An HR single system of record

There’s only one way to ensure the best HR data analysis

It’s ironic that the so-called information age has produced so much misinformation. It’s difficult to know which news sources we can trust, so the last thing we need is having to question data that our own organisation’s produced.

Acting on incorrect information is even worse, which you could be doing if you have multiple employee databases. If your organisation has more than one database for its HR data, you could be creating all kinds of problems. Not least that it takes people longer to access information when they need it.

To ensure the best HR data analysis, you need a single system of record. One database. One definitive source of information.

How valuable is data to HR?

Data has been described as the new oil. Websites collect our personal data. Telemarketers buy it. Hackers steal it. Yet data itself is useless unless we can use it profitably.

For HR, that means using data to learn about your employees. Not just how productive they are, and how much time they’ve spent on certain jobs, but whether they’re overworked or underprepared. Whether you need more people in certain roles. Whether you need to reward certain high-achievers to prevent them joining a rival organisation.

HR data is vital to an organisation’s very existence. It enables us to monitor and improve the employee experience, drive efficiency and make important decisions about the future.

But data can only do this if it’s accurate and up to date.

A single system of record benefits everyone

Multiple databases will make it more difficult, if not impossible to bring all the relevant information together. With a single database we only need to catch one ball; with multiple databases we need to juggle any number of balls, some of which we may not be able to see.

Combining all employee data in a single database with a unified interface means that employees themselves can more easily enter and access information – so it’s more likely to be correct. They can check details of holidays, benefits and pension contributions, without having to email HR and wait for a response. When information has to be updated, it means that there is only one change to be made and there’s no risk of outdated information elsewhere being left unamended. It’s much easier for everyone, especially the HR department who don’t have to waste time repeating information.

Coping with multiple databases is not a small problem. The ADP Research Institute found that multinational companies manage on average 33 payroll systems and 31 HR systems.1
That means an awful lot of juggling.

A unified interface means that there’s only one log-in to remember (and keep secure)

With all information about an employee, from personal details such as home address to training and evaluation records, to pension and benefits details, available in one place, it makes it easier to understand our employees as people across the entire organisation and to recognise their value.

A single system makes it easier to monitor and develop people’s careers. In large or multinational companies, it can be difficult to set uniform goals and ensure fair and accurate appraisals, especially if the relevant information is sitting in different systems and proprietary systems (as is often the case). A single system means that employees can understand how they’re performing against expectations and makes it easier for management to review and take any necessary action – whether that’s to reward, encourage or to find out what’s going wrong before it’s too late.

The future of HR

The need for companies to have a complete understanding of their employees has been recognised for some time. As long ago as 2011, an ADP paper reported that: “89% of companies believe that having a complete view of their employees is “critical.” Yet only 30% of them actually have a complete overview.

Today, however, managing global HR has been made easier by implementing an HR suite of solutions. A single dashboard combined with a single database will help to ensure that everyone makes use of the available data. Furthermore, implementing it in the cloud is another plus. A recent report by PwC found that “half of the organizations we surveyed linked their cloud implementation to an increase in the use of self-service tools for HR-related transactions, with 52% reporting an increase in employee usage, and 47% saying managers use self-service tools more regularly too.”

From improving efficiency in the workplace to helping find, develop and retain talent, a single system of record is proving vital to HR’s changing role. An evolution that has seen it move from a back-office function to a vital contributor to any organisation’s future planning.

There’s no two ways about it, if HR is to fulfil this new role successfully it must have the best data, which means a single system of record.