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How people analytics can improve HR effectiveness

Getting insight into your workforce can reveal everything from training issues to the reasons for turnover or missed corporate goals. Here's what you need to know.

People analytics can be a great enabler of HR effectiveness.

When harnessed correctly, data can provide a wealth of insight into the workforce and reveal the correlation between investment and results. People analytics can be a great tool to help you understand the trends, behaviors and characteristics of your workforce and analyze the outcomes of different talent management initiatives.

Workforce insight key to HR effectiveness

Understanding what makes your workforce tick and identifying areas of weakness or underperformance are key to improving workforce management, fixing underlying problems and introducing the right policies, processes and procedures to enable efficiency and productivity. Additionally, taking the right actions based on these insights into your workforce can lead to financial savings.

Turnover, tenure, productivity, performance, career development, promotions and demotions, compensation and attendance are all important areas to examine. These factors help determine a number of HR actions and initiatives, such as hiring, personnel development and internal movement policies. They dictate how managers and HR professionals will act in the face of the myriad of ever-changing workers and, ultimately, the way in which they operate to attract, keep, develop and reward different types of workers.

And then, there is the demographic of the workforce: Its makeup might show trends among different ages or genders. They might highlight gender imbalances or racial biases, whether intentional or not. The type of analytics uncovered in this realm can influence the fairness of how policies and processes are applied, as well as how decisions are made.

people analytics uses

HR effectiveness rests on identifying trends

Looking at patterns and trends in your data across various characteristics can provide insights and enable you to build actionable responses to those trends.

For example, replacing employees is costly, and identifying areas of high or unnecessary turnover and understanding root causes are critical. Longer tenures for employees save money. Understanding high-tenure areas can be used to learn lessons that then can be applied to areas with high turnover and low tenure. People analytics may show that specific teams, divisions or plants have higher turnover than others. By stemming this outflow, you create stability, reduce hiring and onboarding costs and, in turn, boost HR effectiveness.

Combining data sets from different areas can open up a world of potential insights.

Another critical area that people analytics tools can help examine is missed corporate goals. Looking at areas where corporate goals are not completed may help identify missing resources, inadequate support or unrealistic goals being set. Since goals directly influence the success of your organization, analytics can be a staunch ally in helping to figure out where support is needed to realize those goals.

Deep dive into your data

The real value of analytics comes when using cross-dimensional measures. Combining data sets from different areas can open up a world of potential insights that can be used to optimize your strategy, focus and investment.

Some common analytics of this type might be assessing the cost of training and whether health and safety-related trainings are reducing accidents. Digging deeper, you can start looking at trends relating to your investments.

Is there a correlation between money spent on training and increased performance? Just how much are compensation and merit impacting enhanced performance or increasing retention? Are development plans helping with more internal promotions versus external hires or giving you a deeper bench on your key positions?

People analytics can reveal the answers to important questions such as these and, in turn, point the way to goals and a boost in HR effectiveness.

This was last published in March 2018

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