3 Obstacles to Effective People Analytics and How to Overcome Them

Your organization knows it needs to get a better grasp on its people analytics. With workforce costs comprising an average of 70 percent of the typical company’s expenses, HR needs to get a reliable understanding of its people data.

So what’s getting in the way? According to a report by the Harvard Business Review, the three biggest obstacles to achieving better use of people data for HR and talent management professionals are:

  • 54 percent say their data is inaccurate, inconsistent, or hard to access, requiring too much manual manipulation
  • 47 percent say they lack the analytic acumen or skills
  • 44 percent say they lack adequate investment in necessary HR/talent analytical systems

What HR needs to overcome those challenges is the right data and skills to guide the critical business decisions that will improve the bottom line. Here’s how that kind of data and those kinds of skills apply to each of the three big challenges facing HR professionals.

Obstacle No. 1: Inaccurate, inconsistent, or hard-to-access data

HR leaders can operate effectively with a lot of inconsistency, but when HR takes the data they derive from inconsistent systems and processes, these inaccuracies become problematic for business decisions.

Solution: HR needs to begin with the organizational objective of generating consistent data. For many organizations, this will mean working with a capable partner or making a hire with the firsthand experience to support positive changes. For example, Optis Insights provides employee data-management software that delivers high-quality, centralized data from any source or system, giving you the tailored intelligence your organization needs to overcome the burdens of inferior data.

Obstacle No. 2: Insufficient analytical acumen within HR

Business leaders ask a lot of HR professionals. Not only does HR need to effectively manage the administrative aspects of talent management, HR must have an adept understanding of the strategic needs of the business and deliver analyses of how business outcomes relate to employee performance.

Solution: For HR leaders who are learning on the go, the first important lesson is to understand that sometimes data trumps instinct. After reliable data is obtained, many organizations struggle to make sense of it because the data doesn’t align with what HR believes to be true about the business. Making sense of new data can often be as simple as asking HR leaders to set aside their preconceived beliefs.

Obstacle No. 3: Inadequate investment in HR analytics systems

With minimized understanding comes minimized investment. When HR leaders don’t have the analytical acumen to make a compelling and conclusive business case to executives for greater investment in workforce analytics, it can be truly challenging to justify the right budget.

Solution: HR leaders need to first embrace and promote a data-driven culture. For many organizations, this is the first step to realizing the possibility that workforce analytics solutions have the greatest potential to self-fund based on the savings they generate.

When HR leaders work with the right strategic partner, they can develop their understanding of critical workforce analytics and see which metrics can have the greatest impact on business outcomes. Now is the time for HR and business leaders to learn, invest, and grow. Optis offers 25 years of experience in people-data integration, with an unparalleled focus on time and attendance, absence, and disability. We have a keen understanding of the insights needed to make your people data visible and manageable and to provide you with the data and skills you need to improve the bottom line.