Staff (Image credit Pixabay/geralt)Sage has published a study entitled “HR in the moment: Impact through insights” (Registration required).  The report is a follow up from its report “HR in the moment: The changing expectations and perceptions of HR”. This time the authors look at how HR is impacting organisations today. It looks at how HR has grown in importance at the board level and how technology, especially People Analytics, can help HR leaders. While HR data has become more visible to the board, the big question is, are CHROs getting a seat at the table?

The report is 23 pages long and divided into three core sections with an introduction and conclusion. The report looked at:

  • How aligned are HR with business priorities?
  • The future of HR analytics: Driving success through actionable intelligence
  • The role of HR technology

The findings are primarily based on 500 HR and business leaders from across the UK, US, Canada, and Australia from midsized to global companies.

Business alignment

Talent is one of the key issues faced by business leaders today. It is found on the risk registers and priorities of boards. Finding and retaining talent is often the top priority. Business leaders are more conscious than ever that they need information, and HR is providing it.

The study found that 81% of the C-Suite and HR are aligned on business priorities. 94% of business leaders feel they have access to HR data, but is it the right HR data? Business leaders want more. 62% of leaders find that the data provided is not spotting trends that can deliver business insights. Furthermore, 38% do not believe that HR is providing the insights they require. The report highlights some of the disconnects between the C Suite and HR.

Paul Burrin, VP Product and Marketing – Sage People.
Paul Burrin, VP Product and Marketing – Sage People.

There is an odd lack of confidence from HR with the C Suite, expecting them to lead more across most categories. The gap in expectations is largest for digital transformation. This may be because the expectation on HR is that this is a technology change rather than a culture change, driven by technological change. Qualitative interviews may have drawn additional insights

Paul Burrin, VP, Sage People, insightfully comments: “An opportunity exists for HR to play a stronger leadership role across the organization. Automation and digital transformation can free HR teams from manual administration to make higher-value contributions to the business.”

Actionable intelligence

HR data is available, but it is not always the correct data. In addition, the data is not providing the insights that C Suite leaders want. Only 40% of C Suite leaders are using HR data to make decisions on average. However, the survey differentiated between different types of business decisions. The range was still small, though. The highest, 45% of C Suite use people data to make business-wide decisions. Only 36% use people data to make revenue affecting decisions.

What this survey lacks is an industry breakdown. It is likely that people data will have more impact on professional services than perhaps manufacturing.

The report then explains the difference between leading and lagging metrics. It also provides a very useful and full list of metrics that HR provide the business and which metrics the C Suite find most useful. At the extreme is employee net promotor score where 86% of C Suite would like the data, but only 13% of HR can provide it.

HR Tech

The study proposes that modern HR technology can help. It highlights that it has helped businesses become more flexible. For example, during the pandemic, 79% of HR Leaders and 89% of C Suite say that HR technology helped them manage the business. 82% of leaders said they had to scale HR technology during the business. The study then highlights several HR leaders comments that state how technology has helped them through the pandemic. Interestingly the report is solution agnostic and does not highlight Sage People as the solution in use.

What is clear is that HR systems will continue to help organisations thrive in the new world. It is also clear that the HR solution needs to provide the metrics that the business needs.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The report concludes with six takeouts for business leaders. They are slanted towards HR leaders, but business leaders should also note them. The report delivers a solid read backed by evidence that does not appear slanted towards Sage solutions but has insights for any organisation.

This is an interesting study with a mix of data and insights that is well worth a read. It could have been stronger if the research team had also carried out qualitative interviews. While the sample was relatively small, a breakdown by industry and nationality may have provided further insights. Despite noting where the data was sourced from, there were no regional differences highlighted in the report.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here