I’ve previously defined HR strategy as any direction that “shapes the workforce.” Whether this is creating an employer brand that influences they type of people you recruit, creating talent policies that allow your employees to excel, or nurturing a culture where people are comfortable to innovate, these are all strategies that shape the makeup of your workforce, not only in who you recruit and retain, but how they develop as employees in the future of your organization.
My basic assertion is that HR’s job is to translate the overall organizational strategy into behaviors and competencies within the workforce. To do this, HR executives need a continuous supply of decision support data to align strategy to process and process to day to day operations.
Let’s take recruiting as an example. You have an internal population you’d like to project turnover for. That’s easy. You also have an external population you’d like to evaluate skills and competencies for, as well as measure availability. Taking it a couple steps further, you’d like to be able to match the internal and external metrics to your job criteria and start creating resume banks in advance. All of this is pretty basic stuff, and we all think about these types of issues and utilizing data along these lines.
The problem is that we don’t use BI as BI – we use reporting as a normal course of action, but that’s not a strategic use of the tools we have at our disposal. Most of us think about grabbing a report and analyzing the data, but not necessarily having the BI engine integrate and decipher the information for us so that we have enhanced decision support.
To really get to “shaping the workforce” we need to understand all the points of data and how that impact one another. Without great analytics supporting us, and without our ability to comprehend the value it can bring us, we can’t really expect to be making the most informed decisions. Increasingly we have more and more data at our disposal with better and better tools. This creates an environment where paradigm shifts occur often as we change the way we use the tools as they become better able to support us. If you’re still in a reporting world, you’re in the wrong world. Begin expecting your BI output to reflect decision support and start reading into the data to see how the BI tools are reaching new levels of interpretation for you.