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HR now more trusted to provide data insights

Organisational trust and appreciation for HR insights is showing signs of improvement, as research finds that executives value the data HR can bring to the business

More than two-thirds of European employers (69%) trust their HR departments to provide data-based insights, according to research from SD Worx.

Additionally, 73% appreciate the added value these insights can bring to the business, it found.

The research suggested that organisational trust and appreciation for HR is improving, with more than half (53%) of respondents believing trust from non-HR decision-makers in applying HR data-based insights has improved over the past two years. A similar proportion (56%) also expect this to improve further over the next two years.

When asked what business areas HR data-based insights could have the most impact on, respondents cited employee costs (45%), employee satisfaction and engagement (45%), and productivity (42%).

Meanwhile, the top three potential barriers for embracing HR data-based insights were listed as lack of communication between HR and the wider business (29%), costs associated with it (27%), and internal structures limiting innovation (27%).

Sixty-nine per cent of business decision-makers across Europe believe their HR department is comfortable with handling and analysing data, while 59% believe technology infrastructure has improved to better support the deployment of HR data-based insights.

When it came to areas for improvement, analysing skills (40%) and improving change management skills (34%) came out top. In 53% of cases respondents expect this will be solved through extra training.

The research also looked at the types of data used within HR. It found that the UK comes out top in terms of both HR and non-HR decision-makers making use of dashboards and scorecards (60%) as well as surveys (61%). The UK also ranks second (64%) for applying benchmarks, coming just behind The Netherlands (65%).

However, UK employers were far less likely to apply data-driven insights in the use of predictions (25%), although they still scored higher than other countries, with the next closest Belgium at 20%.

In terms of the business areas where HR data-based insights can make the biggest impact, the UK ranks highest in terms of both HR and non-HR decision-makers using data for development (50%). After Belgium the UK also ranked joint second with France (46%) for using insights to improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

Forty-three per cent of the HR decision-makers across all countries surveyed said they are asked for data insights at least once a week. The number one reason for these requests relates to employee absenteeism (44%), followed by employee costs (40%) and productivity (40%).

Charles Knox, director of product and solutions at SD Worx UK, said the findings are encouraging. “This research is promising because it shows the evolution of the HR department," he said.

"We’ve gone from talking about the value of HR data and the need for it to have more of a prevalent position within the rest of a business, to witnessing business departments seeing the benefits of the data and using it to help inform decisions within their own departments. We can only expect that to grow over the following years as both technology and internal knowledge gets better."

SD Worx surveyed 200 HR managers, HR directors, HR officers, HR experts, CHROs, HR business partners as well as non-HR executives (CEOs, COOs, CFOs and other decision-makers) across Europe.