People analytics that impacts business: Key takeaways from David Green
Creating a business impact is the primary goal for any HR leader. Leveraging people analytics to get a better understanding about the employees and in turn making optimal use of the resources available at hand is the most crucial aspect of becoming the leaders of tomorrow.
In a dedicated workshop on Business Impact with People Analytics, David Green, Managing Director, The People Analytics Program, Insight222, discussed how the constantly changing landscape of work is creating a need for HR leaders to become aware about the data around them, to tap into the right aspect of data gathered, and use it in a way that business results are achieved.
A few key insights from the session are highlighted here:
Connect the dots
It is important to pause and understand the direct correlation between business outcomes and people outcomes. Neither of the two can exist without the other. They are all a part of a larger ecosystem that together lends itself to a culture of making data-informed decisions.
Leveraging data analytics in order to understand the employees better can go a long way in bridging the gap between
The business outcomes that can be achieved through sound application of data analytics can include any or all of the following business goals: Diversity & Inclusion, Mergers & Acquisition, Bettering the workforce.
Why is People Analytics important?
As the entire world of work undergoes a major transformation, employee expectations are also transforming in a radically different way. Employee engagement is changing when we consider the level of data that is surrounding us.
The foundation of People Analytics starts with the collection of data for a specific and clear purpose. It is precisely why it is essential to have a common data collection language across the organization. Be it within the people analytics team or HR or even finance!
“As an HR leader, get the finance team to validate your data,” Green said. “To create sustainable teams, you need to create a data-driven culture.”
Green shared the Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics model which are divided into three major umbrellas:
As work becomes more and more complex, people management has come to the center of the business focus. Hence, the HR leaders are now the torchbearers for aligning the right elements in order to conduct in-depth HR data analytics for the organization.
The three elements that Green asked every HR leader to focus on include: Governance, Methodologies, and identifying the Stakeholders.
Starting off with the right processes in place and a clear end-goal can take the data analytics exercise to a whole new level of success, Green added. Apart from the Governance aspect, adopting those methodologies to gather relevant, measurable and usable data is essential. Knowing the reason behind the data analytics exercise has to be a priority. It is the only mechanism by which HR professionals can move ahead with a clear goal and avoid collecting random data points that become irrelevant for the business goal. Once you know the reason behind collecting data, discussing it with relevant stakeholders can help in taking the HR Analytics’ data project to an organization-wide level and ensure that the people analytics team gets the business buy-in.
The next logical step after identifying the “why” behind your data analytics is to ensure that your people data analytics team has the required resources. The three pillars of support for a people analytics team in any organization are: Skills, Technology, and Data.
Skills could be the people on the team--what kind of skilling and upskilling programs do they need to undertake? As an HR professional, how can you identify the skillset that is essential and how do you recruit or nurture it? These are the questions that need to be answered prior to heading straight into the data collection and processing game.
As an analytics team, you don’t just want to report--you want to make a difference with data, Green said.
Sometimes, technology just could be the solution to most of your data gathering and processing challenges. As with any HR tech that you, the HR leader, might choose, getting a clear understanding of how to operate that particular piece of technology in a way that the team members can leverage it for visualization, statistics, business intelligence is a must.
Rather than running behind the technology, look inward and pick the technology that is most suited for the challenge that you are facing on the business front. Speaking of the business front, the data aspect of analytics is also included in this dimension. Integrating, securing, adding, collating and analyzing people data in tandem with relevant business data is the way forward. This type of resource can help the team analyze and understand whether new data gathering is required and when.
The final and major part of the people analytics wheel is the value that the people analytics team adds to the stakeholders whom they interact with. As a People Analytics professional, one might end up working in silos--however, as the one team with all the data trends at your disposal, it is your duty to work in the benefit of the employees. How does the team’s analysis of data help and provide solutions to the challenges that the business team is facing? Leveraging algorithms, customized reporting and analysis and “democratization of data” can go a long way in adding value to the business.
Looking outside of the analytics team and immersing in the business outcomes can yield some surprising data and insights! Revenue enhancement models, optimizing on costs and boosting productivity are all business goals whose outcomes could be determined by the kind of analysis and insights produced by the People Analytics team.
At the end of the day, it is all about the culture. The HR culture and the organization as a whole needs to embrace this change in dynamics and understand the value that the people analytics team brings to the table.
Creating a culture of innovation and transparency will be crucial in implementing these dimensions of people analytics, according to Green.
“Big changes create more jobs and people data is the number 1 global HR trend,” Green noted. Having a clear data analytics strategy is the foundation of a successful people analytics team. Apart from these dimensions Green also shared examples of companies that have leveraged their people analytics teams to not only boost the engagement of employees but also to attract, recruit and nurture new employees. A robust people analytics arm can help the HR leaders bring all the various stakeholders to the same table and create a real business impact in terms of sales and revenue numbers as well!
This article is based on the insights garnered from the discussion during Business Impact with People Analytics TechHR Workshop conducted during the People Matters TechHR India Conference. If you'd like to be a part of such workshops to learn from many such experts, be sure to register for TechHR Singapore Conference from Feb. 19-21, 2020 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.