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The latest research from the Society For Human Resource Management shows us that the HR profession has shifted from being predominantly male in 1997 (70% male) to being a female dominated profession today with 62% of HR practioners now estimated to be female.
This means that any changes that are affecting the HR profession will have have a disproportionately large impact on women. And there are some quite big changes occuring within the profession – or at least there are changes in what is expected from HR practitoners. It seems that the vast majority of modern CEOs (85% of them according to a KPMG survey) believe that their HR executives “fail to provide insightful analytics.”
What this means is that observations and requests are based on instinct and not hard data. CEOs don’t want to hear statements like, “Can we have a bigger HR budget?” They are looking for a statements such as, “With a 5% increased investment in assessment tools, we believe we can reduce turnover of critical staff by 12%.” This represents a big change in HR culture which has been based more on personal insights and instinct until now.
This failure to present data backed insights leads to a climate of uncertainty and distrust around the HR profession. And with many HR professionals concerned that they are unable to have the same credibility in the boardroom as other business partners, this failure to embrace technology and data adequately is not helping. It is limiting credibility, because research by Bersin By Deloitte shows that HR executives who bring data backed insights to the table are, “four times more likely to be respected by business counterparts.”
The KPMG survey mentioned above goes on to explain the main things holding HR back from delivering data backed decision-making. One of the chief barriers was data fragmentation, which means that HR teams have multiple systems for recording HR and employee data. But, this data needs to be housed together in one place in a HR Software System, ideally with excellent reporting capabiliites, in order that HR practioners can start to analyse and report on that data. HR professionals need to embrace technology; their HR processes should be built around a unified HR software system.
Having a HR software system in place is the beginning. The KPMG paper insists that HR practioners need to step up and develop skills in complex data analysis, which they deem to be in short supply within the profession.
And finally, there needs to be a change of emphasis. KPMG insists that HR practioners are generally to wedded to reporting on basic HR metrics. This needs to change. HR practioners need to be more commercially minded and start using statistics to provide tangible benefits to critical parts of the business value chain. For example, if the business is suffering from a shortage of sales, HR should be proactively proposing data backed interventions that can help to increase key competencies and enhance sales. Or perhaps, the business is suffering high level turnover within its older workforce. Then, HR practioners should be proposing data backed interventions that could increase staff retention in this area.
As you can see it’s clear that to be relevant to business and credible in the boardroom, the modern HR professional needs to be a fierce advocate of HR technologies and data backed decision-making.
About the Author
This article was written by Kazim Ladimeji, HR Consultant in collaboration with Zoho People, a web based, user friendly HR software system for modern HR professionals.