The use of analytics has been declared one of the top 10 global HR trends for 2017 (Deloitte). Over 10,000 business and HR leaders were surveyed by the giant consultancy who also revealed that 71% of companies saw ‘people analytics’ as a high priority in their organisations. Yet, take up has been slow by firms to use their own wealth of data to improve workforce management and become more competitive.
What does analytics mean?
Analytics is using the data which is already being collected to solve particular business problems or to make general efficiency improvements (sometimes combined with external data). Data from information collected by HR systems e.g. payroll, absence, etc. is called ‘HR analytics’ and can be combined with other operational information to reveal the bigger picture of how a business is doing. The use of analytics in the workplace can vary widely — from workforce planning, absence management, retention to performance management.
Why is it important to use analytics in workforce planning?
Telecoms firm Virgin Media used HR analytics to drive their change programme. In the process, the analytics data showed that they had high engagement amongst call centre staff but high absence rates. They set about tightening their sickness policies and re-educating line mangers, resulting in reported savings of £750k.
The benefits of analytics include:
- Gain insights – businesses can use the vast amounts of employee information which they generate – for example through time and attendance data – to gain insights into their workforce, whether their HR practices are working, where the best value lies, etc.
- Make better decisions – crucially analytics can be used to discover where improvements can be made – analytics means more evidence-based decision-making. For example your data may reveal high levels of employees quitting early in their employment – which may mean induction procedures need improvement.
- Become more efficient and improve profitability – you can use the insights gained from data evaluation to take positive actions. Do you need to improve your retention policies? Is unplanned absence occurring frequently? HR analytics can confirm hunches or reveal hidden problems. It’s all part of making all your resources, in this case human resources, more efficient to ensure your business becomes more profitable.
To make the best use of workforce analytics for planning, businesses should:
- Look at the technology they use to gather data – painstaking local systems and fiddly paper records can only take you so far.
- Go beyond the short-term – an automated workforce management system offers the best solution. The collated data can be mined to provide powerful reports which can be shared with your managers, HR and Finance teams. You can assign different permissions; once reports are set up they can be run, viewed and sent automatically to different departments and line managers as required.
- Consider the adoption of web-based software. A 2017 CIPD survey was concerned to report that where organisations do use HR analytics, “more than a quarter of senior leaders (26%) and 45% of line managers, and more than half (51%) of risk and compliance professionals do not have access to HR data.”
A web-based workforce management system means that data is even more accessible and shareable, from any place, anytime.
Find out how Chronologic’s automated workforce management system can work for you to provide your business with accessible and relevant HR data and analytics.