In today’s digitally enabled world, the role of HR is fast being revolutionised, with people analytics taking centre stage in 2017. While the discipline of people analytics is not new, its strategic application as both an HR function and a corporate one is still being established.
In Deloitte’s latest Global Human Capital Trends 2017 report, 71 per cent of companies considered people analytics a high priority in their organisation, with the percentage of companies correlating business impacts to HR activities remaining similar to 2016 (at around 51 per cent).
As more and more businesses prioritise people analytics to drive business decisions and outcomes, the question becomes, how do you do this well?
Now that Big Data has come to HR, we are seeing the marrying of workforce data with various other types of business data. However, in order for businesses to make strategic decisions, HR departments are increasingly required to not only understand an organisation’s workforce analytics they need to have company-wide data intelligence to achieve desired outcomes, which, in addition to attracting and retaining the right talent, includes boosting the bottom line.
As companies migrate away from outdated HR systems – including legacy automated HR systems with prohibitive pricing and complex implementations – many have made considerable investments in unified cloud-based (Software as a Service or SaaS) HR software, complemented by workforce change strategies. But globally the progression is still underway; the investment market for SaaS solutions is hot, and projected to have reached $106b in 2016 – a figure that will no doubt grow stronger.
Let’s take a closer look at how people analytics is being applied to specific HR functions.
With the rise of innovative SaaS solutions leveraging people data, it is now possible to source best-fit candidates by identifying and measuring where current and previous top talent has come from – including which recruitment channels are most successful (such as Seek versus LinkedIn) to ultimately optimise recruitment spend. With the right talent management software, HR teams can create talent pools to efficiently hire, as well as set and track KPI’s around time-to-hire, cost of hire, and return on investment.
Onboarding and engagement
Once the right candidate is hired they need an orientation to be aligned with business values, goals and culture, and often, candidates need to meet certain training and compliance requirements. This is where people metrics has great analytical capabilities. HR teams can track how long it takes to onboard various roles, as well as optimise both time spent and processes used throughout the onboarding experience, ensuring this is consistent, engaging, and of high quality for each employee onboarded.
To put this in perspective, research by US technology company Aberdeen Group, found that 66 per cent of companies with onboarding programs claimed a higher rate of successful assimilation of new hires into company culture, 62 per cent had higher time-to-productivity ratios, and 54 per cent had higher employee engagement.
Recognising that company executives need a 360-degree view of talent and business performance, HR managers can use people analytics to benchmark employee performance within company divisions, units and teams in order to set business aligned KPIs. Doing this assists management in identifying and fostering top performers – while developing weak performers – and ensuring adequate succession plans are in place to mitigate any business risks.
It is becoming increasingly popular for e-learning platforms to be built into HR software solutions and configured to an organisation’s specific requirements. This is now becoming an asset for businesses wanting to ensure they maintain a competitive workforce with up-to-date-skills sets.
Unified HR platforms also have the added benefit of identifying and predicting skills gaps, allowing HR managers to enrol employees in appropriate learning courses, and subsequently, track course completions and pass rates. For employees, the benefits can include access to accredited e-learning courses with personalised learning plans, helping them fast track their skills progression.
By Danny Lessem, CEO of ELMO Talent Management Software