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Why Janet wants more from her HR analyst job

Janet is frustrated with her HR analytics job. It’s not that she doesn’t find her job interesting: as HR business partner, she is responsible for creating HR reports for line managers and executives, she covers a wide range of topics, works with interesting people and enjoys delving into the detail where necessary. But it is getting tedious, month by month, manually collecting all the information from different systems, Excel sheets and requesting information from different departments.

After she has massaged the data and crafted the reports, she sends the reports to her distribution list and wonders if, this month, she will get any feedback. She rarely does. If anybody says anything, they usually question the accuracy of the data because it doesn’t tally with another report somebody else has created. But most of the time, she feels that nobody is even looking at the reports.

You may be thinking, “Maybe she is not hitting the spot with the right kind of analysis?”

It’s true that one-size-fits-all reports generally give an overview but don’t answer the questions an individual line manager has about his or her area. An executive needs real insight into the issues. Like many HR professionals, Janet has the demand but is physically unable to provide the capacity to create individual reports for each line manager and executive.

She wishes that she could meet their expectations. Janet is in tune with the demanding business needs for quality information to help the lines of business be more competitive. She is in a position where her hands are tied: her home-grown analytics tools have reached their limits and her manager refuses to embark on yet another endless software implementation project. 

HR professionals need tools

Janet needs fast, affordable HR analytics tools to support her organization’s decision-makers and help drive the business as a whole. So do many other forward-thinking HR professionals.

According to “The High-Impact HR Organization: Top 10 Best Practices on the Road to Excellence”,  Bersin & Associates, January 2001, “The next evolutionary step is for the HR function to go beyond just supporting business goals, to actually influence business decisions. Today’s knowledge-based organizations require not only skilled employees, but engaged and motivated employees, as well. The ability for the workforce to innovate and, more importantly, execute on that innovation has become vital to success in today’s rapidly changing business environment. The role of HR has elevated – not because we said it should, but because its data and insights are now considered business intelligence. Today, the focus is on developing an HR environment that is capable of meeting this challenge.”

If her company were to implement the new SAP Executive HR Reporting rapid-deployment solution, it would give Janet renewed job satisfaction and also provide the line managers and executives who receive her reports with far more relevant information. From her initial analysis, they can then take it a step further and zero in on the data that interests them.

HR analytics that spotlight key metrics

The SAP Executive HR Reporting rapid-deployment solution provides an HCM reporting cockpit containing predefined dashboards that provide exciting visualizations for more than 40 key HCM metrics. Armed with important facts, executives and HR business partners can quickly get a complete overview of their HR factors in the organization and can understand the broader picture in order to manage more effectively.

With HR analytic tools, HR and the line-of-business executives can collaborate in a cycle of planning, monitoring, and implementing reactive measures. HR is actively helping the line-of-business improve and automate the workforce planning process.

The solution enables HR business partners to set targets to optimize planning and get clear results. Executives can visualize key metrics to comprehend organizational performance, faster, drill down to root causes when an issue arises, keep track of the situation with variance analysis, and collaborate toward a proactive solution.

A solution like SAP Executive HR Reporting rapid-deployment solution gives the HR department better credibility with high-performance reporting. At last HR data can be quantified and delivered in a timely manner to support the immediate needs of executives when analyzing organizational performance. Decisions can be made using accurate and current HR data, rather than on the basis of vague assumptions. And the data comes from a single source, the SAP ERP HCM (Human Capital Management) system, so the HR professional can skip the requirement to massage the data and no longer has to hope that there are no competing figures floating around the organization to confuse people.

The effects of this kind of business-driven analytics are tangible. According to SAP HCM Benchmarking 2012, based on data from over 600 SAP customers and non customers, companies using HR analytics to help identify processes with operational inefficiencies have on average 10% lower HR costs per employee.

Fixed scope, fixed price implementation

On top of the business rationale for investing in this solution, the fact that it is an SAP rapid-deployment solution should make it easier for Janet to convince her boss that this is a low risk implementation with maximum predictability. The software comes in a package together with predefined content such as best practices and accelerators for deployment, services, either from SAP or from a partner, and enablement, to speed up end-user adoption. The fixed price, fixed scope solution can be up and running in 8 weeks or less. What more can her boss ask for?

