What is People Analytics? Your Guide to a More Engaged Workforce

Guest post by Nan Parrish, Surety Systems

It’s no secret that a company’s people are their most important asset, and that means people analytics can provide valuable information about how to improve your business outcomes.

From prescriptive analytics to predictive analytics, people analytics functions have transformed to meet the needs of growing and changing workforces. Today’s tools help organizations find the most efficient ways to manage employee data and keep employees satisfied in the process.

Here’s how people analytics helps organizations better understand and manage the data, processes, challenges, insights, and opportunities associated with their people.

“We hear a lot of our clients talk about how vital people analytics is to their talent acquisition plan. It allows them to identify the right talent from the get-go and provide better engagement opportunities to retain those employees in the long run. Companies that aren’t leveraging this information are at a competitive disadvantage versus others in their industry.”

– Tim Hiller, Senior Manager, Surety Systems

What Does People Analytics Involve?

People analytics involves the collection of data that helps companies analyze, manage, and optimize core people processes, opportunities, challenges, and other functions. This data is used to increase workforce quality and improve decision-making processes for business leaders.

Leveraging people analytics tools to develop data driven insights involves:

  • Assessing current business processes and data analysis functions to properly outline KPIs and plan operational tasks accordingly across business units.
  • Applying talent data and predictive analytics to HR, leadership, and organizational management functionality to create well-defined plans of action.
  • Finding the balance between people and processes with better HR data and more informed workforce analytics throughout your organization.
  • Building an intuitive, measurable HR business strategy to avoid functional silos and optimize workforce processes.
  • Leveraging modern HR technology tools to improve data quality, accessibility, and visibility for HR leaders and other employees.

The Seven Pillars of People Analytics

1. Organizational Structure

A modern people analytics solution allows companies to collect, manage, and analyze people data. This provides better insights into employee behaviors and motivations and offers concrete data points to identify areas of alignment or misalignment across the organization.

With better employee data and dynamic analysis tools, organizations are better able to:

  • Facilitate communication and collaboration between teams
  • Understand business processes that support core cultural values and initiatives across business units
  • Improve employee retention and satisfaction across the board

2. Leadership Roles and Responsibilities

People analytics helps companies identify effective leaders. Data-based insights support employee performance analysis, improvement of critical talent and business outcomes, and implementation of objectives that drive employee engagement and retention.

By leveraging a functional people analytics tool to assess real-time data and create a data-driven culture, organizations can:

  • Assess the effectiveness of their current leadership development programs
  • Determine areas of improvement
  • Develop more effective approaches to communication and collaboration between employees, managers, and company leaders

3. Workforce Planning

People analytics helps companies gain valuable insight into the current and future needs of their organization. This makes it easier for HR professionals in any organization to collect and analyze data concerning the employee demographics and performance level needed to support business operations across the board.

By improving workforce management strategies through advanced people analytics tools, companies are better prepared for employee turnover. With this information, they can take the necessary steps to improve employee retention and reduce the amount of turnover in the long run.

4. Talent Management

People analytics (also known as talent analytics) provides the tools needed to help companies collect and assess workforce data including employee engagement, performance, and development. Organizations can use these insights to improve critical talent management practices within their HR team and beyond.

A well-defined people analytics strategy also provides opportunities for employees to engage in cross-functional learning and more accurately targeted employee development plans. This enables company leaders to identify areas of improvement and assess the core attributes that contribute to improved business outcomes.

5. Performance Management

By using people analytics to gain better performance insights, companies can:

  • Identify employee performance trends across business unit
  • Leverage relevant data to set more realistic goals for each employee
  • Tailor performance review methods to better meet the needs of employees

People analytics also helps HR leaders assess employee feedback to create more effective performance management plans and build a balanced, well-prepared workforce.

6. Learning and Development

People analytics gives companies the opportunity to identify skills gaps across departments. Managers can use that information to improve the effectiveness of learning and development plans across the organization, design targeted learning programs for specific skills, and ensure employees have the knowledge and resources to succeed.

Company leaders can also leverage core people analytics functions to analyze employee participation and engagement throughout the entire employee lifecycle. They can use this information to determine areas for improvement and identify the most effective learning and development strategies for employees across the organization.

