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Compare Your HR Team’s Use of Workforce Analytics

Human Resources

It’s difficult for an HR director or manager to guide the organization on talent, pay, recruitment, and larger business goals. In fact, HR is under more pressure than ever to provide data-driven insights that can be turned into actions that benefit both the HR department and the business as a whole.

At the 2017 HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas, speakers Lisa Rowan, research vice president, and Kyle Lagunas, principal analyst, from IDC covered how workforce analytics are being adopted by HR, as well as the barriers to implementation, and some guidelines to help businesses like yours improve how they gather and report on their workforce data.

Maturity of Workforce Analytics Adoption

Think about where your organization is along the continuum and what’s holding you back. According to IDC, the dimensions of maturity include:

Vision – Organizations need to set a course that forms a vision of success, including aspects such as company culture, and business impact.

Barriers to Vision: Lack of management buy-in; ad hoc combination of data from disparate sources; workforce and talent not seen as having an impact on business objectives.

Process – Map the types and sources of data you need in order to advance business objectives. Consider the scope of the data and the metrics.

Barriers to Process: Lack of access to non-HR information, such as sales and financial data; no external benchmark data to compare your progress against; a disconnect between workforce KPIs and overall business objectives.

People – Success requires the involvement of the right people with the right skills, including measurement and reporting roles, and employees with the appropriate knowledge and skills.

Barriers to People: No analytical skillset in HR; IT department is overburdened; need insight into what gets measured and how it gets measured.

Technology – This dimension is the easiest to acquire, but the most difficult to implement – from how the information is delivered to data structuring.

Barriers to Technology: Inability to manage a high volume of data; lack of visibility to available tools; using outmoded, disconnected HR systems, or in other words, a lack of an integrated HCM technology and service platform.

How Well Are Businesses Adopting Workforce Analytics?

Most businesses of all sizes are in the early stages of adoption, although small businesses tend to be less far along with their workforce analytics initiatives than large corporations.

30% – Ad Hoc
HR is reactive; success factors focused on efficiency; primary focus of analytics is for regulatory compliance.

38% – Opportunistic
Cautiously deploying select analytics; consistency is a challenge; HR primarily keeps the data to itself; primary focus is still on regulatory compliance.

20% – Repeatable
HR and IT start partnering; use a combination of pre-set and full analytics; HR begins using multiple tools; HR takes on a more consultative role with the direction of the business.

11% – Managed
Analytics begin to look forward: predictive analytics; HR can advise the business on projects great and small; HR participates in strategic planning for the company and can model and predict hiring needs.

1% – Optimized
It’s rare for an HR department to have reached the highest stage of workforce analytics adoption and use; fully deployed predictive analytics; gains wider insights, such as a full picture of contingent employees; the data becomes eminently actionable.  

Ways to Improve Your Use of Workforce Analytics

What can you do if your company is stuck in a certain place along the adoption continuum? Rowan and Lagunas suggested five ways to move from one stage to the next.

Ad Hoc to Opportunistic

1. Identify areas where you can build meaningful measurements.

2. Promote the value of evidence-based decision making throughout the organization.

3. Start the process of establishing consistent measures and definitions.

4. Create prototype reports with cost and activity measures. An integrated HCM platform that ties employee payroll information with HR processes can help.

5. Educate HR staff on the basics of workforce measurement.

Opportunistic to Repeatable

1. Proactively identify how workforce analytics can support and impact strategic business initiatives.

2. Clarify business reporting needs for strategic workforce initiatives.

3. Create prototype reports demonstrating workforce efficiency and effectiveness.

4. Build practitioner skills in best practice measurement methods and tools.

5. Identify opportunities to automate data collection of key measures. You can also look into established tools to help you accomplish full automation.

Repeatable to Managed

1. Selectively include business leaders in the governance process.

2. Engage in the business planning process and identify how workforce measures can impact business outcomes.

3. Explore data sets outside of HR’s purview that all aid in measuring workforce effectiveness.

4. Build HR practitioner skills in proactively identifying the impact of workforce outcoumes at the outset of program design.

5. Initiate planning with the IT department to automate reporting for operations and programs.

Managed to Optimized

1. Broaden the governance process to ensure the full engagement of business leaders.

2. Build a strategic planning process that engages the business in aligning workforce to business goals.

3. Use operational, program-level, and executive-level reporting to guide workforce investment decisions.

4. Build measurement accountability into HR and the partnership between HR and IT.

5. Engage with IT to automate feeds of business data into operational, program-level, and executive level reports. An integrated HCM technology and service platform, such as Paychex Flex®, can help with this initiative.

The time to improve your workforce analytics is now. The gathering and use of workforce analytics is only going to get more complicated as the demand rises to back up HR and company decisions with relevant data. Consider also how your employees may benefit from access to analytics in order to improve their own processes or make the most of their job responsibilities.

With information like that presented by Rowan and Lagunas of IDC, your business has the information to help inform where you take workforce analytics next.

For help with the technical side of your journey, the Paychex Flex HCM technology and service platform offers the scope and data integration necessary for you to start gathering and reporting on the data that means the most to you and your business.

This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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