Data is now a significant part of the role of many HR functions
New CIPD research calls for professionals to use HR analytics to improve evidence-based practice
HR data is changing the profession, and new research is needed to help inform its application to practice
The CIPD has worked with a number of academic partners to develop new research which explores the value of the workforce and the role of analytics as a source of HR evidence. Human capital analytics and reporting: exploring theory and evidence brings together findings from two technical studies written for the CIPD by academic teams at Loughborough and Leeds Universities, and Ulster University. The CIPD’s synthesis report raises some important questions about how HR professionals understand the value of knowledge and skills, and how they use data and evidence to help drive effective decision-making.
Edward Houghton, Research Adviser - Human Capital and Metrics at the CIPD, and lead author of the CIPD study, states that now is the time for academics and leading practice experts to help HR professionals to embrace HR analytics:
‘HR analytics first emerged as a distinct practice in the HR profession about a decade ago, but the last three years have seen the practice become a real hot topic across the profession. However, the CIPD’s HR Outlook study has shown that many professionals see HR analytics as a gap in their capability and have yet to fully implement high-quality practices. This new research highlights ways in which HR analytics practice can improve; for example by engaging with academic evidence in its implementation, and looking closely at the processes and systems needed to make analytics work. We need to collect more evidence about the practical application of analytics systems, beyond the implementation of a new technology – what exactly makes an effective and efficient analytics system?’
As well as exploring published evidence, the reports also look closely at important areas of practice, including how HR measures (or HR metrics) are being defined through standardisation and even regulation. The reports illustrate key measures for HR professionals to implement in their organisations, and offer a synthesis of published insights which may help HR teams to improve the way they build their analytics systems.
In the synthesis of the research reports, the CIPD recommends:
- High-quality benchmarking studies of analytics practice are developed, which include studies on HR metrics and how they’re used. The profession should critique current data quality to drive up standards of practice.
- More empirical evidence is gathered from practice on how HR analytics works, and its impact on organisations is needed. This includes improving the quality of studies to become easily replicable by transparently reporting methods and results.
- Academics and practitioners work together to understand and measure the concepts of human, social and intellectual capital. HR professionals should help to shape language that better describes the value of the workforce.
All three reports from the CIPD and its academic partners are available to download now.