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HR the worst function on data

HR and recruitment is the business function that's made the least progress in using data and insight to optimise and measure performance, according to business leaders

Capita Resourcing's survey of 350 HR and recruitment specialists, 500 business leaders, and more than 2,000 employees, found that almost a quarter (24%) of business leaders cited HR as the worst at collecting, analysing and using data.

The research found that almost half (46%) of UK organisations rely on ‘instinct and gut feel’ rather than hard data and insight when it comes to assessing skills.

HR and recruitment specialists were found to be fully aware of the consequences of not improving their use of data and insight. Forty per cent said their organisation will have more difficulty recruiting talent, 38% said candidate experience will suffer, and 37% that they will lose candidates to competitors unless they optimise their use of data and insight.

Almost all (83%) HR and recruitment professionals said they regard data and insight as critical to improving recruitment and talent acquisition. Half (50%) believe that at least half of all skills gaps within their organisation could be addressed by better use of data, while 45% believe that data and insight could enable them to predict future skills gaps before they become problematic.

As a result of lack of progress on data, only 22% of HR and recruitment leaders are extremely confident their organisation has access to all the skills it needs to meet business objectives over the next five years. Additionally, more than eight in 10 (81%) admitted that they need more visibility on current skills within the workforce.

HR is also facing growing levels of ‘analysis paralysis’, where organisations cannot manage the amount of HR and workforce data generated, the research found. Forty per cent of HR and recruitment leaders claimed that the sheer volume of HR and workforce data has become a challenge.

Other barriers included budgetary constraints (32%), fragmented and disparate data (31%), outdated technology (26%), and a lack of analytical skills within the organisation (25%).

The research also found that employees are recognising the need for improvements, with 92% of UK workers agreeing that their employer could make better use of data to enhance their employee experience.

Geoff Smith, executive director of Capita Resourcing, said: “HR and recruitment professionals are acutely aware of the need to optimise their use of data to remain competitive in an ever-more challenging labour market.

“Organisations need complete visibility of skills across the workforce to make more informed strategic decisions […] With greater insight on employees and candidates HR can improve quality of hire, but also drive employee engagement and retention through better cultural fit of hires, workforce diversity and business agility.”

He added that HR needs to prioritise better when it comes to data: “HR and recruitment leaders need to adopt a highly-targeted approach to data, identifying the areas where they need greater insight into the workforce and developing a data strategy that informs, supports and measures overall workforce objectives.

“This means ensuring they equip themselves with the necessary skills and expertise, both internal and external, and the technology and tools to maximise the game-changing benefits of their data and insight.”