What is HR data analytics?

Do you spend much time on internal reporting on HR activities, within your Organisation? If not, you should. HR reporting done well will help guide your HR decision-making, develop your forward-looking HR strategy and just as importantly help you assess the effectiveness of your current HR activities.
Your Organisation is likely bursting with HR data and workforce insights. This data is probably ad hoc and unstructured, coming to you via many wide and varied internal sources. It is likely to be a tangled mix of accurate useful data and inaccurate misleading data, providing limited insight.
So, let’s firstly try and understand what HR data analytics is and what it looks like.
Most experts identify three levels of Organisational HR analytics, with level 1 being what most Organisations are currently delivering and level 3 being the holy grail.
Simply put:
Level 1 – is basic descriptive data around a set topic. Examples would include, absenteeism reporting, employee turnover levels, % spend per employee of training, average time taken to hire, etc. At level 1 the data is reported in a descriptive format, with little or no analysis of the data undertaken, bar perhaps trend analysis. Typically only one data set per HR activity is reported, although that said more and more companies are building multidimensional analysis into their descriptive HR data set models. This is progressive and will provide additional useful business insights.
Level 2 – is predictive data analytics around a set topic. The focus here is on trying to predict trends based on data. HR can use these trends to complete scenario planning and/or prepare their Organisation for future potential outcomes. There is a heavy predominance of forecasting, providing data to support Leaders as they seek to drive the business forward. At this level of data analytics all data sets need to be well mined, highly accurate and HR will in all likelihood need to invest in data analytical software technology. It is fair to say that only large-scale progressive Organisations with strong data analytical modelling technology and skillsets are performing HR Data analytics at this level.
Level 3 – is prescriptive data analytics around a set topic or set of inter-related topics. It builds on insights gleaned from predictive analytical models and shapes or offers options/actions/decisions to best optimise the analysis. It is focussed on outcomes and suggested actions the predictive data is pointing towards. Again, it requires specialist technology tools to compute the suggested outcomes.
In reality this is the holy grail, but few if any Organisations have yet managed this level of sophistication regarding their HR Data.
Where does your Organisation live on the
Descriptive —————- Predictive —————– Prescriptive
HR data analytical spectrum?
Sean Kane