Traditionally, data and analytics have been the domain of departments like accounting, marketing and sales, but this is changing. Increasingly, data drives all aspects of a business, including HR. Executives know this; a Gallup survey found 86% of corporate leaders said data science and analytics skills will be required of “some” or “all” HR managers in the next three years.
Despite a widespread understanding of the importance of data for HR, one study found that only 10% of large companies performed any significant analysis of employee data. This means that if your company is part of that 10% you won’t only make hiring easier and more efficient — you’ll also have a competitive advantage over your competitors.
Data collection and storage can shape your recruitment strategies, help you find the right candidates, and automate workflows for the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding processes. Here’s everything you need to know about what data to collect, how to evaluate the data's value, and how to gain actionable insights from this data that can be used to improve processes.
Getting Started With HR Data
If you’re concerned that your HR department doesn’t have the time or resources to dig into data and analytics, you may be surprised. Most companies don’t have hundreds or thousands of employees, which means that in relative terms, the amount of HR data is manageable. Likely, the hardest step will be the first one — identifying which data to collect, cleaning up your data, and establishing a process to collect it going forward.
When the data’s been cleaned up, it’s easy to use software to track and analyze it. As you start to use data in your hiring process, note that:
- It’s important to keep the end in mind. You’ll get bogged down if you try to track and analyze every piece of data in your hiring process.
Prioritize the areas of the hiring process you most want to strengthen, and align your data analysis with broader organizational strategy.
- Legislation concerning employee data varies by jurisdiction. Not all states have the same legislation surrounding employee data, For example,
Massachusetts requires most companies to write and adopt a security policy to protect customer and employee data.
- Analyzing HR data can reveal information that will require legal and/or management responses. For instance, if female employees in a department are paid less than male employees performing the same job function, your legal team may need to get involved.
With these three things in mind, you’re ready to begin collecting data, analyzing it, and using that data to improve every aspect of your hiring process from posting your job ad to welcoming new employees on their first day.
Using Data for Recruiting and Hiring
Recruiting and hiring are serious challenges for many employers. With low unemployment rates, it can be difficult to find skilled candidates, and a whopping 93% of employers say the availability of candidates in the labor market makes it difficult to fill an open job. Further, 91% say it’s challenging to maintain a pool of candidates.
Data can help you meet these challenges. As we’ve previously explained, examining metrics can help you improve your hiring process. Data and the use of talent management systems can also make it simple to:
- Filter resumes by keywords. No more spending hours sifting through hundreds of resumes. If you’re looking for certain skills, it takes only an instant to call up resumes featuring those skills. If you prefer to interview candidates with a specific qualification, pull up resumes of those with that qualification. It’s so simple.
- Score and rank candidates. If going through hundreds of resumes once wasn’t bad enough, deciding who to interview often requires going through them multiple times to compare candidates to each other. Data can automate this process, providing you a ranked list of applicants.
- Make recruiting decisions. After onboarding new employees, evaluate how well your recruiting efforts were: assign a “Quality of Hire” score to each candidate and look for trends in the data. Who are your highest-quality hires? What do they have in common?
- Ensure workplace diversity. When people are responsible for determining who gets an interview, unconscious bias will slip in. Examining the characteristics of who gets interviewed and ultimately hired will show if your company has a bias towards a certain type of person. Stripping demographic information from resumes and filtering them by skills and qualifications will help reduce the bias in your hiring process. In these ways, data can make your workplace more diverse.
- Build a talent bench. You can go back to previous applicants’ resumes to search for keywords relevant to new open positions. Ideally, this will reduce the number of open hiring processes your company goes through, as you are able to go directly back to previous candidates and find other positions for which they may be the right fit.
Using Data for Onboarding
Data is useful beyond the hiring process. Consider these ways it can make onboarding better for new employees by making it easier to:
- Respond to new employee questions. Salesforce examined the service tickets of new hires to determine what kind of information they were looking for soon after starting their new jobs. With this information, the company developed an email journey for new hires, delivering the information they needed at the right time. The result? A 30% drop in help tickets from new employees, who had more of the information they needed.
- Identify mentors for new employees. Mentoring can improve staff retention, and data can help you identify the best mentors for new employees. Salesforce gleans data from its collaboration tools that reflect individual employees’ skills and interests. From this data, they are able to suggest people who may be good mentors to younger and newer employees.
When it comes to your company’s hiring process, data is your friend. Use it to make your hiring, recruiting and onboarding more efficient, more inclusive, and more tailored to your the needs of your company and your employees.
About the Author
Chris Lennon is Vice President of Product Management at BirdDogHR. Chris is an active participant in the talent management community bringing over 18 years of experience to BirdDogHR. He has presented at numerous industry events and has been quoted as an industry expert in leading publications like Talent Management magazine, CLO magazine, New Talent Times, TLNT and HR Bartender.