ATLANTA, Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- SHL, the global leader in talent measurement, has found that 77% of HR professionals worldwide do not know how its workforce potential is affecting the company's bottom line and less than half of organizations surveyed use objective talent data to drive business decisions. The study of nearly 600 HR professionals worldwide, suggests that HR is overwhelmed by the volume of employee data and struggle to elicit meaningful insight that will help drive businesses forward and deliver results. These findings are revealed in SHL's annual Global Assessment Trends Report 2013.
With organizations focused on restructuring, cost-cutting and growing the top line in tough markets, HR's 2013 priorities reflect the organization's need to engage their talent (55% of those surveyed) and cultivate strong leaders (52%) to drive change. The report reveals the other priorities of HR professionals are performance management (49%), workforce planning/talent analytics (43%) and training (42%). HR priorities reflect the contention between balancing short-term employee productivity and performance with longer-term strategy of aligning talent to the needs and vision of the business.
"Our research shows that even though organizations measure employee performance, they have historically focused on efficiency data, like how well an employee is performing versus data that allows them to make a strategic talent decision," said Ken Lahti, vice president, Product Development and Innovation, SHL. "This means key information on talent potential and future capability is overlooked, effectively making targeted programs that identify the next generation of leaders and nurture talent for critical roles ineffective. This increases succession risk for organizations, putting business performance and continuity in jeopardy."
The Challenge of Big Data
The report also revealed that HR professionals are facing a "big data deluge" with confusion over how to manage talent data to impact company performance. As of 2012, around 2.5 exabytes of data are created each day, which is set to double every 40 months. Two major challenges for HR to overcome are data quality and accessibility, and respondents indicated that there is room for improvement in these areas.
Despite workforce planning and talent analytics being referenced among the top five priorities, less than half of respondents (44%) said their organizations use objective data on employees' competencies and skills to make workforce decisions and only 18% of HR professionals are currently satisfied with the way their organization manages talent data. However, according to the upcoming report from CEB, SHL's parent company, organizations that are effective at using talent analytics can boost employee bench strength, performance, and retention by up to 19%.
Social media is one source of data which is adding to the deluge and distracting HR from the metrics that matter; despite 88% of employers claiming a lack of confidence in the quality of candidate data from social media sites, 20% use that information to make hiring decisions, and 30% believe the data is useful in determining candidate fit.
"HR is still grappling with its ability to provide strategic data to the business on its workforce and is ill-equipped right now to take advantage of big data. They do not yet have the systems and tools required to identify people intelligence, create metrics, and link HR data sources together," said Lahti. "The ability to analyze greater volumes of complex workforce data and translate in to meaningful talent metrics offers HR the opportunity to identify skill shortages and development opportunities, while also answering the most pressing talent questions, such as whether the company has the talent to execute on its business plan and grow at the desired rate."
The Global Assessment Trends Report survey was completed by 592 HR professionals from companies headquartered throughout the world including the UK, US, China, Australia, and South Africa covering ten industry sectors across small, medium and large enterprises. The report focuses on key trends within the HR landscape in 2013 as well as insights into talent assessment practices.
To see more findings of SHL's Global Assessment Trends Report 2013 or and download your free copy, visit: http://www.shl.com/us/forms/content/gatr
SHL is the leader in talent measurement solutions, driving better business results for clients through superior people intelligence and decisions - from hiring and recruiting, to employee development and succession planning. With a presence in over 50 countries, SHL delivers more than 35 million assessments annually in over 30 languages - allowing over 10,000 business customers to benefit from both global expertise and local insight. Along with its world-class consulting practices and 24-hour support center, SHL clients can access over 1,000 assessments through an easy-to-use technology platform. SHL was acquired in 2012 by CEB, the leading member-based advisory company. By combining the best practices of thousands of member companies with advanced research methodologies and human capital analytics, CEB equips senior leaders and their teams with insight and actionable solutions to transform operations. Headquartered in London, UK, SHL has offices in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. For more information, visit www.shl.com.
 41% of respondents were unsure and 36% did not have a clear understanding of their workforce's potential and how it impacts the bottom line
 Harvard Business Review http://hbr.org/2012/10/big-data-the-management-revolution/ar/1