Workforce management is kind of our area of expertise. It is a crucial element of running a successful business, regardless of what space you operate in. With workforce management, there are many HR challenges to overcome. As with most business decisions, any data that can help managers make informed decisions is incredibly valuable. Well, with workforce management, people analytics is a huge piece of the puzzle. When we consider the fast-changing and ever-evolving economic environment of the world, it’s clear to see why workforce planning and management is incredibly difficult.
We’ve previously gone into detail on workforce planning and how important it is for your business. Simply put, workforce planning is a strategy. Businesses deploy this strategy in order to get the right people, with the right skill set, in the right place at the right time. It includes analyzing the current workforce, determining future workforce needs, and identifying the gap between the present and the future. The analytics part is what we’re going to focus on in this piece, taking a deeper dive into people analytics.
What is People Analytics?
People analytics or HR analytics is an important function of workforce management. According to Gartner – People analytics is the collection and application of talent data to improve critical talent and business outcomes. As a result, it enables HR leaders and business managers to make informed, data-driven decisions around talent, processes, and employee experience.
Types of People Analytics
There are three main categories of people analytics;
Historical people analytics
As you might have guessed, historical analytics looks are past data to help quantify and describe changes that have happened in the workforce. Moreover, it can shed light on key metrics like revenue per FTE, employee turnover rate, levels of employee engagement, and headcount trends.
Predictive People Analytics
Predictive analytics is the direct opposite of historical. It looks into the future, focusing on business objectives. This can help identify gaps in skills, qualifications, resources, and headcount. This allows business owners to be proactive, rather than reactive in their workforce management styles.
Prescribed people analytics
Finally, prescribed analytics is a combination of both historical and predictive. Essentially, decision-makers use prescribed analytics to predict outcomes based on what’s happened in the past. Then, they can determine what the workforce needs in the short term for success. It allows them to make a very tailored, prescriptive workforce plan.
As you might imagine, the key factor in all of the above is data. As you look at your data sources, keep in mind that the outcome should always be actionable outcomes. It is no good just carrying out people analytics. Presenting the data in a way that is digestible, actionable, and specific is key. As you continue to analyze your data, your prescribed plan will change. The more new data you have, the more dramatic these changes can be. As you can imagine, this can make workforce management very difficult, particularly in the context of hiring.
Benefits of People Analytics
People analytics has 3 well-established benefits for business.
Effective people analytics should be well distributed to create openness and transparency. The information and the plans developed should be shared with everyone from hiring managers down to lower-level executives who will be directly impacted by the decisions. As a result, this clear communication ensures that everyone is on the same page with regard to hiring, training, engagement, and general HR processes.
Of course, effective workforce planning is one of the main goals of people analytics. Once KPIs have been established, leaders are clear in their understanding of costs, trends, and overall performance. With this knowledge, they can make data-driven decisions that will help the business stay profitable.
Without people analytics, HR is often a reactive business function. However, with the right data, HR can pre-empt issues, focus on their unique company data and become strategic managers. This means they create improved processes, tailored to their workforce needs. This helps them hire, train, and retain the right people with the right skillsets to maximize productivity and profitability.
Aside from these 3 main benefits, people analytics can also identify and solve other workforce management problems. It can help identify talent gaps, burnout, and high levels of attrition. Often, it involves employee engagement surveys, which are also a great resource in effective HR management. Being able to identify these items and work to improve the situation is an invaluable workforce management strategy.
Data is Key
Without data, there is essentially no people analytics. So, it is critical to ensure you have enough data to make informed decisions. 1 key event is not a “trend”. It shouldn’t be used in predictive analysis. It is also crucial to look at the right data in the right context. Look at external factors such as recession, the job market, and worldwide events that impact the workforce. Your business data in isolation might be skewed and put you on the wrong path.
Celayix provides managers with a user-friendly tool to get started with people analytics. We use advanced AI technology in our Scheduler to look at historical data, skill sets, and business rules. Therefore, managers can create a perfectly optimized schedule with the right people, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time. Employee scheduling is just one of the areas that benefit from effective people analytics, but is a great place to start.