• 79% of UK HR leaders believe all people decisions should be based on data and analytics
  • …but only 34% use data and analytics to make people decisions
  • 92% of all respondents struggle to gain strategic insight from people data
  • 21% of UK mid-sized organisations now employ a Chief People Officer to put people data at the heart of their business

79% of UK HR leaders in mid-sized organisations say all people decisions in their business should be based on data and analytics, yet only 34% do so. This is the key finding from a new report ‘The use of People Science in fast growth companies’ released today by global cloud HR and People software provider, Fairsail, now part of Sage.

Data has revolutionised how companies understand and manage their customers, but their most important asset – people – has been left behind; many organisations admit to difficulties in providing even basic HR people data to the CEO within a day. Less than half (45%) could identify top or bottom performers and only 40% could show the overall churn rate.

The UK mid-sized firms we surveyed have fast growth ambitions – 21% of the HR leaders we polled say they consider their company as a gazelle (companies which are growing at more than 20% per year). They face significant pressure in retaining and attracting staff. For one in five companies, headcount is growing at over 20% to meet ambitious targets. However, only 35% have high confidence that they have the best people in the right places to drive growth.

In fact, a staggering 92% of global respondents have issues in gaining strategic insight from people data. Forty percent of UK HR leaders said this is because data is located in too many systems, 30% find cultural resistance to sharing data and 28% don’t have the appropriate technology to analyse the necessary people data.

The research showed that there are, however, some organisations who clearly recognise the power of people data: 21% have appointed a Chief People Officer to put people data at the heart of their business and 65% believe that HR teams will include People Scientists within the next five years.

Adam Hale, CEO of Fairsail, explains: “There are big challenges for UK mid-sized businesses to sustain growth and be more productive with a growing gap between HR leaders who get the urgent need for data and those who don’t. I’m not talking about simplistic HR metrics and KPIs, although clearly many firms do struggle with these; I’m talking about the power of People Science. This means being able to know why one of the firm’s top performers has quit, or what experiences new hires need in order to get up to speed quickly. It means the ability to hire and develop the right people today while building the skills needed for tomorrow.

“By hiring a Chief People Officer and taking a data-focused approach, mid-sized organisations throughout the UK can better understand the needs and perspectives of each employee, allowing them to know their people as well as they know their customers.”

The research also suggests that some of the biggest pain points associated with growth are HR related, including difficulties finding/recruiting the right skills (88%), managing performance/driving productivity (74%) and the inability to create great employee experiences (71%).

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