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HR failing to track employee metrics

Many UK HR departments don't track essential employee metrics, according to research by NGA Human Resources

This comes as data demand is growing, with 77% of CEOs wanting more insight from their HR teams, according to the research.

Retention (48%) and career progression (50%) emerged as the least tracked metrics. Absence and attendance (30%), personal details (33%), pay changes (39%), and recruitment (39%) were also among the areas that are being overlooked by HR departments.

The research found that HR is failing to provide the metrics desired by CEOs. Of those surveyed, 69% of CEOs said they need improvements in the timeliness of HR reporting, while 63% stated that they would like more accurate reporting. Sixty-two per cent cited a desire for greater relevance in HR reports.

The structure of reports was also identified as an area for improvement. Of the CEOs interviewed, 22% said that their reports were too complicated and the same number said they lacked sufficient data on which to base business decisions.

Corporate diversity and gender diversity were also highlighted as key issues, with just two-thirds (69%) of CEOs claiming they were aware of this data.

The time required to compile the reports was the main reason given by HR for a lack of metrics. A third (34%) said it takes them more than a day a month, while more than 10% said that they spend more than a week each month.

Much of this time goes into the resource-intensive process of data entry, cited by 33% as the most time-consuming aspect of reporting. Meanwhile 30% said that creating the reports themselves was the biggest drain on their time.

The research also suggested that while insights from HR are imperative to a business’ success, CEOs often do not communicate regularly with HR. The research found that only 16% of HR respondents have weekly contact with the CEO, with 79% interacting once a month or less. Furthermore, 39% said that they report to the board through informal conversations and 56% said that their main contact with CEOs is through digital reporting.

Commenting on the findings, Wendy Murphy, senior director HR EMEA at LinkedIn, said that data is vital to securing HR's position at the top table, and warned that failing to track metrics could mean organisations "miss out" on talent.

“In today’s talent climate, employee insights are a superpower. We’ve moved away from passive HR and recruiting into an era of talent intelligence, in which insights on the workforce are key to retaining quality talent and beating the competition. Not only this, as data becomes more important for the entire C-suite, having these insights will cement HR’s position at the top table," she told HR magazine.

She added: "That is why HR professionals who are not tracking metrics, and have the tools and understanding to see the trends that can inform decisions, are missing out: they simply won’t have the insights to win the war for talent. With a tightening labour market and Brexit fast-approaching, employers need to be savvy about the way they are finding, hiring, and retaining the right talent. It’ll be actionable insights based on accurate data that make the difference.”

Richard Shinton, business intelligence and analytics product manager at NGA HR, added that it was the joint responsibility of HR and CEOs to ensure organisations have the right tools in place to track metrics.

"If you’re not measuring metrics, it becomes very difficult to understand your organisation," he told HR magazine. "Technology is really important here. Our research found that collecting metrics can sometimes take as long as a week. There will always be some upfront costs in using AI to assist with processes, but the result is a much simpler, efficient process.

"It’s absolutely the joint responsibility of both CEOs and HR directors to get it right," he added. "The CEOs polled recognised the value that HR bring to the workplace, so they need to make sure that HR have the right tools in place.”