One of the biggest challenges confronting Human Resources Management (HRM) professionals the world over and limiting their ability to take a seat at the strategic table is their inability to “speak the language of business” and demonstrate their impact using data and analytics.
The primary purpose of human resources management is to galvanize the organization and its people resources towards a higher level of productivity in line with the strategic goals of the organization. HRM professionals must therefore be adept at defining standards of performance, creating key performance indicators to measure performance and at tracking, reporting, and interpreting these measures to enhance decision making in the organization.
They should be able to do these first for themselves, within the HRM domain and then subsequently, for the other departments and functions and the entire organization. HRM initiatives along each point of the employee life cycle must be data driven. For example, interventions in Recruitment, On-boarding, Learning and Development, Talent Management and Succession Planning must be driven by data about the current state of these issues. When HRM professionals use data to justify their programs and interventions they are much more credible and gain the support of other C-Level Executives.
Instead, many of such programs are sold as “best practice” approaches, and without real data to back them up, the HRM professionals are unable to demonstrate their impact or Return on Investment (ROI) – causing them to lose credibility with their colleagues and stifling their ability to drive the much-needed change. In the best case, HRM professionals will get approvals to run these programs but will struggle to get the hands-on executive support and sponsorship required for their successful implementation.
So, what should HRM professionals be doing: First, they must build their capacity to use data, build KPIs and track these KPIs – they need to have HR Metrics and KPIs for the major aspects of the HR lifecycle. Then they should be recording, tracking, and reporting on these KPIs and showing the relationship between these metrics and other business metrics like sales, profitability, and business growth -as lag or lead indicators.
They should then use these metrics to justify their HR initiatives and projects and use them as a baseline to measure the impact of these initiatives thereafter. Numbers do not lie, so HRM professionals should be ready to accept the fact that sometimes, the numbers will show that they are under-performing – just the same way that sales numbers show how their counterparts in Marketing & Sales are under-performing. They must own the numbers and drive the innovation that is required based on these numbers. They will not only increase their credibility and capacity but will create continuous improvement in our data driven world.
At Learning Impact NG’s People Tech Solutions Division, we support HRM professionals and leaders and have deployed our unique solution – the HR Meter: a HR Metrics Dashboard that that computes over 100 HR KPIs, reports them, and allows you to compare your HR performance over time, and with other institutions and related industries.
Please do not hesitate to contact our HRM Consultants on +234 818 195 6161 (Nigeria) and + 1 (868) 737 5030 (Trinidad & Tobago) to explore how the HRMeter can de be deployed to enhance the impact of your HRM Department and put you in the driving seat of your organization where you belong.