Treating your employees as your number one customer is a useful rule of thumb for any progressive employer to adopt. Indeed, if the full value of this human asset is to be optimised, then it needs to be managed just as carefully as any other asset in a company.
It’s a mission that has seen modern HR evolve into an increasingly strategic role, underpinned by the use of data to drive strategic decisions based on the facts available. Commonly known as HR analytics - the science of using employee data to improve personnel-related KPIs - is a powerful practice, which despite the potential that exists, remains stubbornly underused.
While KPMG's Human Resources Advisory Global Pulse Survey 2015, points to a growing recognition of the value of harnessing meaningful and predictive analytics in this sphere and contribution to business growth, some 55% of the companies questioned admitted they were still not joining the dots between people data and broader company intelligence.
For many, progress is being hampered by old-fashioned information systems, no longer fit for purpose. The upshot is a lack of integration between legacy technology and more recent business solutions which then compromise the quality of information obtained. Furthermore, disparate, siloed systems are unlikely to offer the flexibility needed to respond best to the additional queries which crop up as questions breed more questions. Instead, this demands a truly flexible environment that fosters data discovery and empowering employees to find answers to questions and answer new unexpected questions to solve their business issues.
All of which underlines the criticality of agile analytic solutions in today’s HR environment to enable data to be accessed, analysed and shared simply and quickly by the full spectrum of HR staff. HR touches all departments across an enterprise, so it makes sense that the data coming in from a myriad of sources behind HR’s key metrics must bridge all information silos if it is to be a become a truly strategic ally for the business.
Data discovery generates insights on all aspects of an organization’s performance, from employee productivity, demographic diversity and distribution of employees by geography and pay. As a result, organizations can better understand the root causes of trends, whether they are developing in the wrong direction and need to be addressed or are drivers of success which need to be replicated.
Crucially, it is the wealth of data brought together from a variety of strands which leads to the most informed decisions in a way that is only possible with the full picture. Key to this is contextual collaboration, which enables HR teams to quickly share a simple dashboard featuring diagrams and visualizations in a workflow or portal and interact in real time through comments and notes. This collective visibility bears out the old adage that two pairs of eyes are better than one, sparking wider discussion and faster decision-making and action.
The predictive powers of analytics are particularly fortuitous when it comes to retaining star talent. With top performers more easily identified, HR can be more responsive in motivating and engaging with pay rise or training incentives, before the individual is poached by a competitor. Furthermore, whereas traditionally, recruiters have had to base hiring decisions on the CV, letter, and interviews, the data analysis now at their disposal significantly ups the ante as evidenced by a large US retailer who used analytics to bring some forensic intelligence to determine the key attributes of effective sales reps to inform the recruitment process.
Modern analytics technology has turned HR into a science that no employer can afford to ignore. Departments which run on fact-based talent management create value, know exactly how much the ROI is and meet hard questions with hard answers and have a steer on who and what is creating the most value for the enterprise is clear. In an ideal world, HR analytics solutions would be accessible to those beyond the HR department to empower individual employees to take ownership of their performance management, reinforcing the message and ethos that, far from spying on employees, this technology is about getting the very best from them for their own development as well as that of the company.