HR Looking to Execs for Support in Analytics

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

July 6 — HR professionals broadly recognize the importance and potential of human capital analytics but aren't necessarily getting the support they need to make the most of these data-driven techniques, a survey reveals.

“Executive teams at 67 percent of the organizations surveyed now use results from human capital analytics projects,” Erik Samdahl of the Seattle and St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) said in a June 23 blog post.

But under half (43 percent) “reported having strong support from the management team vs. 27 percent who did not believe the support was there,” and just three in 10 “believe the human capital analytics function has strong credibility, influence and respect.” Less than one-quarter (22 percent) “believe they have achieved several major successes each year” from analytics.

Samdahl told Bloomberg BNA July 6 that the online survey was conducted in January and February. There were 317 respondents, 74 percent from North America.

HR analytics is especially useful in recruiting and hiring, Greg Karr, executive vice president at Boston-based recruitment analytics company Seven Step RPO, said. His organization wasn't involved with the i4cp survey.

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“Staying abreast of shifts/trends/news in the economy, your industry, your geographies, candidate behavior and recruiting technology is critical and worth the investment of time,” he told Bloomberg BNA in a July 5 e-mail. “When you're able to reliably track every aspect of the recruiting process and compare it to established benchmarks, you gain operational agility.”

“The bottom line is that companies have to get very comfortable with data and with making data-driven decisions,” before HR analytics even enters the picture, Amy Armitage, research program director at i4cp, told Bloomberg BNA July 6.

“Once you have that comfort level about the data, you can move into more strategic conversations about workforce plans,” such as where there are talent shortfalls; but it's essential for the HR professionals who are responsible to stay in touch with the line managers who “own” the data, she said.

“Once you can track the right data reliably and compare it to established performance benchmarks, you've got to report findings,” Karr said. Other suggestions he had for HR:

  •  Have “senior constituents from HR/talent acquisition, the line of business and executive leadership” review results two to four times a year.
  •  Report on core outcomes and progress on established benchmarks that are meaningful to the business. “For example: what kinds of people are we hiring, where are we hiring them, how long does it take to hire, how much does it cost to hire, where do the best candidates and hires come from,” he wrote.
  •  Identify internal and external factors that may be helping or hurting matters.
  •  Recommend actions, such as “adjusting the process, adding or cutting a job promotion channel, or providing additional training for recruiters or hiring managers” or continuing existing actions to improve output.
  •  Establish goals collaboratively.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris at

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