The use of ‘big data’ to inform and influence HR strategy is in its infancy, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
In a report produced with global IT company Oracle, the CIPD said “silos, skills gaps and suspicion” are stopping HR functions from using talent analytics and other data to their full effect. It said structures stop data flowing freely in organisations, while there is a dearth of analytical skills in the HR profession and suspicion about the value of a data-driven approach.
While 63% of HR leaders feel they are using data to stimulate change and improvement, only 21% of business leaders agreed with them. Interviewed for the report, Peter Turner of Ricoh said: “HR people are better at managing ambiguity than analysis”.
The report said data and analytics can help HR take a much more forward-focused and evidence-driven approach to areas such as workforce planning, talent management and people development. It advocates finding analytical individuals in the organisation as well as sourcing outside talent to make the most of data opportunities.
John McGurk, head of CIPD Scotland and author of the research, said: “HR’s people analytics capability is patchy. Even those that we consider to be at an advanced level are reluctant to say they are pushing the boundaries.”
He added: “Scepticism about whether a data-driven world would be a better one still abounds. Some HR practitioners feel that analysts are not sharing enough data or insight, and are operating without a full understanding of the purpose of analysing people data, leading to a ‘bean counting’ approach to the measurement of people. Meanwhile, some analysts feel that HR practitioners are not asking the right questions. This is a healthy tension, but one which must be resolved if HR professionals are to fully embrace the talent analytics revolution, which is already central to business conversations.”
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