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Here’s why people analytics technology will drive strategic decisions for HR in 2017

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In today’s digitally enabled world, the role of human resources (HR) is fast being revolutionised, with people analytics taking centre stage in 2017. While the discipline of people analytics is not new, it’s strategic application as both a HR function and a corporate one is still being established.

In Deloitte’s latest Global Human Capital Trends 2017 report, 71 per cent of companies considered people analytics a high priority in their organisation, with a percentage of companies correlating business impacts to HR activities remaining similar to 2016 (at around 51 per cent).

As more and more businesses prioritise people analytics to drive business decisions and outcomes, as Deloitte’s report shows, the question is, how do you do this well?

Not too long ago, one of the biggest challenges faced by HR departments was a lack of data. Now that Big Data is here, we are subsequently seeing the marrying of workforce data with various other types of business data. However, in order for businesses to make strategic decisions, HR departments are increasingly required to not only understand an organisation’s workforce analytics, more importantly, they need to apply data intelligence company-wide to achieve desired outcomes – which, in addition to attracting and retaining the right talent, includes boosting the bottom line.

As companies migrate away from outdated HR systems – including legacy automated HR systems with prohibitive pricing and complex implementations – many have made considerable investments in unified cloud-based (Software as a Service, SaaS) HR software, complemented by workforce change strategies, but progression is still underway. Globally, the investment market for SaaS solutions is hot, and projected to have reached $106b in 2016 – a figure that is no doubt growing stronger.

If we consider what people analytics is – the use of internal and external people metrics to enhance and solve all types of management and business decisions – the talent lifecycle can now be streamlined and enhanced by applying a data-centric approach to talent management. This includes employee hiring and onboarding, recognition and engagement, performance management, training and development, leadership, health and wellness, leave, exit and succession planning.

Let’s take a closer look at how people analytics is being applied to some of these areas to drive decisions this year…

Recruitment

With the rise of innovative SaaS solutions leveraging people data, it is now possible to source best-fit candidates by identifying and measuring where current and previous top talent has come from – including which recruitment channels are most successful, such as Seek versus LinkedIn – to ultimately optimise recruitment spend. With the right talent management software, HR teams can create talent pools to efficiently hire, as well as set and track KPI’s around time-to-hire, cost of hire, and return on investment. 

Onboarding and engagement

Once the right candidate is hired they need an orientation to be aligned with business values, goals and culture, and often, candidates need to meet certain training and compliance requirements. This is where people metrics has great analytical capabilities. Quantitatively, HR teams can track how long it takes to onboard various roles, as well as optimise both time spent and processes used throughout the onboarding experience, ensuring this is consistent, engaging, and of high quality for each employee onboarded.

To put this in perspective, research by US technology company Aberdeen Group, found that 66 per cent of companies with onboarding programs claimed a higher rate of successful assimilation of new hires into company culture, 62 per cent had higher time-to-productivity ratios, and 54 per cent had higher employee engagement.

Performance

Recognising that company executives need a 360-degree view of talent and business performance, HR managers can use people analytics to benchmark employee performance within company divisions, units and teams to set business aligned KPIs. Doing this assists management in identifying and fostering top performers – while developing weak performers – and ensuring adequate succession plans are in place to mitigate any business risks.

Learning

It is becoming increasingly popular for e-learning platforms to be built into HR software solutions and configured to an organisation’s specific requirements. This is now becoming an asset for businesses wanting to ensure they maintain a competitive workforce with up-to-date-skills sets.

Unified HR platforms also have the added benefit of identifying and predicting skills gaps, allowing HR managers to enrol employees in appropriate learning courses, and subsequently, track course completions and pass rates. For employees, the benefits can include access to accredited e-learning courses with personalised learning plans, helping them fast track their skills progression.

Compliance

One of the big drivers behind talent success is the use of e-learning solutions to fill compliance gaps. At ELMO, we recently expanded our offering through the acquisition of e-learning provider Techniworks Action Learning, enabling 500-plus organisations access to ANZ’s most extensive compliance-based e-learning content library. This offers an automated and transparent learning solution, providing regular and real time updates for managers and employees on compliance requirements.

ELMO’s talent management platform is also integrated with the ATO, making the upload of TFN Declaration forms for new employees are paperless and efficient process.

With today’s innovative HR systems, people analytics can now be centralised and integrated, helping businesses solve problems that impact employee, company, and even industry performance. From predicting skills gaps and flight risk candidates, to identifying top talent, and providing the right intelligence to assist the development of new programs or models – and much more – people analytics has found a home in the heart of today’s organisations within HR.

Danny Lessem is the CEO of ELMO which provides innovative HR cloud technology to more than 500 organisations across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The platform comprises of a unified talent management system that includes solutions for recruitment, onboarding, learning, performance, succession planning and leave management. ELMO is designed to automate and streamline all HR processes, and the implementation process is managed by Australia’s most experienced implementation team. For more information, visit www.elmotalent.com.au.

Danny Lessem
Danny Lessem
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