HR teams are sitting on a gold mine of data: SHL insights

Great insights at HR Indaba 2018 from Jörn Dannheimer, the commercial manager for Africa at SHL.

HR teams in organisations are often sitting on a data gold mine. There’s data related to recruitment, productivity, career progression, absenteeism, personal development reviews and competency – just to mention a few.



Although managing data can be daunting and challenging, it can equally be valuable for helping HR teams make decisions that impact people, optimise processes and productivity. But most HR teams are not using their existing data – probably their greatest asset after employees – to inform their decision making or adding value to an organisation.

This is a view held by Jörn Dannheimer, the commercial manager for Africa at SHL, which conducted an online survey relating to the changing nature of work, the importance of talent data and talent assessment tools.

A total of 3,135 HR professionals participated in the survey. According to the survey results contained in SHL’s 2018 Global Assessment Trends report, 39 percent of HR professionals make business decisions without objective talent data. “This [the percentage] is not reassuring as it is low,” said Jörn during a presentation at the HR Indaba on 3 October, 2018, at the Sandton Convention Centre.

“The trends we are seeing is that organisations have too little visibility of talent and the talent data to make various decisions.” Further results of the survey indicate that 52 percent of HR professionals lack the right information to make good people decisions and 61 percent don’t understand their workforce potential.

In the past, a lot of data was unused by HR teams, as it was buried in excel spreadsheets, charts and tables. But HR teams are starting to recognise that having generic data is useless but having good data ensures that they make good decisions, said Jörn.
“At least organisations are moving from big data to good data,” he said.

But this is not yet reflecting in the survey as a “low” 27 percent of HR professionals are satisfied with the ability of their systems being able to manage talent data. And 72 percent of HR professionals see the lack of integration across their systems being the biggest barrier. 
Jörn offered a few tips on how HR teams can best use their data;

  • Use unstructured data from internal and external sources for a holistic view of the workplace
  • Translate talent data into business-led insights and predictions to drive decisions and action
  • Connect data across key talent programs to improve outcomes and future performance.