According to talent.com, “people analytics attempts to remove gut instinct, intuition and human biases from talent management in order to make workforce decisions in an evidence-based and data-driven way.” This is also known as workforce analytics. The definition is simple, but the application of it has been more difficult for people in the HR industry to implement - mainly because many HR professionals lack the analytic skills needed to effectively use available data to answer pressing questions coming from upper management.
Data gathering and the corresponding analysis are important in almost every facet of the talent management process. Questions like “What can we do to bring employees up to speed 20% faster?” or “What is the specific impact of turnover on revenue?” are what HR, line managers and executives need answered about the business, but the skill to locate and crunch the data may not reside in the HR organization.
In a recent webinar, I provided some helpful advice for identifying and developing analytics resources within your HR team. Building this competency will help elevate HR to the level of strategic partner within the business with the ability to drive actions that affect business outcomes.
But before an organization invests in these skills, it should ask this essential question: “what does workforce analytics mean for us?” The answer is different for every organization, but you need to assess why analytics are central to the mission of your organization and who is accountable for their success. You may also need to determine where the best opportunities are for analytics to have an impact, and whether there are structures in place to support this function. Your answers to these questions and others will guide you toward determining the level of investment to make in tools, skills and processes for analytics.
Ultimately, it’s going to require a strong partnership between HR professionals with the right analytic skills and top level managers to make sure the right data is driving better business practices.
Watch a recording of the webinar, Building HR's Competencies for Workforce Analytics.