In the ever-evolving world with the ubiquity of data, analytics is proliferating across every discipline. In expectation of setting a more promising and accurate journey in the field of human resources, leaders in HR have set their journey to explore the potential that People Analytics can bring for them. The challenge for HR to transform strategy into results by enabling people’s success has fundamentally shifted the focus now towards more of data-driven decisions. Hence, this necessitates doing things in new ways, to create efficient processes and non-routine business opportunities under the umbrella of analytics.
So, the question remains how to design effective people strategies that rely on data and people science for making informed decision-making in all human processes at work?
Just a few years ago, HR professionals were not aware of the analytical possibilities that could have been juxtaposed in the function of human resources. The creation of dashboards and scorecards, even when balanced to include employee data and business cost, were not modeled to make the right connections between talent and business results. Even HR leaders very well understood the gap of their incapacity to optimize the deployment of talent with the right people strategy. But in the majority of the cases they were not sure how, and hence were unable to leverage analytics in the domain of people management.
Geetanjali Gamel, Senior Director- Global Workforce Analytics, Johnson & Johnson meticulously demonstrated the evolutionarily shifts in generations from ‘Foundational’ to ‘Advanced’ to ‘Embedded’ Analytics and its impact in HR at People Matters TechHR SEA 2021.
• Foundational level is the first stepping stone where organizations can create basic building blocks for a more mature and advanced approach. It is about setting data structures, creating data-driven processes, defining data sources, having initial surveys, and constantly clarifying the need of analytics to gain a better competitive advantage in the human resource function. It gradually aims at building the HR function to have more advanced analytics that is then marked in the next level i.e. advanced analytics.
• In the Advanced stage organizations may start looking into predictive models and not just descriptive models. While HR data and metrics with basic slicing and dicing have been around for a long time, the advanced level will start using advanced statistical techniques and data modeling. It will look like the HR function is prepping itself by taking information and converting them into outcomes and organizations can easily benefit by using dashboards to discover hidden patterns, develop deeper insights and act on high-value talent opportunities.
• Now, once organizations have unlocked the values of advanced analytics, the time comes to move from advanced to Embedded analytics. People analytics here is embedded in the way people work, how they think, and even how they ask questions. Every process is created with strong data interpretation capability. HR function now can use and interpret data in a much more mature way. Once an organization reaches this level, future-readiness undoubtedly falls in place.
However, in order to reach the highest level, there are two critical components that need to be aligned i.e. mindset and culture. This can be achieved by comprehending the following three factors:
Responsible data democratization
Data democratization helps organizations to fully adapt to the digital and modern working era. The goal of data democratization is to allow non-specialists to be able to gather and analyze data without requiring outside help and responsible data democratization will definitely help to make organizations future-ready at a much faster pace.
Analytics capability building
HR professionals need to have constant training for bringing more and more analytical skills to their jobs. Organizations should not make it a project-specific skill set as this is a continuous evolving cycle of understanding and improving business process performance. Hence, there is an inherent need to constantly push such capabilities deeper into organizations.
Leadership sponsorship and people partnerships
One of the reasons for low success rates to analytics capability building is connected to lack of leadership sponsorship. Many leaders are still resistant to new ways of data-driven decision-making and emphasize more on ‘trust your gut’. Senior leadership involvement and peer partnerships play a predominant role in how effective an organization’s analytics efforts are, and an organizational desire to move to an analytics-driven approach is only achievable when this challenge is addressed.
In short, failing to embed analytics into all areas of the organization and especially HR, will never allow organizations to be future-ready. Organizations that embrace people analytics can be positioned to outperform their competitors and bring more value to the organization as a whole. It is time for forward-looking organizations to bring in meaningful transformation by embarking on the journey of people analytics. Explore the power of data and stay ahead in the curve.