7. Employee Engagement

People analytics allows organizations to collect data on employee behaviors, attitudes, and satisfaction. They can also gain insights into specific initiatives and programs that facilitate employee engagement and create a more positive, engaging workforce.

People analytics also helps companies assess the effectiveness of current employee engagement objectives and leverage data on employee satisfaction and retention. These insights can be used to outline plans to improve engagement strategies in the future.

What Are the Top Trends in the People Analytics Market?

Optimized people analytics practices can improve data collection and management for core employee information like demographics and performance. They can also promote stronger connections between HR departments and their internal employees.

Here are a few of the top trends that are shaping the way companies use people analytics and how it interacts with other widespread business functions.

Transforming HR Processes

People analytics changes the way the recruitment process is conducted as well as overall recruiting efficiency. It also improves employee performance measurement and reward strategies, and supports more effective creation, management, and maintainenance of employee learning and development plans.

With the ever-evolving needs of HR departments, people analytics platforms offer intuitive, flexible tools to support talent needs. This enables organizations to structure core business processes more efficiently and keep up with business needs and industry benchmarks.

Improving HR-Employee Relationships

People analytics gives HR leaders more relevant data points and in-depth insights into employee engagement, performance, and satisfaction. This helps them gain a better understanding of interactions between employees and assess the effectiveness of their people strategy.

With better people insights, HR leaders and related data scientists can outline plans to improve the relationship between employees and the internal HR department. They can also augment the perception of HR as “just a function” to more of a “support system” for employees.

Enhancing HR Analytics and Interactions

To optimize efficiency, HR leaders and other key stakeholders throughout the company must place a greater emphasis on data transparency and promote better collaboration between teams and business units.

People analytics offers the tools needed to assess people data more efficiently and leverage actionable insights. Leaders can use these insights to provide recommendations and best practices for strategic planning, management, and execution functions for employees across the organization.

What Are the Advantages of Using People Analytics?

Managing the flow of information between employees and areas of your organization plays a key role in the efficiency of your systems and the satisfaction of your internal teams. Luckily for you, people analytics simplifies this.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the key benefits of understanding your people data.

More Informed HR Decisions

People analytics gives HR professionals data-driven insights about core HR practices, including talent acquisition, performance management, evident skill gaps, and employee development.

With more comprehensive insights about their most valuable resource (i.e., people), organizations can make more informed decisions about creating or updating HR functions. Better data can also drive better business outcomes across the board.

Improved Engagement and Retention

People analytics provides the data needed to understand the most important factors that drive employee retention and engagement. It also identifies the core workforce processes that help leaders reduce poor performance and manage disengaged employees.

Enhanced Productivity

Understanding the factors that drive performance and productivity across your organization is critical for:

  • Identifying the most effective HR management processes
  • Allocating resources properly across business units
  • Outlining HR practices that support better productivity, engagement, and collaboration for employees

Transparent Financial Insights

Predictive people analytics enables teams to gain more comprehensive view of their key talent and performance metrics. This gives business leaders a better opportunity to streamline data collection, management, and sharing functions across departments.

With these insights, HR and finance functions can interact with one another in the same system. This frees HR leaders to spend more time building relationships with their people rather than trying to navigate complex data interactions and management functions across each team.

How is HR Technology Transforming People Analytics?

HR technology is a critical investment for companies that want to improve business outcomes and workforce experiences through people analytics. Here are just a few things you can accomplish with the right tech tools.

  • Predictive Analytics: HR technology (and related algorithms) can provide the tools needed to identify future trends in employee turnover and predict the nature of workforce processes in the future.
  • Intuitive User Dashboards: With HR technology functions, employees can build and use intuitive user dashboards and other data visualization tools to improve their own data management processes and facilitate communication between other users.
  • Employee Enablement: HR technology offers advanced self-service opportunities for employees to access and manage their own information. This reduces the workload for HR leaders, leading to better employee empowerment and engagement across the board.
  • Streamlined HR Processes: By leveraging HR technology functions across business units, companies can automate manual processes. This saves valuable time and improves the efficiency and productivity of internal HR teams.
  • More Accurate People Data: With automated and streamlined data management processes, employees have access to more timely and accurate data. They can use that data to analyze trends, patterns, and insights for better decision-making from HR leaders and company executives.

Now that you understand more about people analytics are you ready to develop data driven insights, improve employee retention, and optimize business outcomes in the long run?

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