The Power of Information: Robust Reporting for HR Departments

Human Resources is no longer simply the department that hires and fires people. Thanks to technology and advancements in data analysis and interpretation, your position in HR is more crucial than ever before. Discover why your team is so important to the rest of the organization, and find out how your department can be an indispensable resource for information and strategic direction.

The Evolution of Human Resources

Prior to 1985, computers were not widely available, and human resources departments were purely operational elements of a business. These departments had the responsibility to hire or fire people, as well as complete payroll.

All that changed during the mid 1980s, when computer systems arrived in human resources departments. Many of the basic processes were now automated. HR personnel began to have access to interesting reports and meaningful data about the business, the employees, and how hires affected the company as a whole. During the 1990s, HR departments morphed into crucial sources of employee data that could inform vital decisions.

The 2000s ushered in an era of personnel development. Human Resources became vital to ensuring employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. From 2008 to the present, HR has served as a linchpin of an organization's success— a guiding force for strategic leadership in relation to the workforce.

Traditional Reporting Vs. Modern Solutions

In the past, the classic HR report simply output exactly what was put into the HRIS system. HR staff could search, query, and filter, spitting out useful list-based reports, usually presented in rows and columns. While this type of reporting remains helpful, there's a new mode of reporting that has gained traction during the past decade. Instead of being merely factual, today's HR reports are more insightful.

Let's say that Donna works in HR. In past decades, she may have merely been required to report on who left the company during the last quarter. Now, with modern reporting solutions, she can add to her report and inform the company about specific trends in employee loss or retention. She doesn't just tell the organization's leaders who left— she can also point out why.

This is the area where HR becomes so valuable to a business. The HR staff have their fingers on the pulse of the company, and they are uniquely placed to provide specific information about why employees come and go. Do they come because of the benefits, the company mission, or the comfortable work environment? Do they leave because of conflict with a manager, better pay elsewhere, or a disconnect with the organization's goals? When these questions get concrete answers from HR, a company can really begin to measure and analyze how certain actions reduce or add value.

The Power of Robust Reporting

Robust reporting takes HR's potential one step further. As today's workforce evolves, the marketplace for talent becomes even more competitive. Organizations need to recruit high potential employees, as well as grow and develop their existing employees.  Thanks to robust reporting, organizations can meet the complex challenges of the workplace.

What makes reporting more powerful? When you use creation tools that are full of features and capabilities right out of the box, you become instantly more effective as an HR department. You need tools that are flexible and easy to use, with the ability to schedule delivery of reports and export capabilities into a variety of formats. You also need an intuitive engine that knows to cross reference with security and data permissions, an engine that can yield insight into your organization's strategic initiatives. In other words, you're looking for more than just a report— you need meaningful analysis.

Common HR Challenges

HR departments that are trying to become more relevant and vital to their organization typically run into a few challenges. Sometimes, the data is just too overwhelming, packed into virtual "silos" that not everyone can access. Sometimes the data may simply be old, out of date, and no longer relevant. Maybe the current HR systems simply aren't collecting enough data; they have sufficient information to do payroll, and that's about it. The department's tools are old and may not have the ability to produce helpful reports.

If you find yourself encountering some of these challenges, take a step back and look at what you already have. Gather your staff and talk about what reports, data, and insights would be helpful for your organization that you don’t currently produce. What should you be able to provide for your organization? What tools do you need to make that happen?

Using Your Current System

If you’ve invested in an HRIS system sometime in the past 3-5 years, there is a very good chance that your system already offers advanced reporting. Are you using your system to its fullest capabilities? Maybe additional training help bridge some gaps, or you could start using an add-on accessory to boost your current tools. Do you have a capable system but not the data needed to produce such reports? Start gathering the data right away. It will take some time, but you need that information in order to generate relevant reports.

If you can't afford a new solution and new tools, invest in making small adjustments to your existing solution so that it can meet your reporting needs. Can you export your data and put it into macros in Excel? If you're not an Excel expert, find someone who is and enlist that person to help you. Perhaps your organization has a data warehouse that your department could tap into, or maybe you could approach the company leaders about getting a data warehouse. Sometimes, you just need to update the roles of your HR staff, provide additional training, create more connection points with employees, and refresh the data collection process.

Investing in a New System

Maybe your system is much too outdated to work with, or you're encountering challenges that cannot be overcome without better tools. If you desperately need a new solution, you'll need to make a compelling case for the purchase of new software and tools.

Show the managers and executives that they need better team information. Is your company consistently losing high-potential employees? They need to know about it, and they need to understand why. Managers need to be able to quickly and easily run reports on their respective teams, gaining results that are directly related to their specific areas of responsibility. Let them know that, with the new tools, they will be able to access information, status updates, completion stats, and more in an easily understandable format, from any computer or mobile device.

Engage in discussions with industry peers to determine what level of reporting they are performing and include that information in the case you're building. Highlight the added benefits of strategic reporting, and work with software vendors to produce an ROI and value-engineering report. Armed with that concrete information, go to management and request new HR solutions. Show them how a new system can turn plain data into vital intelligence.

Your Future in Human Resources

As the Human Resources department, you and your coworkers are in a strategic position to provide in-depth insights on staffing, skills, and competencies. You can help your organization become more successful in the marketplace; but you have to have all the facts first, and you need to be able to effectively analyze those facts. When you have all employee data in one system, you can enjoy all the benefits of organization-wide reporting. Start looking for better methods, enhanced training, and improved systems that can help you provide crucial guidance and information to your company's leadership team.


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About Illumiti HCM

Illumiti HCM is part of the Illumiti Group, which serves more than 200 customers across a multitude of industry sectors and locations. From its founding in 2000 to the end of 2015, Illumiti Group has completed more than 250 successful implementations at small, midsized, and large enterprises. Whether it’s an HR transformation initiative, a merger and acquisition related project, a drive to propel a business to best-in-class performance, or a system roll-out to other business divisions or countries, Illumiti HCM does it faster, at a lower cost, and with a higher level of confidence.

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