Data Transparency in HR: Unlocking the Value of Visibility

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HR professionals understand the value of big data. Collecting and deciphering information gleaned from multiple corporate silos can help HR teams improve benefit structures, enhance recruiting efforts and make necessary changes to business culture. C-suite members also take an active interest in this data for long-term strategy and decision-making, but for many businesses, one group is often left out of the data transparency equation — employees.

As noted by Information Management, for example, key staff groups such as millennials are now pushing for greater transparency in HR data across the organization, but what's the value proposition here? If HR teams do implement transparent data policies, what's the best way to present collected information so it's easy to understand, actionable and insightful?

Share Data With Employees

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, data transparency is "the future of HR." Why? Because employees are now used to transparency in their daily lives — all it takes is a quick trip online and they can discover everything they need to know about brands, retail chains and travel destinations thanks to reviews left by other consumers. The same applies to workplace culture and compensation — with minimal effort, job candidates can track down data about employment opportunities in their area, industry-specific interview processes and what to expect if they land the job. As a result, they often expect the same level of transparency from HR and C-suite staff once they're part of the fold.

In addition to satisfying millennial expectations for data visibility, businesses can enjoy other benefits from transparency. For example, staff may feel reassured that C-suite members want to share data about the current state of corporate affairs, which may, in turn, bolster their confidence about long-term stability. Transparency can also boost staff loyalty — clear communication can help establish your employees as integral parts of your organization.

Choose Your Data Wisely

If you're ready to adopt a transparent HR strategy, decide what data matters to the organization. It's the eternal struggle of big data — there's simply too much of it for businesses to leverage every piece of information simultaneously. Attempting to do too much, too fast can quickly backfire, as HR pros run the risk of becoming overwhelmed, which can lead to lower quality data outputs. Your best bet? Choose wisely. For example, many firms now struggle to fill specialized positions. By collecting and distributing recruitment data, it's possible to both make employees aware of this challenge and encourage suggestions that may streamline the process. It's also worth sharing retention data: Who's still with the organization? Who's new to the job? How does corporate culture impact employee longevity? By curating HR data before making it public, HR leaders can help make data easier to understand and focus its impact.

Present Your Data Clearly

Your next challenge on the road to effective big data dissemination? Clarity. How do you contextualize and visualize data so that it makes sense to C-suite members, managers and front-line staff alike? Consider that while complex financial data and reporting may be old hat to executives, staff at large may not be able to parse these numbers easily. Ideally, HR teams should choose just one or two specific concepts to convey with each data delivery. Cloud-based HR tools can be invaluable here in terms of both collecting critical data and translating it into something easily consumable. And when it comes to presentation, opt for a minimalist approach. By leveraging easy-to-read charts, graphs or even infographics, you can effectively level the playing field and make it easy for both C-suite members and front-line staff to draw the same conclusions.

The future of HR may well lie with data transparency. But collecting every scrap of data and then turning it loose on internal servers may not produce the ideal impact. Start by choosing wisely — know your audience and what they want to see, then unlock the value of visibility with clear and concise visualizations.

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