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Using Analytics To Guide HR Strategy

Analytics and big data are popular buzz words in the business community, but many firms don’t yet understand the full extent of the value this information can provide for your company. There’s confusion on the ways analytics is different than common research methods. In their 2015 Advanced Analytics Report, Advanced Business Solutions explains “what’s different about analytics is that, while business intelligence seeks out information through asking questions and reporting back, analytics looks at historical data to spot trends, provide explanation and create models to predict what might happen in the future.”

In a recent Wall Street Journal Article, Josh Bersin discussed his findings in a research study conducted by Bersin by Deloitte that address analytics in the HR industry. Bersin observed that many firms are interested in using analytics to support their internal programs, but they simply don’t know where to begin. These two sources found that only 14-17% of HR departments are using analytics in their decision-making processes, and many more had considered this direction but had not put a plan in place. How can using analytics make an impact on your team’s HR programs?

Talent Pipeline

The advanced analytics report found that “many organizations are reactive in the way they deal with talent management. Using people analytics to develop a more predictive approach to attraction, selection and retention can create real competitive advantage.” In the attraction phase, using analytics helps your team understand how your firm is perceived by prospective talent. In the selection phase, the goal is to predict which candidates will be the best fit for your company culture. Finally, analytics can help identify factors that foster longevity and increase loyalty to the firm. Using analytics is valuable at every stage of the talent pipeline.

Employee Satisfaction

Another way analytics supports HR goals is understanding employee satisfaction trends. This data studies the general well-being of your teams as well as their opinions on how they are treated in relation to other firms within your industry. Your teams are motivated by a variety of factors, and finding data trends that lead to positive outcomes helps validate the guesstimates made by your HR team. Bersin’s research discussed a case study where HR teams were addressing high turnover in office locations in China. At first the HR teams believed that compensation was the primary decision causing employees to leave, but the data showed that the length of tenure for both the employee and their immediate supervisor was the leading factor affecting employee satisfaction.

Leadership Development

Finally, using analytics will help identify high performing staff that show leadership potential. There are several factors that come together to make a great leader, but some attributes such as passion, competence, and empathy are strong indicators of future success. Leadership programs are costly and time-consuming, so it’s in HR’s best interest to carefully select where to invest their resources. On the flip side, analytics can help identify progression paths for employees that are outgrowing their current role. Team members that are bored at work are more likely to leave, so providing your teams with opportunities to learn new skills and grow within the organization is in the best interest of the firm. This is one of the core principals of peer-to-peer learning, the ability to leverage internal knowledge and expertise to benefit the firm.

There are many ways your HR team can use analytics to improve the outcomes of your HR programs. Beyond using basic questionnaires and satisfaction surveys, analytics studies data over time to identify trends and make predictions about future behaviors of your firm’s talent. Whether you’re applying analytics to the stages of the talent pipeline, analyzing employee satisfaction, or identifying key roles for leadership development, analytics provides a framework to test your team’s assumptions and make adjustments in your programs. Make it a priority to integrate analytics into your HR decision processes.