HR Professionals Need Data to Move Into the Future


If you were looking up the syllabus for an HR course online and saw “people analytics” or “data analysis”, your eyes may have glazed over. You want to learn more about helping companies manage people, not about data, right? The interesting thing is that these two elements are not mutually exclusive and best practices taught in a human resources course online should include a look at how data is changing the world of HR.

What if, in that HR course online syllabus, the term was changed to “insights”? Would that make it easier to appreciate? Of course it would! And that is exactly what people analytics or HR data will deliver – greater insights. As someone who is taking human resources courses online, you’ll want to prove to your future employers that you understand and appreciate data in HR and know how it can help an organization get ahead. Data, or people analytics, is in the future for every HR department.

While HR professionals won’t be required to create data reports or determine the analysis methods of various data points, they will need to be able to understand the reports generated by a data expert in the department. Much of the data is already in the existing HR information system, but additional software might be needed to make that data accessible, understandable and most importantly actionable.

Why Data is Included in HR Courses Online

The first answer to why data matters to HR experts is that it helps save money. Not everything you’ll learn in human resource courses online comes down to dollars and cents, but when it comes to data, this is definitely a money point. Sure, looking at things like absenteeism can be valuable and that’s an obvious way to spot financial losses, but there’s so much more to learn.

Data points that are helpful include things like: job satisfaction, employee satisfaction by manager, peer satisfaction, talent turnover rates, employee happiness and more. The facts are that hiring new people is expensive, losing good people is expensive and training people to take on new roles is expensive.

Hanging on to the best employees is one of the most critical aspects of an organization’s success. Not only does it ensure the company retains top performers, it also prevents the need to fill the role left by those who might leave for greener pastures. With accurate data, it’s easy to look at the number of voluntary resignations by department and in defined time-frames. These can be compared across company to see if there are issues within certain areas of the organization.

If you’re seeing a retention issue in a particular department, you’ll be able to assess exit interview data to find out why people are leaving. This will give you the power to make changes with managers and supervisors to correct the issues. You can see which people are at most risk of leaving and make changes as needed.

Hiring With Data

If an employee leaves, those same data points can help you hire the next great candidate. This is done by looking at the data common among top performers at the same level and in similar roles to the one you’re hiring for. Where did these top performers come from? Where did they learn about the job? What is their background? What is their current working environment like?

By reviewing the elements that lead to strong employees, HR professionals are more likely to repeat that same success with new hires.

Adding Extra Value

Employees are no longer content with just a pay cheque in return for their time. Head-hunters are always looking for the best talent, as are companies that have hired other employees from your organization. They are using data to find great talent. You can use data to add to retention programs and create a happier, healthier corporate culture. Data can tell HR professionals what rewards will create greater satisfaction, loyalty and value.

Data is no longer a dirty word in HR. It’s an essential element of attracting, retaining and rewarding great employees.


Human resource management online course at Ashton College is accredited by CPHR BC & Yukon and the member associations in all provinces except Ontario & Quebec. It allows students with a Bachelor’s degree to pursue the CPHR designation without taking the National Knowledge Examination (NKE). Learn more on Ashton College website.

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