Organisations are unlikely to perform well over the long term unless decisions taken at executive management and board level are informed by an in-depth understanding of the value of their people, as well as the potential risks associated with their workforce.

Workforce data – how it is collected, analysed and reported on to the most senior level of the business – is a critical part of this. Given a rise in external reporting requirements around people matters, it is more important than ever to understand how organisations value and use people data to influence investment decisions and identify areas for improvement.

But how do we know what people data is most important? And how can this be reported in the most impactful way to shape business outcomes?

This short research report, designed to spark debate on this important topic, draws on survey data and conversations with business and HR leaders to explore how they use people data and reporting, the importance they place on this and how workforce reporting could be improved.

While these findings are based on UK data, the broader trends and implications should be of interest wherever you are based.

Report findings

  • The importance of non-financial metrics to businesses has increased in recent years and looks set to grow further in future.
  • Recruitment, retention and pay are current priority people issues for business leaders, potentially crowding out other areas due to the external climate.
  • Employee engagement surveys are the most common way of gathering employee voice, with other mechanisms like advisory boards less commonly used.
  • People issues are most commonly discussed at the main board level, although only 12% of boards discuss people matters at every meeting.
  • A significant gap exists between data that is collected and data that is reviewed, leading to concern from HR leaders that too much information is collected without a clear aim or outcome, and that it is not being used for business decision-making.
  • Leaders’ dissatisfaction with the people data they receive is linked to lack of context and data being too narrow, meaning they’re not receiving a holistic picture of the impact the people information is having on business outcomes.

Effective workforce reporting: Improving people data for business leaders

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