Understanding the 3 Types of HR Data to Leverage in Workforce Planning

Each year, your organization sets goals that focus on future growth. To inform those goals, your organization must first look back on previous performance against goals and benchmarks to understand the current state. How you, as HR Leaders, will determine your new goals, review current state, and set the course for the future, depends on analyzing the right data to ensure you have teams in place to support your vision.

As a function, Human Resources owns, manages or has access to a variety of data to guide business leaders through crucial workforce planning decision-making. By understanding how to leverage this data more effectively, HR Leaders can take a seat at the table armed with insights to help your organization’s business leaders strategically plan your people strategy.

While HR has access to a diverse data set, what insights leaders can develop depends on two things. HR Leaders must understand the types of hr data available, and how that data aligns with your organization’s workforce planning maturity. The types of data available to HR Leaders can be grouped into three levels of data maturity:

  • Reactive data
  • Strategic data
  • Transformative data

Reactive Data is typically owned by Human Resources or Finance departments and its application is primarily leveraged for short-term budget-driven decision making. Reactive data can provide HR Leaders with short-range HR analytics, from your existing human resources management system (HRMS), to guide business leaders through decisions that will have an immediate impact on your existing workforce.

Strategic Data is usually owned by jointly by Human Resources and Strategic Planning functions. Strategic data begins to address higher-level business objectives and allows HR Leaders to look three to five years ahead in your workforce planning strategies. Business leaders and finance leaders are particularly interested in strategic data as this helps to map out workforce requirements for the future and potential impacts on budget.

Transformative Data is typically leveraged by Human Resources departments through your own team’s resources or by individual(s) who possess advanced skills in the usage of software and machine learning analytics. Once this transformative data is collected, HR Leaders can provide insights to integrate strategic and workforce planning functions. HR Leaders can leverage transformative data to provide insights to business leaders that predict potential longer-term workforce changes and their impact on business objectives, usually greater than five years ahead.

By leveraging the right data, HR Leaders are able to bring agility and flexibility to workforce planning, aligning workforce strategies with business objectives and your organization’s strategic goals. By knowing what data to leverage and who owns it, HR Leaders are empowered to meet business leaders as strategic partners in conversations armed with data-backed insights.

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