Human resources departments have the potential to be the largest data-driven branch of a business. Data is already used in several ways from determining pay to understanding employee turnover trends. Many HR departments seem to be on the cutting edge relative to the other divisions in terms of generating powerful data. However, most Chief HR Officers have much to gain by using their teams to explore new forms of data analysis and develop ways to leverage both quantitative and qualitative data.
There are many kinds of quantitative data that can support HR’s goals. You can track performance and determine whom to promote or to terminate based on the quantity of results being generated. With regards to performance, the HR department can measure how added vacation or sick leave impacts productivity through experimentation. When recruiting, the HR department can aggregate data that shows how quickly someone moves up the hierarchy relative to degree, experience, or volume of work.
Qualitative data relates to information that can’t be measured easily. For HR departments, this data usually relates to human interaction and company morale. Human behavior and work ethic can be qualitatively measured in certain ways. One of the common examples of qualitative data gathering is the assessment of whether to use an open floor office versus a traditional one.
In such an example, you can gather data by implementing and comparing the two layouts and evaluating which increases office productivity. Qualitative data can provide a needed balance to quantitative data. A recent hire may appear to perform well based on raw output. However, the qualitative assessments by managers or peers may show signs of problematic relationships with colleagues or an inability to manage products to your standards. As such, qualitative data can color the hard numbers to identify and support well-rounded employees and maximize the company’s ROI with those hires.
Qualitative data can provide a needed balance to quantitative data.
Leveraging both quantitative and qualitative data can be tricky for many HR departments. But doing so successfully can be beneficial for HR functions, helping to improve management and productivity for the department while ensuring a strong HR team.