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What Challenges Does Poor HR Data Management Create?
Blog //07-07-2023

What Challenges Does Poor HR Data Management Create?

by Nick Gallimore, Managing Director - People Management

In any field, poor data management creates challenges for organisations, but this is especially so in the world of human resources (HR). The good news is that modern HR software, such as OneAdvanced HR, can help HR professionals meet many of the challenges that are thrown up by poor data in HR processes and achieve their strategic ambitions. After all, HR data isn't like other types of information. Some of it is private, some of it is relevant to only certain employees and some of it, in all likelihood, cannot be broken down into simple data entry points, such as numbered ratings from 1 to 10, for example. But all HR data is vital to creating an excellent people experience and delivering on vital strategy.

With the right human resources information system (HRIS) at their disposal, HR management of employee data becomes much less of a chore, and more empowering. By fully utilising the data access available within OneAdvanced HR, for example, you won't face the common problems associated with poor HR data management. In fact, your business may be suffering from some of the pain points associated with inaccurate workforce data already, such as an inability to track employee turnover, or analysing diversity, inclusion and equality data. Read on to find out what your organisation will struggle to achieve if it can’t collect or analyse employee data reliably, and what this means for your recruitment strategy plus your wider skills retention and performance level management.

Why HR Data Management Is Important at the Human Level

If you don't have the right HR software to support your HR team, then they won't be able to collect, store and act upon employee data in a usable way. Good software systems allow users to search and filter data with bespoke queries, of course. In the case of HR data, this will have serious implications for the culture of your business. Why? Because software queries allow you to search for specific data points. Basic headcounts on gender identities, salaries and bonus information should be possible so senior managers can compare monthly or annual data to identify trends so that you can build the culture and people experience you want to see.

Ask yourself a simple question: if you are not collecting the data and storing it in a way that you can analyse it, then how could your organisation possibly know if it was suffering from a gender pay gap, for example? Ideally, your HR software solution will allow you to assess your workforce in a myriad of ways to support your employees, managers and HR team and create an inclusive culture that drives performance.

Understanding Employee Engagement and Data Management

Employers who run pulse surveys and measure their employee net promoter score (NPS) are often much better placed to understand how well they are performing with respect to workforce satisfaction. When NPS scores are compared to properly recorded and stored employee retention data in a suitable software system designed for this purpose, it makes it much easier to assess where you are and where you will be with respect to employee churn. Of course, all organisations suffer from some staff leaving, but only by assessing your accurate employee data will you be able to understand how much your recruitment and retention strategy is affecting their productivity and happiness.

Equally, recording data around your absenteeism rate will help to assess your basic productivity per employee. If you don't know how you rate in terms of employee satisfaction, engagement and absenteeism, then how will you be able to work out the measure you need to take to drive improvements in any of them? Forward-thinking organisations use their employee data to help them improve their NPS and satisfaction rates by recording data on absenteeism and well-being in an HR management system that maintains employee anonymity.

HR Software and Your Talent Pipeline

HR processes are often focused on talent pipelines and recruitment strategies. Data should be collected on a range of issues connected to recruitment including attrition rates, retention rates, recruitment conversion rates and others. If you are not collecting quantitative data on your HR team's time-to-hire rates, for example, then how can you decide whether you need to make changes to speed up your recruitment processes or, conversely, take more time with due diligence processes? Only accurate employee data management can provide the answer to such questions and help you drive strategy.

Additionally, tracking metrics concerning your job-filling success will help you to understand whether you're advertising roles in the right way, using the best recruitment agencies or even whether your rates of pay are competitive. Data on vacancy rates can also be very useful in helping to overcome the challenge of running a well-oiled recruitment process since comparing vacancies in different roles, sites or divisions will help you to obtain a wider perspective that allows you to determine what to keep doing and what to change. This will help you build a pipeline of the right talent for your business.

Skills Management and Data-Driven HR Processes

Talent snapshots are a very powerful means of establishing whether your organisation has the skills it needs to compete. Please bear in mind that taking a snapshot of the current skills availability in your workforce isn't always about identifying deficiencies and within which teams you most need to recruit – although this is a key part of managing such employee data. It is also about looking into which skills gaps you might be strategically exposed to. If you only have one or two employees with certain key skills, then your entire organisation may be at risk should your superheroes retire, go off sick or be head-hunted. Good HR teams help organisations to maintain a talent pool but without the right data management tools, it is much harder for them to meet such challenges.

Performance Evaluations and Data-Driven HR Management

HR software should also be at the heart of your organisation's performance evaluations. Typically, employees' performance reviews are conducted by their line managers and overseen by senior managers. However, there are few tools available to HR managers to establish whether or not individual managers are assessing their teams in exactly the same way. This can lead to questions of basic fairness in performance reviews. When appraisals determine pay increases and bonuses, it is in everyone's interests to collect the relevant data so that like-for-like comparisons can be made between teams that show the processes have been conducted in a fair way.

Another key area of performance evaluations is establishing who the future leaders of the organisation are - the sort of people who should be placed on mentoring or senior management training programmes, for example. Talent evaluations should collect data in ways that allow decision-makers to analyse and compare their workforce with data that doesn't merely show current performance levels but gives an indication of potential, as well.


In the end, using the data in your HRIS is the best solution if you want to overcome the sort of challenges all organisations face in terms of their HR management. Quantifiable employee data stored in your HR software system isn't collected for its own sake but to help provide senior executives with the data they need to make strategic decisions about the company's future. Only by harnessing cutting-edge software solutions, such as OneAdvanced HR, will HR managers be able to provide their boards with the data they need to make such decisions. In other words, failing to invest in a suitable HRIS will leave some organisations behind as they fail to meet the challenges associated with modern HR processes today.

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Nick Gallimore

Nick Gallimore


Managing Director - People Management

Nick is a Talent Management specialist, who has spent his entire career working with organisations looking to transform the way they hire, develop and manage their people. He works with our HR software customers, providing specialist consulting and advice around all aspects of the Talent Management lifecycle, helping them to deliver their strategic people aims.

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