HR Analytics is a tool for informed decision-making pertaining to people in organizations. Essentially it falls back on the maxim, "what gets measured, gets done". HR value proposition for business, deftly articulated by Dave Ulrich in his two classics, "The HR Value Proposition" and "The HR Score Card" brought new direction to HR Managers and gave the strategic edge missing in HR.
HR Analytics has evolved from basic elementary measures to sophisticated algorithms today that can proactively provide predictive analytics on the impact of HR strategies on future of business starting with employee hiring and running through employee contribution to the growth of business and bottom line.
HR Analytics as a cutting-edge strategy
HR Analytics has evolved as a cutting-edge strategy through the growth of Human Resources Management as a distinct body of knowledge. It has come a long way since the first wave of Industrial Revolution (IR 1.0). During the first wave of industrialization, HR decisions were based on HR cost analytics which can be described as HRA 1.0. It was presumed during HRA 1.0 phase that employee count is a mere head count of fixed cost for regular roll and variable cost for temporary workers.
HR strategies focused on employee attendance and active physical engagement at work. Decisions pertaining to employee career were taken on the basis of intuition and physical traits. Invention of electric power ushered IR 2.0 and the Hawthorne studies changed the way employees were looked at during IR 1.0. From being treated as an expendable and easily replaceable commodity, the employees came to be recognized as useful value-adding resources. HR Analytics 2.0 started with the oft-quoted Hawthorns studies and led to the commencement of the Human Relations movement that coincided with Industry 2.0.
As the technological innovations grew, backed by HRA 2.0 the welfare facilities improved, working conditions became more humane, and people started getting paid well, the employees started looking beyond good workplace facilities and incentives to stay motivated. HR Analytics moved to the next phase - HRA 3.0. New studies and analytics found that employees who like what they were assigned to do, performed better.
It was noticed that more the employee was engaged in the work, higher was his contribution. Employee creativity led to the birth of new ideas and technologies not only in the laboratories but also, right on the shop floor, that made it possible to increasingly automate and convert the difficult manual tasks that were hitherto performed by human beings. The creatively engaged employee became now the most productive employee. The Employees got recognized as productive Human Resources with undeniable and conclusive data provided by HR Analytics on the correlation between employee engagement and growth of the business. Human Resource Managers got a new name during this era as the HR Business Partner (HRBP), which is a recognition of the function of HRM for its ability to add money value to the business top line and the bottom line. Sound employee engagement practices reflected on the bloated the bottom lines of the most successful businesses in the World.
The computing technology moved gears and the age of Big Data, Artifical Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, Internet of Things, 3-D Metal Printing Technology brought in the current phase of Industrial Revolution which is styled as IR 4.0. HR Analytics needed the next updation to HRA 4.0. With the advent of internet and e-commerce, Big Data is getting captured in 360º mode and predictive models of human behavior have started getting constructed for aiding business decisions. The era of Industry 4.0 brings humongous challenges as well as great opportunities for the Human Resource Managers. HR Analytics is the single most critical competency for all HR Managers in the era of IR 4.0.
Challenges before the HRBP
The challenge before the HRBP today is to attain a mastery over HR Analytics. This will help fulfill the long-held dream of HRM which continues to elude all generations until now, "To place the right people at the right time in the right place".
Bernard Marr writes in his 2018 Book titled 'Data-driven HR', "Companies are nothing without the right people". Having the right people on board in the beginning of the journey is a great head start.
Keeping them happy and productively engaged throughout the journey makes a great inspirational success story for business chroniclers to write about. HRA 4.0. has brought this prospect closer to every ordinary Startup-candidate aspiring to be the next GE, Toyota, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Pepsi, Walmart, Google or Tesla. The HRBP can drive the business strategies not anymore for nominal value addition to the bottom line but for taking significant and quantum value leaps for the organization.