Challenges in HR reporting and their solutions

// Business Intelligence, HR-IT-Management

HR indicators and their visualisations support strategic decisions

Are you familiar with this? "I need the monthly sick rates in comparison the previous year for both the marketing and the sales units, structured by cost centre, this afternoon for executive management. In addition, I also need the FTE development of the last 12 months. I'm sure you can get this done by 2 PM, right?"

In such situations, all other work gets dropped, the employee loads an Excel file from the billing system with hopefully current employee data from the group drive. Then he also queries the time tracking system regarding the annual absences, filling in leading eight zeros in the staff ID number as synchronisation criterion, and compiles it into a final piece of art via a pivot in Excel. Only now it becomes obvious: the temporary workers as well as the employees on maternity leave and parent leave were included in the calculation! Oh well: let's do the whole thing over again, and yes - this summer there was a reorganisation of the departments that also needs to be taken into consideration, still …

HR indicators and their visualisations support strategic decisions

The example presented hints at this: in companies, the HR indicators gain more and more importance as a strategic instrument. As such, meaningful strategic indicators are presented to executive management in an appealing fashion. In this, indicator reports are not to be considered compliance documents but rather an organisational communication tool. Only when the recipient received an informative and coherent document can strategic measures be derived therefrom and/or objectives pursued.

The virtually daily challenge in a heterogeneous HR system landscape consists of locating the most diverse data source and bringing the data together in a way that outlines a realistic image of the company.

HR employees dedicate a not insignificant part of their working hours to the regular consolidation and harmonisation of HR data - valuable time that would be utilised better in strategic and operational topics. Aside of monthly standard indicators, categorised by different organisational criteria such as the pointing out of FTE and staffing levels, fluctuation rates, tenure, age distribution, lists of who joined or left the company, ad-hoc requests in particular are what leads to the wish for a 36 hours long day.

The topic of indicators does, in retrospect, at times become a true challenge - given that particularly in cases of changes between companies the corresponding indicators tend to change. And do not forget about the human element - after a whopping six hours of laborious copying and cross-referencing of various lists, it is a source of errors that is hard to avoid.


Solution approaches for HR reporting

What can a sustainable and efficient solution look like? After all, the answer to the not uncommon question "Could you briefly..." should be "I sure can - give me 10 minutes!".

To achieve this, it is necessary to logically bring the source data from different systems such as billing, HCM, time management, access control systems, etc. together in a single system and to be able to analyse it based on any criteria at any time. In this, it does not matter that indicators feature a reference to a period or specific day. Even a comparison of time series such as the comparison of the current year's staffing costs compared to those of the previous year must not pose a barrier. The deciding factor is that a defined indicator is always calculated immediately base on one and the same data base. This ensures, on the one hand, that comparability is a given, and on the other, that the indicators can be reproduced at any point in time. It is only in this way that they become transparent and believable.


How can such a "state" be achieved? Expert HR knowledge and methodological expertise in the area of Business Intelligence have to come together.

Independent of whether it is about indicators and/or management reports, or whether the link between classic personnel management and strategic personnel management (continuing education and/or recruiting indicators) is to be established - a selection of pre-defined indicators should automatically be available. The preparation of the indicators based on the most diverse criteria such as organisational units, functions, geographic attributes, and date limits is taken into consideration in this.

Each solution is an individual one - a structured approach provides for clarity

The target design of a mature HR reporting has to primarily reflect the view of the HR experts as well as the cross-section with the management needs of executive management. In-depth HR expertise is at the start of each planning. The thorough view at the existing data sources and their proper usability make the experience and precision of Business Intelligence experts a prerequisite. Taken together, this results in a sophisticated approach model that serves for any customer situation.

Mobile solutions increase the value for executive management

The corresponding web-based solution provides for the option to query the indicators at any time with a mobile device. Due to the integrated authorisation concept, prepared indicators can be made available to the company's executives as well. In this, the topic of data protection is very important. Such an integrated analysis and presentation platform allows the HR department to play a prominent role in the strategy-finding of the company.


noventum consulting

Mark Andrási

Senior Consultant

noventum consulting

Thorsten Schmidt


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