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Why HR should be included in the data driven organisation

Performance reviews are a part of working life for many individuals across a variety of different sectors

Whilst the process can be an enlightening one, it can be argued that, in many instances, neither party looks forward to conducting the reviews; however, the vast majority of companies and organisations continue to undertake these reviews seasonally or annually across their workforce.

The Institute for Corporate Productivity has collected data revealing that more than 90% of companies see the value in continuing with performance reviews; however, two-thirds are actively working on reshaping the way in which these reviews are conducted. In practice, this means that many companies are moving away from annual reviews and towards a system that gives their workers feedback more frequently and consistently.

Managers are given training to ensure they can communicate this feedback efficiently and effectively, which leads to a more focused and productive workforce.

Interestingly, however, there seems to be an active avoidance of data driven approaches when it comes to measuring, analysing and managing workforce performance. As one of the areas with low data literacy levels, it is no real surprise that HR departments are not generally first in line to adopt the newest technologies.

Many IT solutions require members of staff to have detailed knowledge and skills to implement and maintain the technology successfully; however, with companies finding it difficult to attract candidates with solid data science and IT skills in the first place, many sectors are losing out on the benefits of data driven systems. Such technology may be able to manage hugely complex systems, but tech companies seem to be failing to understand the fundamental needs of HR departments.

That being said, HR departments may also need to shift their perceptions of data driven systems. Analytics can give an enormous insight into the inner workings of a company, but it is often believed that this requires costly software and intricate algorithms. This is not the case and many departments may be surprised at how useful a simple spreadsheet can be when it comes to data analysis.

Equally, when companies do have access to the intricate algorithms and complex software, there can often be a substantial divide between the individuals managing the data and the HR departments that need to pull information from it. A data divide is not helpful for anyone – although certain departments will understand how to uncover useful information, others will be left behind and the company as a whole will not move forward efficiently.

Over 80% of businesses understand the importance of big data and want to incorporate it into their core strategies. This tends to be because of a need to fully understand their customers; however, it is important that HR departments also have access to big data. HR managers must be able to manage and interpret data, which includes everything from maintaining organised systems to gaining insights into the heart of an organisation through data analysis.

Performance management will ultimately benefit greatly from access to high-quality data, which is why ensuring the whole organisation has good levels of data science and technology skills is so vital.

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