Article main image
May 4, 2022

Anyone who reads won’t need me to tell them that the Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way that we – as HR professionals – hire talent and navigate people management.

The good news, however, is that over the past two years, human resources teams have risen to the challenge, evolving to take on new territory outside of their usual job descriptions. They’ve dealt with Covid-19 restrictions, dealt with the remote work shift, and are dealing with return-to-office plans. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, as HR’s responsibilities have expanded, so has their value in the C-suite.

But what’s next? It’s my view that while we’ve proven our expertise with a seat at the executive table, now is the time to really demonstrate our crucial value-add to the business.

But this is where things get much trickier. While finance and sales teams can typically show dollar amounts and customer metrics that validate their worth, it’s traditionally been more difficult for HR to quantify the value in people decisions.

But find ways we must. We’re facing new questions around how people can become a strategic advantage, including how we can define our people’s successes at work and leverage those insights into tangible change within our organizations.

We must measure business impact

Achieving this goal requires measuring our business impact. HR leaders need the right tools and access to data to create hard numbers that accurately reflect the people of the business. This is why I feel better data analytics will prove to be the secret ingredient that impacts HR strategy and grows our presence within the organization for years to come. Here’s why:

  • HR is one of the few far-reaching departments that touches every part of the business.
  • Establishing metrics for everything we do to fortify and strengthen existing teams is complex but will showcase our competitive advantage and positive impact on each department, including our contribution to hitting hiring targets.
  • HR leaders have the ability to capture performance scores for top-performing teams. They can then assess the managers and recruiters that have been a part of building those teams and use that data to understand what made those teams successful in order to replicate those wins organization-wide.
  • Proper analytics allows for apples-to-apples comparisons within the workforce that enables us to grow even more data.

What’s working (and not working) in people management

The problem with all of this though, is that HR leaders typically aren’t data analysts by nature, and our teams aren’t often equipped to tackle this task. Because of this it can be a struggle to quantify the impact of our people and teams.

But in order to be a key differentiator, we – as HR – must prioritize data-driven decision-making. Not only will it help us gain invaluable insight into problem areas (like which departments are hardest hit by labor shortages in the wake of the Great Resignation), but it will also empower us to strategically hire to fill these talent gaps while reviewing the skillsets existing staff have that could be a good fit for internal transfers.

The fact is, analytics provides an opportunity to bridge the gap that exists between HR and the data that gives value-add to our organizations. By backing up our victories through facts and figures however, we can begin setting organizational goals that exhibit HR’s full scope and potential for the future.

What the future holds for HR

Amid Covid-19’s continued upheaval of the workplace, the one thing HRDs can say with certainty is that the unforeseeable can become a reality.

So, as our teams face tremendous hiring and retention pressures, we need to future-proof our HR operations through proactive, data-driven solutions.

Establishing KPIs for previously indefinable metrics (like remote work productivity, or which hires are staying with organizations the longest), will help us put proof to our talent development investments.

In the future, data analytics will only become more important for us to validate what HR brings to the table.

By demonstrating our value through data analytics, HR will continue to grow as a competitive advantage for businesses. Increased data analytics capabilities will ultimately strengthen HR’s presence in the C-suite by providing a quantified view of the organization’s most precious asset: its people.