When Does Too Much HR Data Become Noise?

by Tim Sackett | Posted | Business Impact

When Does Too Much HR Data Become Noise?

I bought a new TV recently. I did a little research beforehand, of course. After looking at several options, I figured out exactly what I wanted: A High Definition Smart TV, LED, 55-60 inches, and 1080p resolution.

But, then something funny happened (I’m sure you’ve gone through this, too). I arrived at the store and, all of a sudden, began looking at the latest and greatest in TV technology. There’s Ultra High Definition! 4K and 8K TVs! PurColor Technology! Android or Firefox operating systems!

It almost made me want to give up. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a TV with an On/Off switch, controls to change the channel and adjust the volume, like the good ol’ days?”

More resolution won’t give you more clarity

So, why am I talking about shopping for TVs on an HR blog?

Looking at analytics, metrics and data in HR is very similar to looking at all of the fancy bells and whistles while shopping for TVs. There is a finite amount of HR analytics we can consume and comprehend before it just becomes more noise – the same way looking at many different specifications on a TV detracts you from really only looking at what you need.

It’s the basic law of diminishing returns: The more you dive deep into your metrics doesn’t necessarily mean you will come out with better decisions and outcomes. At a certain point, based on the analytics you have, decisions should be made with confidence. Going deeper isn’t going to influence your decision one way or the other. If you’re ever in a position where you feel inundated with information, you’ve probably reached the point where you’re looking at too much.

Use of the information you have to get what you need

In HR, we run into this issue frequently. We want our vendors to deliver more data, different data, better data, because we feel it will lead to having the ability to make the ‘right’ decision. It’s not about how much information you have. Rather, it’s about interpreting the information you do have and making the best decisions you can.

There’s no question HR data matters. But, it’s like shopping for TVs, and looking at too many specifications stops giving you the information you need and merely becomes noise. This can get in the way of the answers that you seek.

By the way, I love my new TV. It has a great picture. It looks great on the wall in my house. It has great sound. Anything more would have been wasted on me.

Comparing HR and Business Metrics

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Comparing HR and Business Metrics

Learn to develop and use the right metrics to prove HR's impact on the bottom line.


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