HR Dashboards: All chalk and dust..


956386I have a good mate and ex-colleague at Deloitte, Lyle Cooper. We regularly have  debates (typically over email given the time difference between Australia and South Africa) over topical HR issues. Last week he asked me for my views on HR Dashboards, and how prevelant they are:

The question was : would you say that Dashboards and scorecards are prevalent  or do most HR depts. get by with standard reports or specifically collated reports (not from an automated tool).”

I though I would share my answer with you and see what others are thinking:

My Answer:

Personally I  haven’t seen a major take up of front end strategic visual tools by HR ( there are lots of individual HR staff that have developed  tools and systems for themselves that are visual displays / dashboards ) and most HR departments are still generating their strategic reports and manipulating them prior to distribution to executives and managers.

Part of the problem that Dashboard tools are not effective when used (or  if used at all) is because the business requirements eg. measure total workforce numbers & cost, is not accurately supported by HR departments and their systems. There is also still a lot of mistrust of HR data. Another reason is the lack of system capability knowledge generally in HR environments. Where I have see positive movement is when ‘new age’ HR senior resources are appointed ( execs that don’t come from an HR background ) – they have see decision making tools like Dashboards and Scorecards work in finance , procurement, marketing etc. and know the value that such tools can offer if they work correctly. The other thing that is pushing change is when HR departments have placed analytics people in their structures or CoE’s – they tend to increase accuracy of data and use the outputs to help support decision making. 

So while Dashboards are not the norm, these days I’m seeing more standard reports being generated that look a lot nicer – use of graphics etc. are definitely being used ( sometimes to hide the real answers though), but not seeing a lot using interactive graphics eg. Business objects type tools.

I should say again that I see a difference  between the use of dashboards at an executive vs operational level. The former is the area that is not doing well in my view ( ties into the maturity level of HR ).

So, should HR be going down the Dashboard route? In my opinion ….Yes , but the back end HR/People data must be trusted first, it must contain the data to support business decision making (not HR decision making…. there is a difference) and the dashboards should show direct lines of influence or effect on a business strategies (eg. What is the contribution from HR strategies on the annual 20% growth target). Dashboards for operational management is probably less useful, and the line managers need for this data is likely to be supported in MSS tools and tools like instant Analytics  (Workday approach).

So let me know your thoughts and experiences on the use of Dashboards in your HR world…….All ‘Chalk & Dust’ or ‘working well.

One comment

  1. Both in my current and previous company (both significant businesses) we have had plans to develop HR dashboards. While we have adequate technology (both companies use trusted BI tools for general reporting) the transition to interactive and self select reporting has been slow at best.

    I think part of this is because it is not seen as a key HR initiative, and partly because we don’t have the BI technology experts in HR to drive the projects (and I think the later drives the former).

    I don’t think it is seen unnecessary – the value is seen – but it is not at the top of the HR decision makers minds, so the drive is not strong there, and the internal partners (but external to HR) building the tools have so many other business priorities to juggle with HR seen as “nice to have” rather than “must do”. Consequently, enhancing HR reporting slips into the “do next” pile (either that or the “that will be enough to keep them quiet” category.)

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