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Partnering with an external workforce analytics provider – Three ways this can help you do more in 2015

I attended a webinar last week and wanted to share some best practices aimed at mid-sized organizations in accelerating capabilities in workforce analytics.

In this webinar, Karen O’Leonard of Bersin by Deloitte shared her insights and advice to help mid-sized organizations get ahead with analytics and capitalize on data-driven decision-making. Karen shared the Bersin Talent Analytics Maturity Model which consists of 4 stages, and revealed that 86 percent of HR organizations currently fall into the bottom two stages of maturity. This means that the vast majority of HR groups are involved in reactionary reporting, and spend a great deal of time pulling together reports and responding to questions. Because of this, these groups do not have time to consult with the business and focus their efforts on business planning and solving for pressing business issues. They aren’t using their data to its full potential.

While most HR Leaders know they need to get to a place where they are using their data differently (to drive decisions and demonstrate impact), in mid-sized organizations there are challenges of time, resources and budget that make building this capability difficult. It can take years to build a solid in-house analytics capability and most leaders know they don’t have that long to wait. Executives are demanding deeper insight and want HR to proactively identify and solve for business issues.

One path forward is to partner with an external analytics solution provider. Here are 3 reasons why this makes a lot of sense for mid-market companies:

  1. Data quality/single source of truth – Partnering with an external provider can help align the business in terms of data and an overall understanding of the workplace. If you’re like most organizations you struggle with missing, duplicate, conflicting or out-of-date data. In HR, alone you have 100s of different data elements and a number of different systems. An external provider can help by connecting disparate data sources and making a single source of truth accessible. An external provider will also work with you to prioritize your analytics projects and identify the data you need to focus on first. A key to success in starting with analytics is to make it manageable – start with a single business relevant problem and work towards insight in that area.
  2. Dashboards/reporting/improved communications – An external partner in analytics can provide fast and up-to-date access to reports and dashboards. In many organizations 60% of team member time is spent building reports and visuals for presentation to others. If you can leave the creation of reports, dashboards and visuals to an external partner, you can free up significant amounts of team member time to focus on more value-add activities such as consulting with the business, business planning, and building additional skill sets. And don’t underestimate the power of compelling visuals to get your point across quickly and credibly to those stakeholders and executives.
  3. HR team can re-purpose efforts – Even if you choose to partner with an external provider to accelerate your analytics capabilities, you need highly capable staff to work with the data and the insights. Team members need strong consulting skills to connect with business leaders and understand pressing issues and questions. They need to understand how data can help solve problems. They need to be able to take the data and understand it within the context of the business. With an external provider doing the number crunching and helping you understand where your data can take you, your team can be out connecting with business leaders, uncovering pressing questions and figuring out ways data and analytics can provide answers and direction. The key to success here is finding an analytics partner that will work in a complementary fashion with your internal team – providing the analytics and visuals that your team needs to provide relevant, timely and compelling insight and moving forward with agility as the business questions change.

The above are three takeaways from the Bersin webinar “Unlock the Potential of Talent Analytics in Mid-Market Companies”. Of course there were lots of others… as well as a great case study from Andrew Martin, VP of HR for JOEY Restaurant Group. Andrew shared his journey with analytics and how partnering with an external provider has helped accelerate many areas of the business within JOEY. He showcased a number of reports and dashboards he is now able to produce and explained how this has transformed the level of insight he now has into important areas of the business.

If you’re interested in hearing what Bersin by Deloitte has to say about accelerating analytics you can access the webinar for free and on-demand here. If you’re a mid-sized company and you’re serious about getting started with a more robust approach to analytics, I’m confident you’ll find the webinar valuable.

All the best for the holidays!

Lynne Russell
VP, Research & Insights

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PeopleInsight Workforce Analytics

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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