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People analytics at work: Achieving objectives and realizing outcomes

analyticsIn this week’s blog, we’re taking a look at the first and most critical step in kickstarting your analytics journey to bring value to your business—identifying and prioritizing your business objectives.

We also look at the importance of starting small and keeping a tight focus on one or two top areas of HR analytics. With so much data available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and not know where to start—that’s why precision focus on top business priorities is key.

We like to think of successful analytics initiatives in a framework:

Situating a workforce analytics initiative within a broader context, flanked by business objectives at the one end and business outcomes at the other, ensures you are acting with purpose, rather than executing analytics for the sake of analytics.

At the outset, the key to success in workforce analytics is to:

  • start small and,
  • set specific objectives for analytics within context of business objectives and outcomes.

If we look at this first step:

There are 3 main activities to the set-up:

Identify—You need to link workforce analytics to your business goals. This means spending a bit of time articulating and prioritizing your business objectives, goals and desired outcomes. Your objectives may be related to reducing turnover and gaining a precise understanding of turnover by segment, by department, by hiring manager, by recruitment source, by location, etc. and the costs associated with this. Whatever your top objectives, you need to keep them at the forefront and use your analytics solution to bring insight to these specific areas.
Prioritize—You don’t need to tackle everything at once. In fact, the best practice is to identify 1 or 2 priority areas where you want to understand more. Select objectives that are financially relevant—ones you know matter to the business. This is important because you want to make an impact and create a quick win for analytics. Don’t make this about solving HR issues, you need to answer business questions. What keeps line of business leaders up at night? Talk to your business partners and find out what their biggest data challenge is—make this one of your objectives at the outset.

Strategize—Think of your strategy here as going an inch wide and a mile deep—that is, really digging in to understand 1 or 2 top areas. Be targeted and patient as you begin. You’ll quickly build understanding and before you know it you’ll be moving on to all those other areas of interest.

Here are two examples of HR analytics projects achieving outcomes, in large part because of conscious efforts to understand key business priorities and to focus the analytics there.

So remember to take the time to clearly define and focus on where the beef is, and you’ll be off to a good start on your analytics journey without being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of your data.

In our next blog we’ll look at the core of the matter—the analytics (metrics, segmentation and analysis/insight)—so stay tuned!

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PeopleInsight

Workforce Analytics at PeopleInsight
John Pensom is CEO of PeopleInsight with 20 years’ experience in the "people" business and gained deep knowledge in how technology, information and analytics drives business and culture change. PeopleInsight is a Canadian company delivering cloud-based workforce and business analytics; it connects and unlocks traditionally disparate HR, talent, engagement, business results and external market data to deliver rich insight through analytics in clear, visually appealing and actionable ways. Read more
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