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World – HR professionals overwhelmed by data

26 March 2013

Talent solutions provider SHL found in a new survey that 77% of HR professionals worldwide do not know how its workforce potential is affecting the company's bottom line. Less than half of organisations surveyed use objective talent data to drive business decisions.

The study of nearly 600 HR professionals worldwide suggests that HR is overwhelmed by the volume of employee data and struggle to elicit insight that will help drive businesses forward and deliver results.

With organisations focused on restructuring, cost-cutting and growing the top line in tough markets, HR's 2013 priorities reflect the organisation's need to engage their talent (55% of those surveyed) and cultivate strong leaders (52%) to drive change. Other priorities of HR professionals include performance management (49%), workforce planning/talent analytics (43%) and training (42%).

“Our research shows that even though organisations measure employee performance, they have historically focused on efficiency data, like how well an employee is performing versus data that allows them to make a strategic talent decision,” said Stuart Hedley from SHL Asia Pacific.

“This means key information on talent potential and future capability is overlooked, effectively making targeted programmes that identify the next generation of leaders and nurture talent for critical roles ineffective. This increases succession risk for organisations, putting business performance and continuity in jeopardy.”

Despite workforce planning and talent analytics being referenced among the top five priorities, less than half of respondents (44%) said their organisations use objective data on employees' competencies and skills to make workforce decisions and only 18% of HR professionals are currently satisfied with the way their organisation manages talent data. 

“HR is still grappling with its ability to provide strategic data to the business on its workforce and is ill-equipped right now to take advantage of big data. They do not yet have the systems and tools required to identify people intelligence, create metrics, and link HR data sources together,” said Mr Hedley.

“The ability to analyse greater volumes of complex workforce data and translate in to meaningful talent metrics offers HR the opportunity to identify skill shortages, development opportunities and answer the most pressing talent questions, such as whether the company has the talent to execute on its business plan and grow at the expected rate.”

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