HR Reporting – And Why HR Doesn’t Care

I had somewhat of a revelation the other day, for quite some time I’ve wondered why the lack of interest in HR reporting from the wider HR team. This isn’t specific to a client or workplace, it’s been quite a universal experience. One example of this was informing my direct manager than a significant percentage of the organisations leave liability came from leave in excess of our yearly allowance. Simply put people were holding onto their annual leave, rather than taking it, this amounted to millions of dollars that we hadn’t budgeted for. I was pretty startled that this manager was really interested. In the end, word of my findings reached upper management and the executive asked for a report on it.

So, why is this the case? Why are HR practitioners not interested in HR reports? My realisation is that we’re not talking the same language, HR is still very much a one to one business. HR practitioners deal with one employee at a time, many HR practitioners simply aren’t interested in averages across a business, or trends, etc – unless it supports their own Key Performance Indicators (and then they’re interested in it maybe once a month). Because they work on individual cases, poor performers are individuals, high performers are individuals, groups, or divisions or people don’t register for the most part. While for the most part, the reporting that we do in HR is a whole of the organisation, or at the division level. From a reporting perspective, I don’t care what ‘Jane’ did, I care about what thousands of employees did.

This is the disconnect, HR reporting is about hundreds or thousands of employees, HR primarily is focused on individual employees. Outside of predictive analysis which can operate at a granular per employee level, I’m not quite sure how change my practice within HR reporting to engage the rest of HR. And potentially there isn’t a need to, it might simply be a case of actively promoting predictive analytics, and relegating HR reporting to simply being a support metric for predictive analytics.

I’d love to hear your perspective on this? As an HR practitioner are you interested in HR reporting? Or as a person involved in HR reporting, do you also see this disconnect within the HR function?

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