One of the most difficult tasks that organizations face is effectively placing the right employees in the right places. Today, workforce analytics are transforming how leaders can make smart, data-driven decisions.
Workforce analytics broadly refers to the use of data to improve an organization’s function and growth. This data can be used to identify the best candidate for a role, or to forecast high performing employees so that the necessary resources and tools are at their disposal. Workforce analytics can be leveraged to predict future needs for recruitment, prevent top talent from leaving, setting performance benchmarks, and identifying skills and training gaps in the workforce.
Many firms do not use workforce analytics, due to lack of strong data, resources, or analytical skillsets. While many firms understand the value of workforce analytics, very few deploy it. However, there are a few easy approaches that a firm can take to begin to extract valuable information in order to improve their workforce.
First, consider readily available data.
Simple metrics such as headcounts, terminations, and revenue per full time employee are available to all firms
Simple tasks such as conducting an annual or semi-annual employee survey can also create enough data to begin garnering important insights. Keeping track of everyone who received an interview, and conducting exit interviews to understand why employees leave will also create valuable information about employees’ morale and your firm’s hiring practices. There are also other questions, such as the average time to full productivity for new hires, or the workforces needs for the future, that can be gleaned by simply asking supervisors and managers about their experiences and perceptions.
While a firm can receive high-level, valuable insights with complex statistical skillets, the advanced methods are not essential. Imperfect and inexact data can be used to get started.
Second, embed analytics into the roles of more employees.
While quantitative work may not be the strong suit of the entire workforce, by having more employees at least experiment with some quantitative or analytical project, there will be more confidence and trust in the changes that workforce analytics may bring, and there may be more openness to change based on the results. Since the end goal of workforce analytics is to make data-driven changes, ensuring that the workforce views analytical insights as a sound justification for changing course is essential. Integrating analytics into more employee duties will also bring about the added benefit of allowing more individuals to be able to track metrics across different departments.
Finally, remember that there is still a human element to data.
As with all business success, the key is a combination of analytics, culture, and business knowledge. Ultimately, knowing about the strengths and weaknesses of a firm’s culture is vital to improving performance, recruitment, and retention.
Whether it is calculating the cost of turnover, discovering which recruiting sources yields the highest performing and culturally fitting employees, or looking at overall productivity relative to the competition, using analytics to look inward can set businesses on the right track.
The key to effectively deploying workforce analytics is to build linkages between human resources, business, customer relations, and operations. By adopting a holistic view, workforce analytics is best able to merge information and link the data from various areas. Analyzing data sets to examine workforce insights is a great additional tool to creating a high performing, high-trust workplace.