How to get started in strategic workforce analytics
Three ways to improve the value of workforce analytics for your business.
Strategic workforce analytics – three ways to improve its value for the business
The history of workforce analytics – often known as HR analytics, people analytics, or talent analytics – is littered with tools and ‘best practices’ that over-promised and under-delivered. Despite the growing popularity, there is still confusion about what workforce analytics actually means and what it entails.
In the research report we developed with CRF and IBM, we dissected this issue. Below are three key takeaways from the report that will help you realize the potential value that workforce analytics has to offer your business.
Often, organizations’ starting point for analytics is: ‘What data do we have and what can we do with it?’ This approach might extract some interesting insights to share with the business, but a better approach is to start with a clear end goal.
Before diving into the data, make sure you have a clear list of the critical business issues you want to solve, then identify the key priorities where any analytics intervention is likely to have greatest payoff. These might include how to improve performance or productivity, reduce costs or build the organization’s capacity to innovate.
Analytics is only as valuable as the actions that it prompts. Establishing a correlation between two factors is not enough on its own. There needs to be a clear ‘so what?’ in terms of practical recommendations and an agreed implementation plan.
Just learning something ‘interesting’ about people and processes doesn’t justify the investment of time, energy and analytic resources that is required for such a project. Finding something actionable that can drive better business results is a far more valuable objective.
Our research highlighted some practical ways of ensuring that recommendations are followed through with actions. One of them is by getting the business buy-in.
It’s critical to engage the key stakeholders who will make or break the success of the analytics initiative. You need to present the results in a compelling way if you are to get their buy-in to drive through change.
Influence and strong relationships with the business leadership team will build momentum, bring insights to the attention of the board, provide air cover when needed, and open doors for the team to get resources and data from outside HR.
Most organizations that have been successful in deploying workforce analytics is having a CHRO who ‘gets it’. A good CHRO can act as a sponsor, playing a critical role in championing the work and making sure it is followed through to implementation.