Is there a difference between HR Data Analytics and HR Metrics & Reporting?
Is there a difference between HR Data Analytics and HR Metrics & Reporting? This is a good question, and the answer is yes, there is a big difference. Not knowing the answer to this question is one of the many reasons why HR is lagging in the adoption and use of analytics. So, what is the difference?
Metrics are the building blocks to analytics. Metrics are single data points that reveal information about the past and the present and are often presented in spreadsheet format. Because metrics reveal information about the past and the present, they fall into a category of analytics called Descriptive Analytics. But Descriptive HR Analytics is not HR Data Analytics in its entirety.
There’s a common misconception that HR Metrics & Reporting fulfil the definition of HR Data Analytics. One of the reasons for this is that many digital HR tools contribute to this misconception by referring to their internal reporting tools as analytics, when in reality, they are Descriptive HR Analytical reports. These basic reports are run against the system where data was originally created, such as your HRMS, Learning Management System (LMS), or Accounts Payable system. These systems are transactional. They’re designed to help you perform certain tasks and keep records of those tasks. These reports, whether they’re downloadable spreadsheets or in visual graphs and charts, do display important HR data. However, they don’t incorporate the full scope HR Data Analytics processes and techniques that can reveal powerful insights that are often hidden within the data.
HR Data Analytics
True HR Data Analytics doesn’t just ask question such as ‘what is happening now? Or ‘what has happened in the past?’ (Descriptive Analytics), but also ask ‘why is it happening?’ (Diagnostic Analytics) and ‘what will happen in the future?’ (Predictive Analytics). Reporting is valuable but understanding the context of your data and the behaviour of your organisation is what will empower you to put that data to good use.
Implementing a full HR Data Analytics solution allows you to take mountains of unusable data and turn them into something actionable. It connects data from different data sources, transforms it, normalises it, and facilitates further exploration of the data. Unlike transaction reports that simply display the data, a full HR Data Analytics solution extracts valuable business insights by mining the data using additional types of analytics such as Diagnostic Analytics and Predictive Analytics, then summarises the resulting information and processes into a new set of metrics and measures that can help an organisation drive change.
If you would like to learn more about the different types of analytics that can be applied in HR and what the data analytics process looks like, you can read more about it by following this link to a previously published article we wrote on the subject.