“Data plays such an important role, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion,” said Donaldson. HRD. “D&I has gone from being a ‘hot topic’ to being a corporate standard, as it always should have been. When it comes to making decisions, data is incredibly critical to making sure employers are fair, equitable, and ultimately make the right choice.

“Organizational data tells us a lot about the employee lifecycle. I have always been a huge fan of considering the story of the employee behind the numbers. It’s all well and good to cite attrition rates – but by examining the individual components of that data, understanding where it comes from and what that means in an organizational context, the data becomes much more valuable.

“Having this at the heart of your business allows leaders to understand people’s decisions – to really understand why things happened. What we’re seeing right now is a massive shift in the data held by HR and more of a part of the whole. We are giving companies more tools to make these informed decisions, we are removing this whole concept of “gut feeling” or purely observational choices – which essentially leads to discrimination. “

With so much data on our plates, it’s high time HR managers got more comfortable reading it. But is it fair to ask HR practitioners, a role that has always been synonymous with people and culture, to suddenly turn into data gurus? Turns out it’s not that complex.

“Honestly, I don’t think HR data has reached its full potential yet,” added Donaldson. “For leaders looking to work more closely with her, the process doesn’t have to be so intimidating or complicated. There are many tools that help you interpret and break down your data to produce the information you need. The challenge is to overcome this fear of how to mine data. People think “oh, I shouldn’t ask that question” or “oh, I don’t know how to ask”. Obviously, there is a lot of protection to put in place when it comes to how we collect data and who has access to it, but it’s less about being a scientist and more about asking the right questions.

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