Fiona McKee: How HR can plug itself into the rest of business

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Analytics make HR departments central to business

Analytics has become a core part of most business functions, but adoption in HR has lagged. This can result in the department being labelled as outdated and siloed from the rest of the business. In turn, businesses are missing out on the valuable data that HR teams have at their disposal to make a difference.

A recent study from Fosway, presented in partnership with SD Worx found that one of the biggest issues that HR professionals face in their jobs is a lack of skilled resources. This translates into the department lacking confidence in handling data as they are unable to see a path to using data to better inform business decisions. The lack of skilled resources in HR is not just a departmental issue either, 90 per cent of those surveyed claimed it is also impacting the progress of the entire business.

A good example of this can be found in the job market. Securing and retaining the best talent is a huge issue. HR is central to managing this challenge and if used to its full potential can consult business leaders on staff retention, satisfaction and engagement data so they can address problems and make changes proactively, rather than risking a brain drain of their workforce. This is just one of many areas in which an effective use of analytics in HR can have a huge impact on the business.

Realising the potential

With sickness absence costing UK businesses an estimated £29bn per annum, there is no doubt that HR can help resolve some of the biggest challenges businesses are facing. For instance, HR has access to data on sick leave that can be analysed to identify if there are external and internal factors that are impacting absenteeism. Teams can look into these findings and suggest policies and processes for all heads of departments to implement. Yet the benefits of HR analytics aren’t just financial. 131 million working days are lost each year due to sickness absence. Monitoring patterns of absenteeism can also enable HR to dig into deeper issues affecting the workforce helping to find solutions to boost employee engagement and morale. If employees are happy and engaged, then this will help boost overall productivity within the business and as a result, boost organisational performance.

Bringing HR up to speed

Realising the potential of analytics is a step in the right direction, but for businesses to see its full impact, decision makers must be prepared to invest both time and budget into HR departments. This means business leaders must commit to implementing training, hiring analysts, or investing in high-quality analytical tools. With 95 per cent of organisations agreeing that high-quality data and analytics is important to the future success of the business, it’s clear that this needs to be a top priority for the board.

Strategic Business Partner

HR can bring critical insight to core processes; from finding and retaining new talent, to improving internal processes and employee engagement. Furthermore, HR analytics can be used to identify key talent and in doing so, enable better leadership and management. Businesses don’t need to hire an HR specific data analyst to get to this stage, but the department should work closely with internal data analysts to ensure they are plugged in to the key issues that are central to the effective running of the business. If teams start off small and build their analytics capabilities, it will just be a matter of time before HR becomes an even more valuable asset to businesses.

Now it is time for HR teams to communicate these benefits more effectively to decision makers in the wider business.

Interested in finding out more about HR Analytics? We recommend the Mission Critical HR Analytics Summit 2019.

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About Fiona McKee

As a senior HR professional for over 20 years, Fiona has spent a large part of her career as Head of HR at SD Worx UK and Ireland. In this role Fiona leads a team of HR professionals supporting 500 employees across the UK and Ireland and boasts a team engagement score of 94%. Fiona is also part of the Senior Leadership Team at SD Worx UK and Ireland.

Outside of her role at SD Worx, Fiona is an active Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and also sits on the board of directors at the Kilbride Hospice.

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