Ask Anita: Will Connecting Data and Strategy Unlock HR Success?

The opportunities for Human Resource leaders today are boundless, but one in particular stands out. We have so much data around our go-to-market, sales, and marketing structure, and that’s fantastic, but I think many organizations are neglecting one of their most valuable sets of data—people data. People are the largest expense for most organizations, so this data should be a key focus for HR and leadership and is too often overlooked.

I love that we care about our customers, but if we really believe employees drive the customer experience and want to guarantee the success of our business, we should be as rigorous around our employee data as we are around our customer data.

In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on connecting people data to business strategy, including the importance of having an HRIS and the connection between HR and business initiatives.

Where to Start with People Data

A key part of connecting your people data to your strategy is using an HRIS. You wouldn't expect sales to hand-manage your leads—it sounds laughable. But too often, we see essential business functions as wholly different from each other, but they aren't.

HR leaders need tools that help you manage and report on your data and goals, as well as complete PTO, payroll, benefits, and training, and having an HRIS is essential to that.

With an HRIS in place, I'm able to look at my people data and say, “How can we maximize the value we receive out of this population?”

Particularly as your organization grows, you’ll reach an inflection point where an HRIS becomes non-negotiable,‌ as the sheer magnitude of paper flow that comes with hiring and exits alone can be super inefficient. Plus, if you aren’t incredibly careful, you’re opening yourself up to expensive errors.

When you get data and reporting wrong, it's a problem for HR, leadership, and even your people, as hunches or incomplete data might lead your organization down the wrong path.

Especially now, if your organization is remote, hybrid, in the field, or global, gone are the days you could shoot from the hip and just understand how your team member base is doing. Data is the only way you're going to be able to tell the full story.

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Let Your Data Show You What Your People Really Need

Everybody thinks they know how to do HR, and they'll tell you, “Oh I read this book, or I heard this speaker, and this is what you should be doing.”

But it turns out HR is a lot more complicated than that. Anecdotes and advice are nice, but to know what’s best for my unique organization, I should look at concrete data to tell me what my company and my people actually need.

I once had a sales pitch from someone wanting me to buy a benefit package. And while his pitch was intriguing, I could quickly decide, based on my data, that this benefit wasn’t what my people were looking for.

With feedback from my employees, organized and easily visible using BambooHR, I know what meaningfully retains, rewards, and recruits my base.

» Learn More: The Definitive Guide to People Analytics

HR Data + Business Goals = A Seat at the Table

HR earns a seat at the leadership table by being a student of the business. If you’re continually studying to better understand the business, you can build KPIs around your population that enable your business to succeed. You’re not choosing between your HR goals and business goals—it's all the same!

If I understand the objectives of my business and what I'm driving for, I can conclude which pieces of data are going to be important to me.

Data is like the car that gets you where you want to go, but it's not the destination. The destination is impacting business growth, but knowing the business and being able to speak the language of the business through data and reporting is how you advocate for and tell that story.

Powerful data insights are only a click away.

With BambooHR, you can manage and report on your sensitive people data with an organized, secure database—no technical experience required.

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People Data in Action: Connecting BambooHR’s Mission to Employee Engagement

Right now at BambooHR, we’re doubling down on our mission to set people free to do great work. If you look at any top-driven engagement report, people who know how their job connects to our company's mission are more engaged with their role and with the customer. So currently, our number one metric we’re looking for is if everybody at BambooHR knows how their job impacts our mission.

To do this, we're continually building customized reports so I can see what our employees are saying, and then I can go back to our business leaders and say, “This is what we should stop, start, and continue doing.”

Make People Data Work for You

There’s no magic-bullet metric that’s best for connecting HR to business strategy, because the needs of each employee group are different and evolving. What I love about data reporting is that it makes HR metrics and initiatives concrete. We no longer have to rely on just intuition and word-of-mouth.

Data is beautiful because it facilitates a macro and micro look at how our people are doing. Every team has their own set of opportunities and challenges. Let's go be specific about helping those leaders and those teams work through theirs confidently with the evidence to back it.

An Award-Winning, Complete HR Platform

In BambooHR, everything works together to help you manage data and benefits, hire talent, run payroll, and help employees thrive. Best of all, it's easy and intuitive for busy HR teams!

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