By definition, the HR department is all about supporting people within your organization. But running a human resources department, especially right now, is far from straightforward.
Enter the realm of People Analytics, the specialization that gathers and applies data-driven insights to improve hiring decisions, enhance employees working lives, and implement better processes for managing the workforce, which eventually links the strategy of the people with the strategy of the business. An analytics practitioner and leader knows how to leverage technology tools that remove a lot of guesswork from managing people intelligently and can provide a unique view for a firm’s ability to meet KPIs that are people-related.
HR analytics can show leaders what investments are needed for new hires to become onboarded and fully effective. Data can also provide insights on why the company has a high turnover rate. It can also shine light on whether training and development programs are effective, or reveal which factors affect a one-year, two-year, etc., decision to leave. Knowing how to leverage such objective data can save your company energy, time, and money.
It is not just about reporting facts or numbers. People Analytics offers insights about what data represents, and how to leverage that data to improve employee experiences. From adapting training and education programs to align with employees skills and strengths, to providing insights on the company’s overall pain points, people analytics can help to build highly personalized employee experiences. That is why, in this new age, many organizations are adopting people analytics as a business imperative, to focus on providing business value, finding patterns on the scalable dimensions of workforce talent, and connecting them back to the business and human resources strategies. With all of the changes happening in the workforce today, a renewed focus is being put on analytics to help organizations maintain a robust talent practices and pipeline.
Analytics also helps to improve how organizations identify, attract, retain, and develop talent. Decisions are made that move away from gut feelings to be much more data-driven, which allows leaders to unleash the power of their people. The result is a culture that is informed by data, one that helps to drastically minimize biases, ultimately improving results.
People-centric leadership takes the insights of the people and uses them not just to improve organizational strengths and performance, but also the experience of employees overall. Organizations recognize that people are their most critical resource. This is particularly the case because many more people are now looking for new positions, more flexibility, and new ways to do things that were not traditionally available.
However, it is necessary to understand the issue and think through the potential solutions thoroughly before diving in with data. Don’t fall into the trap of using data to support your gut feeling. Instead, use data to tell you the story-you’ll be amazed at some insights you may have never considered.
This design of experiments can help identify a directional data set needed to help answer key questions throughout an employees lifecycle, from retention, to trends and practices of workforces including compensation, compensation equity, inclusiveness, diversity, team dynamics, productivity, and more. In addition, analytics can assess a variety of scenarios, including talent acquisition efficacy, measuring quality of hires and tracking whether they are hired via promotions or internal mobility.
These insights can shine light on whether employees are moving around the organization into different roles, and how leaders are aligning employees talents and skills to the needs of the business. In terms of technology, companies that are using outdated systems can fall behind. Organizations using HR-designed tech solutions and automation can dramatically help to improve processes across everything from hiring, to pre-screening processes, and more.
To be successful, you need a data team capable of converting themes in the data into insights, which link with trends and behaviors in an organization, in order to guide actions. Next, understanding your companies top business priorities. Finally, take the time to understand your teams and executives — determine areas where having more data can be helpful in making decisions. This is where People Analytics shows true value, and it will help you shine in your role.
I am also convinced that the next wave of top HR leaders and CPOs will emerge from the field of human analytics. Organizations are changing rapidly, and emerging technologies are creating new structures of authority, as well as changing needs. People analytics, and traditional “HR” departments, must evolve along with the people they serve in order to move the field forward.
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I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive.
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