We’ve never before had such a rich variety of data available to help HR practitioners make the right decisions. Decisions can, and are, now being made using robust evidence rather than intuition and established best practice.
I’m not outlining something new when I write HR leaders have had their value and credibility questioned among peers – mainly because of a perceived or actual overreliance on instinct when making decisions. However, research released in April by KPMG, and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, shows that one in five C-Suite executives (19%) think their HR strategy doesn’t currently take into account hard data relating to their business or staff.
The report, Evidence-Based HR: The Bridge Between your People and Delivering Business Strategy (PDF 1.5 MB), also shows that HR leaders are failing to prove the value of their work in the context of wider business, with another one in five C-Suite executives (21%) surveyed stating they can’t see tangible correlations between the HR function and business outcomes.
CEOs are grappling with people-related issues such as regulatory change, increasing customer requirements, talent and the demands of the workforce. My view is that the HR function has a massive opportunity to redefine the value it adds to the delivery of business objectives.
Only a minority of organisations currently employ advanced analytics or other big data tools in their HR functions. Although many expect to adopt a more evidence-based approach in the coming years, HR leaders will need to ensure they have the required skills to handle analytics. This may require hiring more data-literate professionals in people management roles, as well as ensuring existing staff are capable of communicating the business relevance of their findings to senior leaders.
Admittedly, the management of people will never be an exact science, but I think HR leaders can and should create a better line of sight between what they do and how business objectives are met. Over the next five years, HR practitioners will need to embrace a more evidence-based approach to their work in order to achieve the best results and convince the wider business people management can play in integral part in success - especially because other parts of their businesses are already working in this way.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.