Today, HR Leaders make use of analytics solutions to realize deeper insight into the workforce in order to fuel evidence-based decisions and improve business outcomes. While the most obvious benefits are related to time savings, dollars saved and earned, percentage changes, and proof of ROI, there are less tangible benefits of workforce analytics that leaders often discover after they have started with their solution. These are benefits related to organizational alignment, relationships/team cohesion and culture. Make no mistake, while these benefits are more difficult to measure in concrete terms, they are definitely connected to business outcomes. Below, we’ll explore 5 of these powerful, yet under-the-radar, benefit areas related to workforce analytics.
1. Shared understanding/organizational alignment: leading to smarter, faster decisions
Imagine having all your people and relevant business data consolidated in one place and connected across the various systems and sources. By taking disconnected data and bringing it together in a single view, workforce analytics can bring about a shared understanding and common language across stakeholders. No longer are you dealing with multiple views of the data, different formats of the same data or conflicting perspectives based on opinion.
With key stakeholders working from the same evidence-based view, the conditions are set for a more efficient, more strategic approach to decision making and action. This unified view of the data brings with it organizational alignment on priorities and actions required to achieve business objectives.
A key advantage when everyone is working from the same starting point of understanding is that it is easier and quicker to gain support for activities to move the business forward. When you have access to data, analytics and insight that everyone can see and understand, it’s possible to gain support and make decisions on programs or activities in hours or days (not weeks or months!). Rachel Jacobson, VP of HR at QuickPlay found this out very soon after implementing her workforce analytics solution. Click here to read how Rachel is using workforce analytics to gain support for HR initiatives and programs. From a place of shared understanding, Rachel is able to make the case quickly and credibly for what she needs to move her people strategy forward and improve the business.
Workforce analytics can also improve organizational alignment and understanding by helping discern between beliefs or opinions and facts. With a data-driven view of the organization, decision-makers no longer have to rely on gut-feel or intuition. The data can be used to validate those perceptions that hold true and break down any biases or beliefs that aren’t supported by fact. Starting from the same place of understanding – one that is easy to see, understand, and share – conversations can be more on-point and targeted. Decisions become more efficient and effective because they are aligned around a common and credible view.
2. More and better relationships across the organization: making it easier to communicate and engage with others, collaborate on solutions, and influence business outcomes
Armed with powerful and credible views of the organization, driven from a workforce analytics solution, HR and Talent Leaders are growing their voice and their connections across the organization. Having access to consolidated and actionable insight, these leaders are using the data and visuals as a springboard to meaningful conversations with the business. They are using workforce analytics and the insight generated from the data to build collaborative relationships with other leaders in groups such as Finance, Sales, Professional Services and Operations. With the addition of sales, operations and financial data, a holistic view of the organization can be generated.
With clear and accessible information related to recruitment and first year outcomes, relationships with hiring managers can also be strengthened. Working from the same page, it becomes possible to jointly address gaps in process and approaches to hiring and managing new hires.
An important relationship helped along by a workforce analytics solution is that between HR and the Executive team. Armed with consolidated data, insight and compelling visuals, HR and Talent Leaders are catching the attention of Executives and solidifying their place as one of influence in the organization. Click here to learn how Laura Matthews, VP of HR at Innovapost, is using her workforce analytics solution to move the agenda of HR forward at the Executive table.
With our workforce analytics solution in place, we are able to communicate more effectively, contributing data-driven insights that resonate with the Executive team. The clarity of insight combined with eye-catching visualizations delivered by our solutions partner [PeopleInsight] enable communications with the Executives to be more on-point and engaging.”
3. Stronger team cohesion: Leading to focused and targeted efforts towards common goals
With a workforce analytics solution in play, HR teams become engaged and interested in the data. Because it’s possible to see the data clearly and to make connections that matter (connecting activities to business outcomes) teams become aligned and committed to working towards common goals. When everyone on the team starts from the same point of understanding, it’s easy to focus on the right things and work towards improvements. Click here to read how Diane Dowsett, AVP of Talent Management at LoyaltyOne is leveraging her analytics solution to align understanding and activities across the Talent Acquisition and HR teams. With access to the same consolidated data set, these teams are able to work together more efficiently and effectively, communicate a deeper people story to executives, and make stronger, evidence-based decisions.
4. Empowering managers: Leading to ownership, accountability and taking action for business problems
Leaders who have implemented workforce analytics have learned that providing managers with access to data they can understand and act upon brings powerful results. In many organizations, managers receive little to no meaningful reporting on the performance of their group. When they do receive information it is often in the form of a flat report, full of columns and numbers and difficult to transform into decisions and actions.
However, when provided with information that is segmented and relevant to their group, managers have at their fingertips important information about their team, its performance and connections to business objectives. This leads managers to take ownership and accountability for what they are seeing in the data. Not only that, the data becomes easy to share and managers have at their disposal a great way to communicate with their team and rally efforts around achieving objectives. From here, managers and their teams can take an active role in designing solutions to business problems and moving the dial towards improved performance and the achievement of business objectives. Click here to read the story of how one HR Leader is making use of workforce analytics to empower managers across its retail operations.
5. Demonstrating and/or strengthening of organizational values
You may not see the immediate connection but the introduction of a workforce analytics solution can help in demonstrating and strengthening organizational values.
Whatever your core organizational values, workforce analytics can provide insight into areas and experiences that are in alignment/out of alignment with those values. For example, you may discover that, although people development is a key stated value for your organization, there are issues in the execution of opportunities provided to employees. Perhaps, your training and development or your stretch assignments are not yielding positive results in the end. Perhaps you are not achieving an acceptable ROI on learning opportunities. Workforce analytics can shed light on this. By connecting programs to outcomes, workforce analytics generates a platform for conversation and decision-making, and enables development of programs that align with values.
With a workforce analytics solution in place you can leverage the fact that the information is easy to understand and easy to share. You can demonstrate that the organization is committed to transparency by sharing insights. You can demonstrate a commitment to empowering employees by providing information they can act upon. Click here to discover how one coffee retailer credits their use of workforce analytics with helping the company “live its values of transparency, openness and empowerment more fully.”
So there you have it, 5 benefit areas that probably aren’t top of mind when you think about workforce analytics. Despite the fact that these benefits can be difficult to measure, it’s easy to see the positive impact these can have on the business. Better communication, sharing of information, tighter team cohesion, strengthening organizational culture… these are all additional good things that can come from workforce analytics. Get started – you’ll be surprised and delighted by all there is to gain!
It’s your workforce data. You should use it.