HR Focus 2015 #6: HR Focus on Outcomes
HR is starting to use more sophisticated methods to analyze and predict how the workforce evolves. We are in the early stages; so far the attention has been on reporting and analysis, less on predictions. The necessary requirement is a data warehouse containing historic data based on company-wide agreed data definitions. Organizations are starting to realize they own a wealth of information but they struggle to make that available in a sensible way, especially to determine which data stores hold the truth for what kind of decision making.
Combining the information that exists within organizations with publicly available data (census data etc) will become a game changer for meaningful analytics. Organizations that can rely on predictive analysis as a basis for their decision making will have a competitive advantage as a business.
It won’t be easy to make sense out of massive amounts of available data. This requires experts, and not many companies see enough of a return to make the necessary funds available. It requires time, as the reliability of data can only be established by a repetitive process over a longer period of time. Companies will discover that big data is not big enough, or interesting enough, clean enough or differentiating enough. As long as predictive analysis has not proven itself, the business case is difficult to make and it’s easy to get lost in the abundance of (operational) reports that is available.
As employees interact through more devices and applications, there’s an increased opportunity to learn about their core behaviors. Additionally, innovation around the Internet of Things and smart devices bring sources of insight. The best HR departments will be the ones that find a way to take all of the information that they have about employee behaviors and preferences and turn it into motivational actions without becoming creepy, meaning they constantly need to balance their quest for information with the privacy of their employees.
In addition to business outcomes, analytics will also allow HR professionals to more accurately follow the behaviors of the employees when interacting with HR: do employees prefer their mobile devices over their PCs, which employee groups contact HR most often, what topic drives the most questions, what are the busiest HR hours of the month? Reporting on these types of behaviors and understanding why they occur will allow HR to improve the service delivery of the HR department and thus increase the employee experience.
Delivering meaningful analytics has the benefit of positioning the HR department as innovative and driving efficiencies. As HR is increasing its strategic role in the business, this image change will become essentially vital. The key to success of initiatives such as these, as always, is to reduce the burden on employees and managers. Smart devices that collect data without employees having to do anything extra are a great way to drive improvement. Companies should take care to not go down a route that requires more and more direct input from employees.
In 2015 we will gain more experience with analytics, and as we become more familiar with the concepts, we expect to see a development towards a smaller number of really insightful, meaningful analytics that make a difference towards the top or bottom line. We see more vendors offering online analytics tools (IBM Watson, Microsoft Power BI) with a freemium or a ‘pay as you go’ model, offering companies the opportunity to play around with analytics without an upfront investment. In essence, once they start offering standard dashboards, where a business only needs to plug their data in, Data As a Service (DAAS) will become the norm.
To effectively drive an organization’s workforce, provide accurate and timely guidance on corporate strategic initiatives in support of business growth and even to justify the value of the team’s very existence, HR must have a solid handle on its knowledge capital (i.e.data). When money is tight, sales directors can show how they’ve boosted the pipeline; the procurement team can calculate how much they’ve saved by squeezing suppliers — what can HR do? Learn more about HCM Analytics by reading our position paper 'HCM Analytics: Uncovering The Real Value of Your Employees'
For part 1 of this post please visit: HR Focus 2015 #1: What will 2015 bring for HR Technology?
For part 2 of this post please visit: HR Focus 2015 #2: Hybrid Leads the Charge
For part 3 of this post please visit: HR Focus 2015 #3: Integration is Back, with a Vengeance
For part 4 of this post please visit: HR Focus 2015 #4: Cloud Fuels BPO
For part 5 of this post please visit: HR Focus 2015 #5: Corporate Security Will Be a Topic of Conversation, as Will Privacy