Colleges and universities often want more data to make better business decisions, but once they get it, do they know how to best use it?
Analyzing data to uncover truths and inform decisions is a cornerstone of higher education. HR departments, however, often struggle to aggregate and analyze data efficiently and effectively enough to guide process improvements.
The University of Arkansas (U of A) has worked for years to overcome these challenges and recently began using PeopleAdmin’s Analytics solution to determine if technology can solve its data woes once and for all.
“It’s just so amazing to have the data right there at your fingertips, where you don’t have to go and spend three weeks massaging it to get it in a presentable format,” said Shannon Phillips, compensation analyst at U of A.
The university is now able to quickly access the information needed to make strategic decisions about hiring trends, diversity initiatives and other areas that ultimately impact student outcomes.
“There’s a lot of EEO and OEOC-type data,” Shannon said. “We have a whole department that does all of that reporting, so for them, it’s going to be amazing. They can pull it up and get the reports they need, which will help with compliance and reporting.”
With easy access to data, U of A has already identified veteran and disabled hiring as an area that needs more attention. “We have a 6 percent goal for our campus, and according to this data, we’re at 4 percent,” Shannon said. “That’s not something we had to spend time to figure out.”
And though U of A is a large institution, with more than 5,000 employees and nearly 30,000 students, Shannon believes smaller universities can also benefit from at-your-fingertips access to data analytics.
“Not every university has someone who can understand how to collect data and put it into a format that will be easily understood by upper leadership,” she said. “But this analytics module can produce a beautiful little report without all the legwork on the backend. Anyone can use and understand their data in Analytics.
“Being able to fit the system to your campus’ needs is so critical, and PeopleAdmin is constantly making updates to the system to give us more options and more customizability. It really does encompass higher education.”
Shannon works closely with PeopleAdmin’s development team to identify and test features that will further empower higher education HR. And she’s enjoying the experience.
“PeopleAdmin is awesome. They’re always thinking forward and trying to come up with solutions for us, and that’s something we greatly appreciate.”