Better understanding your people data: HR reporting 101 by IRIS Elements image

Better understanding your people data: HR reporting 101 by IRIS Elements

Is sickness absence increasing? What is the fiscal impact of bonuses this year? Which department has the most churn?

onMonday, 22 April 2024

Is sickness absence increasing? What is the fiscal impact of bonuses this year? Which department has the most churn?

HR professionals are asked a never-ending amount of questions! However, many are struggling to keep up with the influx of requests alongside their day-to-day people management.

Well, it’s no secret that HR teams are overworked – Gartner surveyed 217 HR leaders and found that prioritisation is becoming harder and harder for those individuals and their teams.

The Gartner survey also revealed that 55% of HR professionals are getting more requests on a wider variety of topics.

If you are being bombarded by data requests, you need to make sure you have good systems in place for HR reporting; otherwise, the time drain can quickly spiral out of control.

In this blog, we will explore the nuances of HR reporting and showcase how good software can revolutionise the way you work.

Tackling the time drain of HR reporting

Before getting to the meat of it, and detailing HR reporting best practices, a logical starting point is to cover what common issues are currently plaguing many businesses.

On a recent live stream, our HR Director, Lizzy Barry, reflected on the typical challenges associated with HR reporting, saying: "Everyone can probably agree that there are lots of different reporting requirements and time drains associated with pulling the information together.

“There are lots of standardised legislative reporting requirements but it is also really common for HR to receive requests, such as board reports, executive team reports, finance reports, team reports, departmental reports, etc.

“We also need to report on the HR department to showcase the amazing work we are doing.

“Lots of stuff comes through, some repetitive which need to happen frequently and some things which take us by surprise and as such take a long time to pull together.

“Certainly from my own experience, reporting can be hugely manual tasks; pulling manual reports could take days, ensuring you have all the information from different data sources and manipulating the data into a usable format.

“We know HR professionals are so busy, so we need to free up our time so we can focus on more value-added work.”

Watch the live stream

Three ways good HR software can improve your reporting

It’s mind-boggling how much reporting HR has to do! For a people-centric profession, there is a lot of focus on managing numbers and data.

However, reporting doesn't have to be a burden.

In fact, with good HR software, your reporting and people data can empower you to make an even greater difference.

Here are a few ways good HR software eases the burden of reporting.

Improved data distribution

Safeguarding the data you have within the business is a critical job and a fundamental GDPR requirement.

That said, there are some horror stories of professionals accidentally sharing personal data.

During the live stream, Lizzy reflected on an incident, saying: “At a previous company, we had a payroll manager who was organising the Christmas party and accidentally sent out the final payroll file to the entire Christmas party invite list - horrendous, possibly one of the worst things they could have done."

Incidents like these unfortunately aren't too rare and are reminders for us to ensure the necessary security measures are in place.

Ask yourself:

  • Is the sensitive file password-protected?

  • Has the correct file been attached?

  • Are you sending it to the correct distribution list?

Getting any of these basics wrong could be catastrophic for the credibility of HR.

However, the reality is that human error does happen; to minimise risk, this piece of the data puzzle must be made as easy as possible, minimising opportunities for errors.

How HR software helps

Good HR software plays a crucial role in handling employee information safely and efficiently.

Features such as password protection ensure accurate and secure data distribution – even if the data was sent to the wrong person, without a password the file remains safe.

Access controls within the system also ensure that only authorised personnel can view, edit and download sensitive information, reducing the risk of data breaches.

Integration with other systems, such as your payroll software, also means changes to employee information are reflected without the need for human intervention – completely removing the need for sensitive employee data to be sent.

Simplifying data consolidation

Collating and displaying data is often regarded as one of the biggest HR challenges.

HR are often asked questions regarding topics such as:

  • Basic headcount

  • The number of starters and leavers

  • Updates on salary spend vs budget

  • Departmental growth

  • Diversity & inclusion (D&I) 

  • Employee turnover

  • And more 

While information requests for these topics can arise frequently, it can be particularly tricky and time-consuming to pull this wide range of data when information is fragmented and stored in different systems, or even spreadsheets.

What's worse is painstakingly pulling all the data together, and the requestee comes back asking to see it in a different format or asks for additions to be included!

How HR software helps

HR software provides a centralised location for all your people data, meaning you no longer have to store vital information in spreadsheets or across different locations.

Additionally, software integration means your HR software can connect, share and collate data from other key systems.

Now, where it gets exciting is that good HR software enables you to create handy dashboards in the system, providing a centralised, real-time location for all the common data areas which you'll need throughout your day-to-day.

These dashboards can be customised, containing any data points you need such as cost of sickness, days lost, headcount status, etc.

As well as the dashboards, HR software enables you to quickly build reports within the system, which can also be scheduled, saving you from pulling the same data set again and again.

An added bonus is that the data is in real-time – should something change in the system, it is automatically reflected in your reporting without the need for manual intervention.

Unlocking meaningful insights

What are your business and HR goals? Do you have the necessary data?

For example, a key HR metric we often see is regarding employee attrition - how quickly are people leaving and what are they leaving for?

Understandably, as it is expensive to hire new people and even more expensive to train them + does a high number of leavers indicate wider problems in the business which need solving?

If this was an issue you were looking to tackle, some key metrics you might want to track include:

  • Are people leaving certain departments?

  • Are certain roles leaving?

  • Are people leaving after a particular length of service?

  • Are people using the training courses on offer?

  • Are people having learning & development (L&D) discussions?

  • Are people having regular objectives set?

  • Are people being promoted?

Answering these types of questions are crucial for informing your HR strategy.

However, if data is dispersed, or simply not tracking the necessary metrics, these burning questions will remain unanswered, hindering your efforts!

How HR software helps

To get good data, you need the correct interface for collecting information.

For example, having a dedicated leavers screen collects key information such as leaving reasons and can feature questionnaires.

This type of functionality can apply to a range of scenarios, from capturing information when onboarding new starters and comprehensive quarterly review processes.

However, capturing the information is only one part of the puzzle (albeit an incredibly important part!).

You need to also easily display, find and share the relevant information

It should be simple to answer data-based questions with your HR software.

Perhaps you're looking for the future leaders of your business - having a wide set of people data and easily pulling information means you can effectively locate individuals with specific skills, traits and accomplishments.

IRIS: people-focused HR software

We put people at the centre of our feature-rich HR solutions, helping you manage HR processes that empower your team and build a more connected workplace.

Whether you have one employee or one hundred thousand, we have a solution to match your needs – see our HR software options here.

For more information on HR reporting, watch the full live stream with Lizzy here.

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