Integrating HR data to give it context and meaning? It can be done!

A common first hurdle facing HR professionals is that their individual systems and platforms don't speak the same 'language'.

Page cover image

A lot is being said and written about data-driven HR, and the potential this offers HR professionals and leadership. However, it’s safe to say that many companies still have a long way to go when it comes to collecting, structuring and utilising the right employee data.

A common first hurdle facing HR professionals is that their individual systems and platforms don't speak the same 'language'. The data in different HR processes often live in silos, unable to be meaningfully integrated. Integrating HR data from various sources has a huge positive impact and is often easier to implement than expected. 

For years HR was essentially a socially-driven profession, based mostly on intuition. To get real concrete numbers required for policy decisions, HR would typically approach either the finance or marketing departments. Fortunately, a lot of progress has been made recently – like the entire world around us, HR is becoming increasingly data-driven.

Image Content

Digitisation of HR

In just a few years the HR profession has massively transformed. Traditional employee records and files are now mostly digital. Employee training content is largely offered online and the recruitment process hardly ever calls for a paper resume anymore. In short; the digitisation of HR has been pretty successful in eliminating a lot of manual administration tasks and in giving employees more direct access to all the information they need.

The need for insights, rather than just reports

On top of having to digitise processes, today’s HR manager is expected to be able to substantiate policies with hard data gleaned from within the company and external sources. Gut feeling is out. Leadership expects hard evidence and data-driven HR insights for decision-making. This goes way beyond providing a headcount or payroll report. HR is expected to fully understand and clarify the people dynamics in the company and lead the way in terms of strategic direction. It’s a daunting job that still often causes headaches.

Data silos

The software platforms that the average HR department uses contain a wealth of information, ranging from attendance and talent reviews to internal mobility and employee engagement. Often, however, it’s not easy to collate all the data into a usable structure. Standalone systems are often not integrated and use different structures and identifiers to tie data to users and teams. They also typically use different languages. Despite all its potential, data-driven HR still faces the challenge of different silos and data sets that undermine its ability to report the full picture. 

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater

If this sounds familiar, at some point you’ve probably had the urge to throw all existing systems overboard and source a one-stop-shop vendor. The hope here is that all people processes will then connect seamlessly and it will be smooth sailing from there. One can only speculate on the impact on users, budgets and time this will bring. However, the way forward is probably a lot easier and cheaper than you think. 

The invisible bridge to data-driven HR

Nowadays, integrating systems and data is a very feasible and fairly low-tech exercise. Straightforward data connections make data available to users when and where it is needed. They eliminate hassles like double data entries and improve data cleansing. Even a simple integration can run in the background to create a virtual bridge between the different platforms, like user accounts, job ads or compliance checks. This makes HR run smoothly, creating a better user experience for practitioners.

Image Content

A practical everyday example

Let’s look at an employee leaving the company. As soon as the employee offboarding is done in the central HR administration system, smart data integration immediately deletes employee accounts in the other systems. For example, the employee no longer appears in the learning portal, email accounts in Active Directory are deactivated and, most importantly, the person is no longer included in the upcoming payroll run. All this is accomplished with simple, affordable and super-stable solutions. The various HR systems in the organisation are all connected. These user integrations can typically be developed and deployed in just a matter of weeks. 

Sounds too good to be true?

It's not. worldofwork™ has already helped numerous clients with data integration – making their HR work a lot easier and more reliable while ticking all compliance boxes. Let one of our HR integration engineers tell you more and have a look at your integration use case.

Contact for more information on data-driven HR.