getting the data right

While digitisation didn’t create the data issues within HR, it’s certainly magnified them. How can your business ensure your data and the outputs they generate are credible?

Systems outputs are only as credible as the data inputs – rubbish in creates rubbish out. Yet, data supply from the business can be slow and inconsistent. HR teams also spend an awful lot of time extracting and cleaning up data ready for use.

A particular problem within digital HR is integrating some of the data feeds from the analytical tools used in candidate screening and workforce planning into enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

The move to digital HR can provide a catalyst for putting data supply on a sound footing:

1.     Quality and consistency
Work with business teams to create organisation-wide consistency in the data being supplied and when it needs to be entered into the system.

Some larger organisations are looking to create a ‘single version of the truth’ by formulating a data dictionary that sets out the structure and meaning of the data being used and feeding this into a common database or data warehouse. While this may be a costly step too far if you’re an SME, it’s still important to establish quality thresholds and consistency criteria, and ensure that these are checked and monitored at source as far as possible, rather than requiring a huge data cleaning effort from HR.

The key to securing this business support is convincing them that the effort in supplying the right data is repaid with genuine insights to help them run their operations and compete in the market more effectively.


2.     Make better use of what’s already there
HR actually has a huge amount of data at its disposal, but a lot of it isn’t used. Digital HR could make this possible. Could you make better use of absence data to identify causes and develop solutions, for example? Are your making the most of performance appraisals to improve productivity and identify skills and training gaps?


3.     Robust governance
Data supply and usage should be covered by solid governance. In addition to quality and consistency, this should include the ethical and secure use of personal data. This isn’t just a compliance requirement, it is also a practical one as employees will only supply the data you need if they’re sure it will be used responsibility and appropriately safeguarded.

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