Using data effectively within Human Resources

We collect HR data for a number of reasons. Here are two specific reasons why:

  1. To ensure the business is maintaining its obligations by law. An example of this is by recording timesheets. In doing this, we can monitor the Working Time Regulations 1998 ensuring that employees are not working over the 48 hour per week average limit. In addition, retaining employees National Insurance details allows employers to submit earnings to HMRC supporting the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.
  2. A second reason is to measure progress within the business, allowing for informed decisions and business case plans. An example of this could be achieving certain KPI’s, such as staff retention from which the business can assess strategies needed to keep within the bounds of their KPI’s.

Data types and how it supports HR Practices

Here are two examples of how data can support HR Practises:

  1. By gathering HR data, you can build an overview of your recruitment needs. Analysis of recruitment data can assist with succession planning; by looking at your staff demographic you can ensure that suitable stars are in place to grow within the business. Additionally, you can work out the cost of recruitment, such as calculating how many days spent looking for a new hire, average advertising costs and quality of candidates.
  2. A second example is data that you glean from Employee Engagement surveys – these can be used to increase and measure engagement. This data is useful to benchmark results against industry-specific data to create company comparisons.

Data storage types and their benefits

There are two distinct types of data storage, each having its own benefits:

  1. Manual relates to hard copy/paper files. The benefit is that you can refer to original signed copies in a court of law. In addition, paper copies are a great fall-back, should you experience technical issues.
  2. Computerised record keeping provides greater flexibility and ease of access, allowing information to be shared between interested parties. Electronic systems also reduce storage requirements, decreasing equipment and labour costs.

The importance of effective systems for inputting and retrieving data

Having an effective data storage solution is an important requirement within HR and provides efficiency and productivity within your organisation. It is important to note that only if data is stored in a procedural manner can it be easily retrieved.

There are a number of purposes for the inputting and retrieval of data, we explore these here:

  1. Providing quality service to customers with required information to hand – This could be for auditing purposes, reporting data breaches or for reporting to the Inland Revenue.
  2. Providing business data to aid the smooth running of the organisation, such as monitoring data inventory control.
  3. Any amount of time an employee spends searching through paperwork and manual filing systems trying to find lost or incorrectly filed records is unproductive and costly. A good information management system, includes good storage, retrieval and indexing which reduces misfiling and makes the access of information quicker and thus more cost effective for the Company. This results not only in many time and efficiency benefits but also aid wellbeing by reducing anxiety and stress brought on by date not being available to effectively manage an individuals workload.
  4. Information should be accurate and relevant, so if stored only in one place, it is easier to access for multiple users and is up to date providing ‘one version of the truth’.

Legal requirements for recording, storing and accessing HR data

The Data Protection Act 2018 and the Freedom of Information states that data subjects have the right to;

  • Know what data you hold on them, what you do with it, and how you store – ie confirming data is encrypted and password protected to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing.
  • Have access to it.
  • Request for it to be amended, restricted and erased.
  • Object to you having this data and withdraw consent of its use.
  • Request the data you hold to be provided to them in a readable format.
  • Be informed of automated decision making, such as profiling and its consequences.
  • In essence, data subjects legally have the right to know what data you hold on them, what you are doing with it and justification for storing it. Therefore, secure storage is a must to avoid data breaches and you should have an efficient facility to be able to amend, erase or extract it, upon request.