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Which employee metrics matter in the boardroom?

A recent survey revealed that 76% of HR professionals feel their strategic business input remains poorly acknowledged. So, in the wake of these findings, commercially-astute CEO Oliver Shaw advises how HRDs can achieve deserved recognition from their senior management peers. Big data holds the answer, Oliver believes, but which employee metrics matter in the boardroom..?

“The HR profession, on the whole, has long yearned for greater acknowledgement of the role it plays in business evolution. With the function widely misconstrued as having merely ‘softer’ benefits – and worse still one with only administration prowess – there can be a lack of respect for the impact HR has on an organisation’s bottom line.

HR increasingly gaining its place at the boardroom table is the first step to overthrowing such antiquated viewpoints. To date, in businesses of all shapes and sizes, the voice of HR has all too often fallen to the MD, operations director or another general manager who tries to juggle some simple HR tasks alongside the core element of their role.

But we’re talking about effective human capital management here, not the mechanics of day-to-day HR processes. We’re talking about what it takes to really engage, develop and retain employees. And what HR can do to transform the productivity and profitability of the organisations they work for.

In this respect, HR should have a well-earned voice in the boardroom. But big data can help that voice become increasingly louder. After all, HRDs have access to metrics that CEOs won’t be aware of, yet would unequivocally love to know about.

However, if HRDs are to realise the potential of such data, capture the attention of senior management teams, and gain the respect they crave, there needs to be something of a mindset shift.

For some time, the role of data analysis has fallen to scientists, number crunchers and people who readily create spreadsheets to understand every facet of their working life. Yet there won’t always be the budget for that team member, nor should the analysis fall to someone with a passion for figures. Metrics don’t have to be mindboggling – it’s simply a case of knowing what data to uncover, what questions to ask, and how to triangulate the findings.

With an increasingly buoyant economy comes the more widespread desire for companies to grow. And recruiting the right level and calibre of talent is crucial to these expansion strategies. HRDs should therefore be having proactive strategic conversations surrounding the subject of workforce planning.

Big data can help as it presents the figures that shape the recruitment pipeline. What is the difference between the organisation’s budgeted and current actual headcount? If nothing changed, how would this number be affected over time by attrition? How many roles are there to fill over the coming months? How many CVs need to be reviewed and applicants interviewed to address the vacancies? And how long will all this take? What is the time lapse for a new recruit to become a productive employee? Above all, what will the bottom line impact be as a result of any lag?

These metrics should not be hard to uncover, especially in organisations with intuitive HR software. It’s what HRDs do with the data that matters.

For HR professionals who really don’t like spreadsheets, Cascade has devised a formula-driven pro-forma workforce planner to delve deeper into the subject. When populated, this will show how many people the organisation needs to see to achieve the vision of the senior management team, how long it will take to get to the budgeted headcount, and when these conversations should have really started.

HR has the power to make fellow directors stop, listen and pay attention. And data has the key to unlock the profile raising journey along the way.

Download your free workforce planner and user guide, from Cascade    

Cascade’s ‘HR Hacks’ series
There are many ways that clever data analysis can improve HR teams’ management of human capital. Cascade is therefore running a series of HR Hacks, authored by Oliver Shaw, over the next 12 months. This programme will bring together a number of free resources, accompanied by practical step-by-step advice, to ensure meaningful, rather than mindboggling use of your metrics. To sign up to receive the next resources as soon as they become available please contact Cascade HR on 0113 255 4115 or click here.

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