As a business leader, you wouldn’t make a major marketing decision without analyzing existing strategy and data. You wouldn’t roll out a new product without conducting exhaustive, quantitative research on the marketplace. And you wouldn’t give a presentation on your organization’s finances to your shareholders without including figures and hard numbers.
So why should your approach to human resource management be any different?
The answer for many organizations whose approach to HR is less data-reliant tends to be some variant of “that’s just how it’s always been done.” The perception around HR is that it’s an aspect of business that’s centered around soft skills. And that’s a notion that limits what HR can do to help an organization thrive, as well as a slight to the essential day-to-day duties HR staffers perform.
Empathy, the ability to deftly maneuver through delicate personal situations and conflicts, and trustworthiness are absolutely vital traits possessed by HR teams. But per a recent study by Visier, a leading cloud-based workforce analytics platform, organizations who tap into a high level of “people analytics” tend to financially outperform their peers that don’t.
But even if you know that analytics and data in HR can contribute massively to organizational success, where do you begin? What data points matter?
According to Forbes contributor, best-selling author, speaker, futurist, and business and technology advisor Bernard Marr, KPIs for HR fall into four key categories:
- Measurements of HR outcomes—metrics that indicate whether or not HR’s efforts are contributing to overall business success
- Examples include employee satisfaction index, absenteeism rates, and attrition rate
- Assessments of HR service delivery—that look into how employees perceive the effectiveness of HR itself
- Examples include benefit satisfaction and performance of newly hired and trained employees
- HR self-assessment measurements—the sort of data you get when HR teams evaluate their own efficiency
- Examples include time required to fill vacant positions and average cost per hire
- HR compliance metrics—analytics on how well HR is meeting all legal requirements
- Examples include gender pay gap measurements and the percentage of employees fully trained on company policies
The good news about most of these KPIs, is that even if your organization isn’t actively tracking them and measuring them over time, you likely possess all the tools and opportunities to start. But while these data classifications and the metrics they contain are of incredible value to HR teams and the companies they support, they don’t quite check all the boxes. You still want an aggregate view of organizational morale, as well as a data-backed look at behavioral trends within the workplace.
Cultural metrics like these are of equal significance to the data points mentioned above, but have historically been tougher to quantify. Those perpetuating negative workplace behavior are unlikely to self-report their own wrongdoing. And those on the receiving end—for a variety of reasons—also have a tendency to keep their burden private. Anonymizing information like this can help encourage individuals to speak up, but it also limits HR teams’ abilities to take action to protect those experiencing unfair treatment.
That’s where Speakfully can help. Speakfully is a documentation, support, and reporting platform that allows employees to anonymously chronicle their experiences at work. Anonymized data can be viewed by HR staff via Speakfully’s analytics dashboard. But Speakfully also asks employee users for specific incident information that makes incident reports more actionable, if and when they choose to submit their complaint to HR.
It’s our hope that mistreated workers will eventually feel secure enough to come forward and put their name to an issue, allowing HR to help them. But even if that never happens, HR can still get a comprehensive view of behavioral trends, and can take broad action to prevent future incidents from occurring.