HR was once considered a ‘fluffy’ profession that stayed far away from data and figures. However, the modern, forward-thinking HR professional is taking advantage of the latest technologies in order to accurately measure the makeup of their organisations, and to transform HR from a cost centre into a profit centre.
Where the mere mention of the word ‘analytics’ might make some run for the hills, most HR professionals should embrace analytics and incorporate it into their day-to-day role.
What is People Analytics?
People analytics — or HR analytics — is the process of recording data about an organisation’s workforce, and the subsequent analysis of that data which informs future decision making and planning. This analysis is also used to predict outcomes before they happen; helping businesses to change direction before anything untoward happens.
This entire HR process is rooted in mathematics and science; utilising data to discover and predict patterns. This means that the modern HR professional can make smarter decisions, provide better recommendations, accurately track issues, and effectively engage their company’s workforce to make their workplace experience better.
In the modern marketplace, people and data are driving the creation of value, which is what HR analytics is all about. To stay ahead in today’s uber-competitive economy, organisations need to take advantage of the insights that HR analytics can provide to enhance talent management and engagement, in order to protect an organisation’s most valuable asset: human capital.
Example questions you should be able to ask of your data include:
- What is the employee turnover rate?
- What is the gender ratio?
- How many employees come from ethnic minority backgrounds?
Your HR software platform should be able to give you the answers to questions such as these. However, it’s what you do with this information that counts.
HR departments have a knack for collecting a lot of data but not doing anything with it. This data can sit in disparate locations and not be used for any meaningful purpose. Yet when organisations do start to use this data to solve their issues, that is when people analytics becomes truly valuable and transformative.
To be a data-driven HR professional means that you need to marry the results that HR analytics provide with the overall objectives of your organisation. Yet this may mean that you and your colleagues will need to upskill and receive in-depth training on how to use the latest technologies, such as data-enriched HR platforms. By doing this, you will be demonstrating to your employer that the HR function is a strategic organisational partner, rather than an operational cost centre. This is fast becoming an expectation rather than an option.
What key features should my people analytics platform provide?
Your platform should enable you to clearly communicate your organisation’s objectives, allowing users to see clear progress towards company goals, which keeps the workforce focused and fully informed with real-time data.
Features you should look out for include:
- The ability to publish information to ensure that users will only see the information that’s important to them in an easily-digestible format
- A full business intelligence solution providing HR professionals, people managers, and business leaders with the ability to bring about positive change and to help make informed decisions
- The ability to enable decision-makers to understand data, spot patterns between numbers, and identify trends, as well as the reasons behind them
- Enable you to deliver critical information when needed most and where users can act on it
- Configurable dashboards to allow you to choose which reports you wish to see at any given time
- A large number of standard reports in order to give you a proper and full insight into your organisation
- The ability to create your own custom reports
- Data-driven reports to help predict future trends and produce actionable insights
- Integration with a user’s permission set to ensure they don’t see information relating to employees they don’t have access to
- Various chart types which can be used when displaying a lot of information in an easy-to-understand format
- The ability to export report results to Excel, PDF, or CSV format
- Enable you to schedule reports to run automatically on a regular basis and the output sent to an individual or group of users via email
As you can see, the amount of features you should be looking out for are substantial, but are necessary to ensure you can access full and actionable insights in order to achieve success with your people and your organisation as a whole.
Most HR professionals should be fairly familiar with standard HR metrics such as turnover and absenteeism. Yet people analytics moves beyond this limited outlook to involve big data and statistical analysis in order to enact real change.
But the first and most important step is to make sure that you have the best HR analytics tool at your disposal. Take the above list of features and compare it to what you already have. If you don’t have an HR software platform already, then give this list to your prospective supplier and ask them if they can offer these features. If they can’t, then walk away and find a platform that will give you the data you need to enact transformational change in your organisation.