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CEOs expect HR to be more adept with data analysis

What do CEOs want from HR? The easy answer to this question is for the department to do its job without any problems arising that the rest of the C-suite will need to take care of, according to research from Henley Business School at the University of Reading. This response might seem harsh but sometimes the CEOs and other executives don't see how valuable a good HR department is for their business until personnel problems or labor issues occur, The Harvard Business Review noted. On the other hand, if everything runs without a hitch, then CEOs wonder what their HR managers are truly doing for the company as whole.

It can be a damned if you do, damned if you don't prospect for HR. However, there is something this department can do to regularly remind CEOs and chief financial officers just how vital they are to the overall business. HR must be more adept in embracing new technologies such as data analytics.

"Executives want to know HR has actionable data at their fingertips at all times."

Crunching the numbers
More and more executives want their HR departments to not only handle individual personnel situations and employee benefits, they also want them to think strategically and look at the bigger picture. To do this, HR needs data science solutions at its disposal. CEOs want the assistance of HR when making critical decisions, and a personnel department that's well-versed in data analytics can bring more to the C-suite table. 

Executives want to know HR has actionable data at their fingertips at all times so they can identify gaps in personnel, where they should move certain employees and how to find the best talent quickly and efficiently. 

What a CEO wants
The Society of Human Resource Management cited a study from CareerBuilder showing just how much data analysis is valued in HR and how it continues to be a game changer.

"HR is the new frontier for data science applications in business," Matt Ferguson told the SHRM. The CareerBuilder CEO and co-author of "The Talent Equation: Big Data Lessons for Navigating the Skills Gap and Building a Competitive Workforce" added the 88 executive respondents in the study wanted an HR department more adept with data analysis that can easily crunch the numbers.

All of this becomes even more vital as the economy improves and more companies look to compete for the same pool of talent. 

"CEOs are looking for HR to be just as data-savvy and digitally savvy as other areas of the company and take quick, measurable actions that move the business toward its goals," Ferguson said in a press release cited by SHRM. 

The CareerBuilder study noted 90 percent of CEOs agreed it's critical for HR to use data analytics, and 75 percent said it's essential to make more informed decisions about a company's workforce.In other words, executives want their HR departments to be more proactive and less reactive, and with the use of data analytics HR can do just that. HR that embraces workforce analytics and metrics gain a better understanding of their businesses' overall strategy. While this department is essential for the success of any business venture, HR must remove its blinders to understand how the decisions it makes affect the company as a whole and how these accords keep the venture moving forward. 

What executives expect
Contemporary HR departments have their work cut out for them. Unlike other executives who may focus solely on the financials of the business, the chief human resources officer must straddle two fences to please CEOs and CFOs. Those working in HR both need to be people persons as well as number crunchers when it comes down to it. They handle face-to-face communication to smooth out problematic personnel situations, but executives want HR to switch its thinking to consider the numbers. HR must not only fill job vacancies, it also needs to do everything it usually accomplishes while keeping the business's long-term goals in mind. 

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