7 things we've learnt from our analytics and data month

Automation and data
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Our data, analytics and automation hub includes over 20 articles from experts, researchers and commentators on how HR can better use people data to achieve results. We've rounded up seven key learnings from the hub but we urge you to read the full articles to deepen your understanding of this crucial area.

1. "When you automate a process, don’t lose the process’s purpose and essence."

A quote from Metro Bank's Chief People Officer, Danielle Harmer, who was talking to us about knowing when you should automate processes and when you should hold back.

In the full interview, she gives examples from Visions, the Metro Bank cultural immersion programme for new starters.

2. Semi-automation will likely make a big difference in the legal sector

Alyson Reeves, Director at PwC Consulting and an expert on change in the legal sector, told us how automation was going to change law firms.

Semi-automation featured heavily, particularly when it came to winning work, such as the semi-automated creation of proposals and engagement contracts and a "semi-automated collaborative workflow with clients to agree the final terms of engagement more quickly."

3. Transparency of data and information is crucial to measuring culture and people performance across a business

Independent HR consultant Mark T Lawrence tells us how we can use analytics to get value across the entire employee life cycle.

One of his key points is around the organisation acting in 'data partnerships' with all aspects of the business, where sharing information is the default state, in order to generate value from analytics.

4. The true value of Big Data comes when organisations think cross-functionally

HRM researcher and writer Tom Calvard from Edinburgh Business School tackles four partnerships in the modern business - HR with IT, marketing, finance/accounting and operations - and unpicks why greater collaboration could drive more value from Big Data.

5. Trust is extremely important in driving good data, which drives performance

James Rule, a performance, culture change and HRIS consultant focuses on the inherent fear in change management and how this can scupper the data and insight process.

His advice? Help people manage their innate reaction to change. Build trust so they understand the reasons behind data and analytics, not just the systems that support it. If we did that, he says, "imagine what we could do with the insights that HR data analytics undoubtedly gives us."

6. The chicken and egg nature of people data has prevented real progress from being made

A piece from CIPD researcher Edward Hougton, who looks at the chicken and egg nature of HR data in the past.

He argues that low faith in the accuracy of people data has "led to a lack of faith in people data to the extent that, rather than demanding that companies report more rigorously on it, investors have filed people data into the ‘nice to have’ rather than ‘must have’ box."

Edward follows with how organisations can break out of this cycle, drive transparency, trust and strong data and move to a better place in people analytics.

7. HR analysts don't need to be so strong in 'domain' knowledge if they have good HRBPs in place

Peter Reilly of the Institute of Employment and Skills wrote an article around the skills HR needs to ensure people analytics benefits the business. 

One of his points was that HR analysts, while they need technical skills and the confidence to analyse and draw insight from data, they don't necessarily need knowledge of different domains within the business if the organisation's HR Business Partners are sufficiently embedded within functions to be able to draw out requirements.

Check out our analytics, data and automation hub to read these articles in full and many more.

About Jamie Lawrence

Jamie Lawrence, HRZone

Jamie Lawrence is editor of global online HR publication and community HRZone.com. He is committed to driving forward the HR agenda and making sure that HR directors have the knowledge and insight necessary to make HR felt across the whole organisation. He regularly speaks to audiences of 250+ and has interviewed key HR industry names, including Daniel H. Pink. He has worked previously as a small business journalist and a copywriter and has published non-fiction that reached #2 on the NYT Children's Bestseller List. In his spare time Jamie likes writing fiction, films, fitness and eating out.

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