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4 benefits of using HR analytics software

How HR Teams Benefit from People Analytics

In a data-obsessed world, more data can feel like more work. While the early 2000’s and 2010’s were marked by curiosity and excitement for the influx of data insights through digital technology, today’s workplace is wary of extraneous data and often feels the burnout of information overload. Now, the name of the game is useful data, forgoing information for information’s sake and instead prioritizing actionable, relevant, and condensed data points that allow professionals to make informed decisions, without requiring arbitrary or taxing additional steps in analysis. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has actually implemented this consideration in their course development, highlighting data storytelling and data literacy as key tools for workers of the future.

With that in mind, leaders and decision-makers should consider themselves the chief evaluators of the pros and cons of incoming data and analytics platforms and strongly consider their value, what additional data brings to their organizations, and whether tools help them and their people to truly “work smarter and not harder.” Since today’s organizations have shared that one of their paramount (if not the paramount) concern for their business is talent retention and successful people management, it is worth evaluating what HR analytics software brings to the table, whether it’s worth the investment, and what tangible and intangible benefits streamlining workforce population analytics can bring to an organization. Additionally, it is prudent to evaluate what HR analytics software actually does, and whether that moves the needle for your organization’s long-term talent development and retention strategy.

quoteLeaders and decision-makers should consider themselves the chief evaluators of the pros and cons of incoming data and analytics platforms and strongly consider their value, what additional data brings to their organizations.

Here are four unique benefits that HR analytics software can make for your organization, for your consideration.

1. Data-Driven Decision-Making

It stands to reason that all analytics software should contribute to data-driven decision making. It also stands to reason that analytics software should provide you with insights you did not have access to previously. But what does that mean for HR analytics software?

The type of analytics that HR analytics software provides is in pursuit of streamlined management, retention, engagement, career development and talent pipelines, training, and job satisfaction. Let’s examine a few examples of this…

Within your organization, you have thousands (if not millions) of skills embedded in hundreds (if not thousands!) of employees. Your workforce brings skills to the table when they enter the organization, they acquire new skills through their tenure at the organization, and if they decide to leave, they bring those skills with them and possibly deplete the organization of that embedded knowledge. But so often organizations are not aware of the skills they have during the hiring, retaining, and turnover phases at an at-a-glance level. 

HR analytics software allows the ability to aggregate, analyze, and understand the skills within your organization at-a-glance. This can provide insights on innovation, new directions for the business, and changes that can be made with relatively low-lift since the knowledge is already latent within the organization. Similarly, having an understanding of how different individuals may be prepared for promotion, the new skills they have acquired (and their alignment with the organization’s long-term goals), and where they hope to grow can help create a more nimble organization where employees are able to stretch their skills without changing organizations in order to utilize their new knowledge. This is relevant from a talent retention perspective as one of the paramount reasons individuals cite as to why they left their last employer was limited opportunities for career growth as well as new challenges.     

Of course, skills and people management have been around for a long time, since early corporate organizations. However, they largely existed within the knowledge base of human resources or talent management or were manual or analog in nature. A savvy HR professional might make a list of embedded knowledge and talents and create a pen and paper pipeline for the future of the organization. This is no longer a viable strategy, simply because the HR with the embedded knowledge or strategy for talent may also leave the organization, and the culture in which people remain at one organization their whole career has largely ended.

2. Increased Employee Retention

In tandem with making data-driven decisions, employee retention can be a value-add of HR analytics software in that you have more information to help be proactive in employee retention and engagement strategies.

For example, say an employee has been in the same role for 4-5 years, at a similar pay rate or with scheduled small percentage increases. This can be flagged or noted within the analytics system as someone who is at high-risk for becoming disengaged. Even if they enjoy their position and the company, research shows that disengagement is bound to occur when an individual becomes too proficient at their position and ideally should be functioning at the edge of their comfort zone, where they are learning and feel a sense of purpose and challenge in their roles.

As HR and business development professionals know, employee retention is important and multi-faceted. From an innovation perspective, there are increased opportunities for mobilizing a current workforce that cannot be attained with a revolving door of new employees learning and acclimating to the organization culture and their first roles within the organization. In addition to the cost of recruitment and hiring, employee turnover also has hidden costs to the organization, such as productivity loss, workplace safety issues, and damage to culture and morale.

quoteIn addition to the cost of recruitment and hiring, employee turnover also has hidden costs to the organization, such as productivity loss, workplace safety issues, and damage to culture and morale.

When employees have the cultural fit and have, until this point, thrived within an organization, it can be hard to find new employees with the same level of motivational fit and social relationship potential as those with more tenure, at least without a significant factor of time.

Ultimately, HR analytics software can help enable HR professionals and organizational decision-makers to confront turnover and disengagement head-on in a way that helps to keep current and high-performing employees challenged, growing, and moving forward within the organization with purpose. In this avenue, leadership within organizations can seek out HR analytics software that considers these factors and proactively targets at-risk employees who may soon consider exiting the organization in pursuit of new challenges and growth.

3. Increased Employee (and Leadership) Productivity

What do all of these aforementioned benefits share? They provide an opportunity to streamline and simplify the workflow and task management for employees and leadership alike. For employees, having data and being able to share their new skills and initiatives (as well as career interests) allows their direct managers to be more prepared for regular role evaluation meetings. 

For employees, a centralized communication hub or Opportunity Marketplace to learn about opportunities available to them allows individuals to stop trying to hunt for long-lost emails or spending time organizing everything they receive for fear of losing a password or a link.

For leadership, data analytics provide an aggregated and also individualized means of exploring the future of the company, positioning staff for growth and success, and justifying decisions with data that would take hours, days, or weeks to gather otherwise.

Data, but specifically the right type of data, provides an opportunity for the organization to move forward with increased transparency, building trust with employees and changing the organizational culture for the positive. This is particularly important from a generational perspective, as millennials and Generation Z expect more transparency and information from their employer than previous generations.

4. Engaging and Empowering Employees

When considering the holistic and long-term positive influence that HR analytics software can yield, consider an intangible benefit that has tangible outcomes: engaged and empowered employees.

Take increased access to internal opportunities, for example. When individuals (within an organization or otherwise) are able to recognize the opportunities available to them — be it full time roles, gigs, projects or mentorships — they benefit from an added boost of personal agency, empowerment, and self-esteem. 

HR analytics software allows employees to display and take pride in their skills, share updates of what they are learning and how they are growing, and use data to advocate for themselves within the organization. Similarly, this data can help bolster managers and direct supervisors when advocating for their staff, for increased budget, and tie skills and people to specific initiatives in ways that justify spending and help pursue innovative new business avenues. This is particularly relevant for investment-based organizations that may rely on venture capital, an investment board, or private equity, wherein the need to justify increased capital must be supplemented by data

Employee empowerment is an under-discussed aspect of organizational culture and strategy, but has been found to be extremely powerful. Employee empowerment has been tied to increased creativity, pursuit of superior job performance, increased productivity, and increased job commitment, to name just a few benefits.

Taking the plunge

Of course, implementing, running, and maintaining HR analytics software requires a substantial organizational commitment and buy-in. This buy-in is financial, but also intellectual, and organizational decision-makers must believe in the value of data, commit to employee engagement, and want to establish a career pipeline and trajectory for their people. That being said, these benefits yield long-term gains and help organizations “walk the talk” when it comes to not just aspiring to data-driven decisions, but living them, and sharing the benefits among their workplace population in order to create a more transparent and empowering culture.

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