HR professionals have revealed they have little faith in their people data – potentially derailing much-needed plans to put employee health and wellbeing at the centre of their strategies. Almost 60 per cent of those polled by HR technology specialist Access Group are not confident in the quality of their data to inform decision-making, while a further 10 per cent cited it as their biggest challenge.

Health and wellbeing was highlighted as the top industry trend for a third of interviewees at the recent CIPD Festival of Work. But without complete and up-to-date data sets, companies are in danger of investing in initiatives that fail to deliver results.

Explaining further, Damian Oldham, at Access Group, said: “We know how costly sickness absence and presenteeism are to organisations, both in terms of lost days and lower productivity, so it is no surprise many of our respondents see health and wellbeing as a priority.

“Firms have made great strides in tackling the causes of poor mental and physical health in recent years, yet our findings suggest that progress is still being stifled by out-of-date and inaccurate data. We wouldn’t implement other business strategies without strong evidence – so why is HR not able to access the right information to ensure strong ROI?”

He went on to say that paperwork and operational inefficiencies – seen as the biggest HR challenge by a fifth of industry professionals – are only compounding the problem further:

“The fact that nearly 30 per cent spend more than 10 or more hours a week on tasks that could be automated is worrying. Too much admin diverts their expertise away from strategies that deliver real value to the company, including health and wellbeing activities.”