How to use your HR data for strategic insight

In the digital age, data generated by HR practices is vast. From traffic on the company’s website to keeping tabs on potential candidates for hire and on employees within your organization, there is a lot of data that can be generated over years—even over the course of a single day. But it is often underutilized. If the data is not collected, understood, and analyzed, then you’re letting a valuable resource go to waste. HR data can offer strategic insights to help you find your next hire more efficiently, save costs overall, and even anticipate the next vacancy you need to fill. If you simply do a little digging, you just might discover the HR team is sitting on a gold mine.

Data surrounds you—use it wisely

The first step is determining your data capabilities—what data you’re obtaining and what data you’re losing. Ultimately you want to figure out how the HR team can better oversee this data in terms of its collection and appropriate use. For example, you may have an applicant tracking system to organize ongoing open positions. But that system is also a vast source of potential data you can use for the future. It can help you determine your best source of hire or where your most qualified applicants originate, and it can also be your talent pipeline for future positions if you target previous competitive candidates who ultimately didn’t get the job but may be perfect for a future position.

Another source of data may be your company website. Are you using website analytics? How much traffic does your site get? How are internal employees using HR webforms? As a point of contact for current employees and future hires, there are various data points to be aware of from your own site, and even how your organization appears on external sites.

How you use data can make or break you

Understanding where the data is may be simpler than understanding how you can collect and use the data. Digital HR management produces lots of data and can also operate better if it reads that data and builds upon it to replicate past successes and improve upon sources of inefficiency.  For example, you may want to determine which department in your organization has the greatest turnover and why. If you understand this, you can act upon it to help improve the efficiency with which you hire new employees and retain current ones.

How do you collect and put those data points together to better support your policies and your ability to anticipate opportunities and problems down the road? There are sophisticated software programs and tools that can collect and analyze the data for you—so when it comes time to start a job ad campaign or assess work performance levels or employee satisfaction, your HR team can have the resources to take the guesswork out of the process and plan on the best course of action.

When your data is Big Data

Does your HR team need a data scientist or analytics expert? With the increasing prevalence of digital HR, someone who can make sense of the data is vital. However, increasingly there are also software programs that can help manage the data—even AI systems that can consider the “Big Data” generated on multiple platforms and job ad sites difficult to manage on in-house spreadsheets. Investing in a comprehensive software system can do the “where” of finding your useful data and the “how” of collecting and analyzing it to develop strategy.

Strategic insight based on data provides the HR team with a scientific approach to talent acquisition, providing something calculable with which to guide your decision-making. The HR department has lots of data already. Why not put it to good use? While it may take some effort to set up, this resource can prove valuable in creating time-saving and cost-saving strategies.

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