), which is not only time consuming but risky in terms of accuracy in data. Some HR professionals lack confidence in getting the business to support their need to automate their administration, in order to give them the time to be more strategic.

Clients seem to have a very good grasp of analytics. They just don’t seem to have the time.

– Tamar Ferhad, business service manager, Pollak Software Solutions