Is your HRIS a Couch Potato?

I am sports fan.  I enjoy playing and watching all sorts or sports; cricket, Australian football (AFL), soccer – football as most of the world calls it, tennis, basketball, etc. Pretty much any sport that involves a ball, although lawn bowls might be stretching it a bit. This is part of the reason I enjoy living in Melbourne, the self-proclaimed sports capital of Australia if not the world. There is pretty much always some sporting event happening. Almost every weekend there is some major sports team you can go and support with your friends, if you are not playing some sport yourself.
Although I have been an active participant in various sports, I am at the point in my life where I am more of a couch potato than an active participant. You know, the sort of person who goes to the game to cheer on their favourite team, or sits at home and watches it on the television, asking the umpire if they need to borrow some glasses, or telling the star player who just missed the goal that your grandmother could have kicked that. In between the cheering you settle down to munch on a chocolate bar, some chips, or some other delicious snack food.
The players you are watching have spent years becoming the best they can be at their chosen sport. This has taken lots of dedication, training and for most sports (except maybe lawn bowls) a healthy diet. Top athletes will have strict controls over what they eat, how much they eat and even when they eat.
So how is this related to your Human Resources Information System (HRIS)? In order to get the best performance out of your HRIS you need to ensure you plan what it “eats” and ensure that you are feeding it good data, rather than unplanned meals of fast food or junk food.
[bctt tweet=”Your Human Resources Information System is only as good as the data you feed into it says @mrwatson71″]
Your HRIS contains a wealth of information that can be used by your organisation to help you make good business decisions based on the people you have in your organisation and their skills and abilities etc. However this is only true if you plan what information you want and need to capture and then make sure that it is recorded and reported consistently.
It’s the “garbage in – garbage out” principle, or whatever pithy quote you can come up with that means you get out what you put in. This applies to all areas of your life, however in relation to your HRIS, it is only as good as the data in it.
Why do we keep forgetting this?  Maybe it’s our inner couch potato! Over time we become lazy in how we capture the data, or it is easier not to capture some data and we have forgotten or don’t understand why it is important – we feed our HRIS junk food.
So how do you go about restoring the health of your HRIS?

  1. Know what you want – It seems an obvious point but it is surprising how often people capture information or generate reports without really knowing the reason why. This can lead to people becoming lazy or apathetic in how they capture information, or generating dashboards / reports that no one uses.
  2. Review what you have – Once you know what you want, review what you have. Make sure you are capturing the right information and that you have appropriate validation rules for the information you are capturing in order to maintain data integrity.
  3. Make any adjustments necessary – This could mean adjusting what information you capture and report or adjusting rules about how you capture the information. It may also require you to review and update old data to ensure you have the required level of data integrity.

Like my gym instructor that I tasked with turning my couch potato body into something closer to an athlete, I am sure your HRIS vendor will be more than happy to guide you through these steps in restoring the health of your HRIS.
These thoughts and the “garbage in – garbage out” principle are not anything new or ground-breaking, however they are something we need reminding of every now and again as they can significantly impact how useful your HRIS is.
It would be great to hear your feedback on my thoughts. Does it resonate with you? Have I missed something important, or missed the point completely? Leave a comment or send me a message.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse on March 23rd, 2016.

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