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HR metrics can be sexy, but it all depends on how you’re being seduced into using them. A recent article in the Analytics world jarred me to attention. It asked, “Are you being seduced by powerful analytics applied to a narrow question?”

Hmmm… why yes, I believe almost all HR organizations who use big data/analytics solutions, are being seduced too narrowly. And it’s not the fault of the solution provider – in fact, they’re likely doing a great job at delivering exactly what you’re asking for. But they can’t determine if the right questions are being asked and if the right metrics are being tracked.

That’s up to you – the HR people who sit among the business. Who know the important company goals and the triggers that drive the company’s success forward. Big analytics solutions can’t deliver that for you.

This is where most companies go wrong when they hire a “solution.” There’s no human interpretation of what is needed and what makes sense for your specific and unique organization. Instead of understanding what you need to know to make better informed people-related decisions, you’re simply looking at the data… or worse, hoping the data will tell you what to do.

For example, a client of ours that happens to be a very large Fortune 500 organization, has a big data software solution in place for HR metrics. And they look at the data each month, they share it across the various HR organizations, but there is almost nothing actionable in the data they receive. They have the typical tracking information – turnover rates, cost per hire, time to fill, engagement, and so on. But none of those “typical” metrics are related to the initiatives of the organization. So instead of using the data to implement change, or introduce solutions, or “HR” effectively, they are left looking at numbers that aren’t able to inform their behaviors.

Their data is focused too narrowly. And not specifically.

The Good News

Perhaps the best news, is that because big data solutions need human touch and guidance, you can easily implement the same principles and apply them to your own HR metrics program. In other words, if you use an expensive big data platform and still focus too narrowly, it’s just as useless as having no metrics at all. Instead, you have the ability to go deep and create the HR metrics that are critical for your organization, first. Without a huge big data solution investment if that’s not on the table at this time.

In fact, this hands on, inside HR metrics solution approach is, and will continue to be, the very backbone of the future of HR. Businesses without the budget for big data solutions, will lead the way for accurate HR metrics creation and delivery.

So stop being seduced by big data solutions – and thinking they’re the only way you’ll be able to attend the prom. The core of effective people solutions is YOU – think deeper in your metrics, and you’ll have more usable data than if you focused on the typical narrow path.