Traditionally, human resources have been considered, well, very human. HR decisions are thought to be based on quality not quantity; psychology, not digits. But with innovations in the business intelligence arena, all that is changing, and rapidly too.

Here, we’ll discover the benefits of business intelligence for HR and find out how ‘people-intel’ is going digital.

Size matters

Whether your company is large, small, or somewhere in between, you (hopefully) rely on data to inform your business decisions. The same should apply for your staffing needs too.

For small businesses, this may mean ensuring your employees bring the maximum profit possible to your business, or focusing on the staff that is really essential to allow you to grow.

Larger enterprises may focus more on assessing performance, risks, and job satisfaction using data, such as via surveys when the scale of operations precludes the personal touch for every employee.

What is business intelligence made of?

Business intelligence helps to inform your business decisions with data and analysis, which creates the basis for success. It is an aid in all business areas, from growth to human resources to marketing, and implies a number of key processes. These include, in no particular order:

  • Analysis – the information gathering stage that prepares and defines the metrics to be used.
  • Data preparation – comprising data cleansing, integration and quality management; ensuring your data is ready to use.
  • Data architecture – this stage involves the scalability of data stores, data warehouse design, and data modeling; making sure your systems are prepared for the data.
  • BI testing – comprises ETL testing, data quality, and warehouse testing, reports and data testing; in essence, it refers to analyzing the backbone of business with data.
  • Implementation – the active part of the process, this involves data warehouse deployment and embedding reporting functions in the apps.
  • Optimization – improving your current BI processes with data warehouse redesign, cloud migration, and ETL process optimization.

How business intelligence works for HR

Human resources departments fulfill a number of key functions within a company, such as hiring, training, organizing corporate events, and the not so pleasant business of firing. The HR manager’s role itself is multifaceted and demands unique solutions.

Business intelligence meets those needs in a variety of ways. Let’s get to know a little more.

Business intelligence for…hiring

When you’re hiring, you have vast amounts of data to get through to find the perfect candidate for the role. But even before that, you need to identify the key traits of that ideal candidate, and that’s where BI comes in.

Business intelligence can analyze similar positions and identify key skills and characteristics for the role. Coupled with your internal information from the department in question, this can help you find the perfect hire.

Once you have the information, you can move on to the next stage of wading through those applications. Many companies even do this automatically by using the characteristics identified in part 1 and running them through a digital scanner to cherry-pick the top candidates based on these skills. This BI-centric approach helps to optimize the search and let managers focus on the interview stage instead.

With the average cost of an individual hire amounting to $4,000, mistakes can be costly. This is why employing business intelligence solutions can help you find the right fit for the job with less working hours billed.

Business intelligence for…performance

While hiring is important, the job of human resources managers doesn’t end there. Performance is everything.

Business intelligence can help you analyze the performance of your new hire and see how to fit they are for the role. One way to do so is by combing your applicant’s daily reports with your project management system to let you see how they’re doing on day one, day 10, day 30 and so on. This will not only help you analyze their performance but indicate success or a failure of the onboarding process.

For long-term employees, analyzing performance may work a little differently. Instead of tying analysis to the employees’ reports, you may focus on other key indicators, such as comparing the metrics with similar positions at competing companies or career growth rates.

By aggregating this data, you’ll have a better overall picture of an employee’s success, and areas where HR can help––through providing training, motivation, or a good old-fashioned chat.

Business intelligence for…staffing needs

One key factor of business intelligence software is its ability to visualize data and make it more understandable, especially if you’re not a data scientist.

For HR, this can simplify a number of processes and optimiableze the needs of particular employees and teams. For example, this may be used to uncover low productivity rates within departments, indicate a need for either more staff to hire or further analysis, or perhaps identify training needs by looking at which teams haven’t updated their skills in a while.

Another critical BI application here is in the identification of risks. BI can be used to suggest trends, such as increased staff turnover in a specific department, dips in productivity, etc., which may indicate areas for further consideration.

Business intelligence for…culture

This one may surprise you, but internal culture is an important element of any company; it gives life to the workplace and aid your brand image externally. But how can business intelligence help?

Unfortunately, many HR departments are more reactive than active, meaning they apply too much focus on hiring while problem prevention is often low on their priority list.

Business intelligence can help to drive a culture of employee care by using data to identify needs and find solutions. This may be anything from analyzing the results of employee satisfaction surveys and comparing them with productivity levels to uncover areas of concern, or even analyzing exit interviews to pinpoint exactly where it all went wrong in the process.

Business analysis for…CSR

In addition, BI can also be used to drive corporate social responsibility, a role that often falls on HR. This can be done by correlating employees’ social interests, for example, dogs, with a local social project, or even looking at the wider impact of the company on the community, for instance by implementing youth mentorship projects with job shadowing.

CSR can boost staff morale and the image of the company through being able to do some actual good in the world. BI analysis makes this possible and, most importantly, effective.

Tailor-made solutions

When seeking to add business intelligence to your human resources department, you need to first consider what you hope to achieve and why you need enhanced analytics capabilities for this.

iTransition business intelligence consultants can help you demystify the process and suggest the right BI tool for your business, whether this is a standalone solution designed to optimize hiring, an integrated plugin to uncover hidden training needs, or something a little more specific.