Over the past few years, the concept of ‘big data’ has blown the minds of multinational executives, and independent SME owners alike. The HR sphere in particular has been particularly shaken, with the emergence of data driven software unlocking access to invaluable analytics that are used to supercharge in-house workforce management strategies.
As the concept gains momentum, opportunities for SMEs are becoming more accessible, and affordable. So why should your HR efforts be driven by analytics, and how can you implement a strategy?
How HR analytics can work for you
First up, let’s take a look at the core benefits of introducing workforce management metrics to your business. Ultimately, analytics solutions help executives, managers and other key persons gain deep insight into how workforces operate. Results can be used to boost performance, fuel evidence-based decisions and ultimately, improve overall business outcomes.
From a tangible perspective, benefits come in the form of saving time and money, as well as heightening productivity, efficiency and profit margins. However, the use of human capital analytics also taps into a host of HR analytics perks.
These ‘softer’ benefits include things like streamlining organisational alignment, building stronger teams and creating a healthy workplace culture. While they may fly under-the-radar, benefits in the latter category are hugely powerful.
Using shared understandings to make smarter decisions
By consolidating HR data in one place, businesses can share an understanding of key statistics, in a common format. This unified view supports organisational alignment, and helps to streamline the executive decision making process. For example, performance metrics can be used to make decisions like what employee gets a promotion, or who’s eligible for a pay rise. Ultimately, HR analytics empower businesses with the insight to move forward, as fast and efficiently as possible.
Distinguish between opinion, and facts…
One of the biggest HR hurdles businesses encounter is how to distinguish between opinions, and facts. With workforce management analytics onside, businesses can pinpoint what ideas have legs, and what’s simply built on bias, intuition and other intangible props.
The end result is decisions that are targeted, on-point and backed with cold, hard HR data. For example, one manager may be pushing to hire 10 Christmas casuals, while another may double this number to 20. Using last year’s data, HR analytics can be used to isolate the optimal number, and ensure that the business doesn’t over or under hire.
Offering insight to managers
Within any organisation, lack of feedback and reporting is a common mishap that tends to put the ownership and accountability of managers at risk. With HR analytics, leaders can be issued with tangible data that offers insight into the performance of both individual employees, and teams as a whole.
From here, managers can design bespoke solutions that meet business objectives. For example, if a team isn’t meeting its targets, analytics can be used to pinpoint the weakest links. Managers can then work closely with certain staff members to improve performance, both for the individual, and the team as a whole.
Avoiding HR ‘Analysis Paralysis’
“Even those [HR organizations] that have recognized the value of analytics are moving down that path slowly, if at all, and they are just as likely to try and fail at their analytics efforts as they are to try and succeed,” comments Evan Sinar, chief scientist and director of the Center for Analytics and Behavioral Research at Development Dimensions International Inc.
Sinar maintains that HR departments simply aren’t ready for the ‘big data’ revolution, and while we’d argue that he’s not entirely right, he does make a point. While it’s not hard to track metrics, a lot of businesses are stumped when it comes to actually using workforce management reporting data.
So how can you avoid drowning in your own data?
Primarily, you should actively collect data that can actually be sued. Hone in on your company’s key corporate objectives, and gather data that offers you specific insight into how your workforce honours these preferred beliefs, behaviours, attitudes and performance KPIs.
A constant influx of HR data can be overwhelming for managers. Keep things simple and manageable by providing team leaders with information that’s specific to their niche. Rather than swamp managers with data, try to spotlight particular areas that individuals actually have the capacity to change.
It’s one thing to analyse data, but using it to facilitate meaningful change is a whole other ball game. Help managers put their insight to use by developing in-house action planning strategies.
While in practice human capital analytics can be complex and multifaceted, the payoff that come with mastering this corporate art are enormous.
Learn more about optimising your workforce with Ento’s workforce management software today.