Analyzing HR in 3 Steps

Now to convince her HR colleagues, line and executive managers: The HR reporting process in SAP Executive HR Reporting rapid-deployment solution is founded on leading practices in HR. The core reporting activity is based on a process that incorporates three critical steps:

  • Preparing and planning Executive HR Reporting
  • Measuring the pulse of the HR organization
  • Reacting  effectively based on current facts and metrics

Preparing the cockpit is a simple affair. SAP delivers pre-defined dashboards and metrics that serve as a template to facilitate elegant, insightful reporting.

The dashboards provide best-in-class visualizations and cover four main areas: Workforce, Workforce Cost, Talent Management and Recruitment. You can customize the dashboards, choose from a list of over 40 key performance indicators and incorporate existing HR reports and metrics that you may be using. It is worth investing a little extra time in importing benchmarks and setting up thresholds. You’ll get extra transparency and that can help you to drive the HR organization in the direction you want to go.

Here is an example of the Executive Dashboard with an overview of key performance indicators, top center. The lower pane shows detail on the metric selected above. The left hand panel shows the definitions of the metrics and contains company-specific links and the right-hand panel is for comments and collaboration between the executive, the HR business partner and the line manager. It is clean, organized, and contains relevant data for accelerated decision-making and further analysis.

Once you have customized your metrics and dashboards, you are ready to start measuring the pulse of your organization.

The metrics can be processed and analyzed by a variety of dimensions. This can include variance, year, cost center, organization unit and so on.

When the HR business partner has prepared an initial view as the basis for a regular report or because she has spotted a specific situation, she can draw the line manager or executive’s attention to certain aspects by using the comment pane. The recipient is then free to explore the data by navigating along the dimensions.

Imagine the executives visualizing metrics by organizational structure or cost center, comparing results over time, focusing on variances from thresholds and benchmarks—all at once by simply switching between dashboards. This breadth and depth of data, covering all the aspects of HR and the entire organization mean that, at last, the executive can see complex correlations between metrics.

Here is an example of a dashboard within the SAP Executive HR Reporting rapid-deployment solution focusing on specific aspects of headcount.

At any time, the executive can comment on a particular KPI and forward that view on the data to a colleague for further analysis or for an explanation. Let’s say that the two have zeroed in on the root cause of a problematic variance, and the executive wants to ensure that there is a follow-up. The comment pane enables him to trigger an action item and secure conversation history. To go one step further and cascade and track action items, the company can additionally leverage the powerful collaboration environment provided by SAP StreamWork (not pictured here).

This screenshot shows an example of the collaboration in a pane to the right.

This collaborative development in HR tools represents major progress for HR business partners like Janet who wants to do more for her organization as an HR business partner. With SAP Executive HR Reporting rapid-deployment solution, she can focus on helping line managers and executives find the causes of workplace performance or human resource planning issues rather than spend frustrating hours collecting and massaging data and creating reports, an activity that most HR professionals dislike.

In an exclusive interview with SAP, Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) Technology Special Expertise Panel Co-Chair, Paul Belliveau, who also works for SAP Partner, Infosys, said, “The old reports from 5 years ago did not tell the complete story. Analytic tools started to come to the market—like tools developed by SAP and Success Factors. These solutions were not meant to replace the HR professional. They were intended to help paint the picture and tell the business story faster and more accurately than most HR home-grown reports. The solutions helped free-up time and allow HR to do what HR does best: explain the organization’s evidence-based data in the context of the business.”

He said, “Rather than assemble reports, which can be automated, HR analytics allow the organization to better use its HR staff to work with the leadership, put the metrics in perspective, quickly identify problem areas, optimize the workforce, and initiate programs to keep the workforce aligned with the organizational goals.”

Armed with all this, Janet decides it’s time to approach management with this great idea…

Check out this video to learn more: 

For more blogs about SAP HCM rapid-deployment solutions, see below:

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