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The challenges of HR data for companies

For many years, HRIS software has been used to produce, collect, and centralize HR data. Now the next phase is to analyze this data. How is data analysis a strategic asset for companies today? And what are its challenges?



HR data in business: a resource to be leveraged


HR data has primarily been used to establish justifiable findings and confirm trends. Today, it is a question of going further and exploiting the full potential of these resources by analyzing them to make true strategic decisions.


In other words, it is no longer enough to simply accumulate data but to interpret it to gain all the benefits. An essential aspect of HR data is predictive analysis, as this makes it possible for a company to anticipate its future requirements, such as recruitment needs and training.


What is HR data?


HR data is very specific: it can be defined as both collective and personal, private and public, and qualitative and quantitative.


Depending on the organization, the HR data collected may vary. Examples of this include:


  • Employee data, which centralizes employees’ professional experiences, notably from their CVs or their profiles on professional social networks


  • Career opportunity data, which includes job openings, vacancies and new projects, allowing to connect employees to available positions and facilitating internal talent management.


HR data: how best to collect it


Beyond its content, it is also important to know how data can be collected and stored. There are two types of data:


  • Unstructured data, i.e., data collected in its raw format, without any processing, which generally takes the form of free text, such as job descriptions.


  • Structured data, which includes numerical or textual information processed to fit a predefined format, such as a list of standardized jobs and skills.


To exploit the full potential of HR data, it is advisable to favor structured data, which is easier and quicker to analyze. To do this, it is possible to call upon professionals specialized in data science and tools dedicated to data structuring. Once this data has been collected and organized, it must be analyzed.


Related: Structured and unstructured data: what is it?



What is HR Analytics?


HR Analytics corresponds to the methodologies used to analyze HR data using statistical models. These techniques consist of processing large amounts of information to provide answers to the HR issues of organizations.


For example, it is possible to use HR Analytics in the context of recruitment. Data processing allows, for instance, to quickly identify the key elements of each application and to automatically pre-select relevant candidates for the position to be filled. Some HR Analytics tools can generate instant and efficient candidate-job matches.


Similarly, HR Analytics can be very valuable in the context of talent management. Some tools offer the possibility to create automated career paths for each job within a company. Others make mobility plans for each employee by instantly identifying any missing skills to be acquired to access the suggested position.



The challenges of HR data


HR data is a crucial resource that enables companies to anticipate future changes and make strategic decisions based on objective information. However, to ensure that management and processing of this data reaches its maximum potential specific criteria must be set.


Align HR data with a company’s strategic challenges


The process of analyzing HR data can contribute to strategic decisions about a company’s future. Therefore the purpose of the analysis is crucial both for the choice of the data collected and its processing and use.


Familiarizing employees with data


By familiarizing and educating employees with the data-driven approach, the HR function has a better chance of getting them involved and on board with the process. It is possible, for example, to set up a collection of HR data in collaboration with employees to make them genuinely involved in the process. Also, communication is the key to reassuring teams about the actions implemented around HR data and its proper use.


Securing HR data to respect employee privacy


HR data, which concerns both the employee group as a whole and each individual employee, requires a highly rigorous collection and processing process. As such, organizations must ensure that they use secure solutions that employ, for example, data anonymization systems to ensure strict confidentiality of information and respect for the privacy of each employee.


Supporting HR teams in their missions


It is important to remember that the collection and analysis of HR data is not intended to replace HR teams but to support them in their missions. It enables them to obtain a more detailed understanding of the company’s challenges and operations and even propose solutions to overcome certain potentially blocking aspects. So, while the skills and experience of HR teams are irreplaceable, it is also important for HR to take the subject of HR data into their own hands and train in dedicated tools to go further in the exercise of their functions.

Find out more about HR data processing:

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Illustration credits: https://www.istockphoto.com/fr/portfolio/MicrovOne