Innovations in workforce analytics can play an important role in supporting HR teams to better advise business leaders, and help to build their reputation and profile within the business, according to HR leaders.

Wendy Cunningham, Global HR Director of Technology, Analytics and Talent Acquisition at Experian, and a range of HR leaders shared their experiences of building predictive analytics and capability at the recent ChapmanCG roundtable in London. 

Alignment and Capability

Every company is at a different level of maturity and stage in their workforce analytics journey. But where do you start?

Most companies have very little in the way of an aligned reporting strategy at any level, and often the reporting has no real meaning. Even just stopping the reporting until only important questions come back can achieve a reduction in unnecessary reporting.

HR business partners need an appetite to use data and the ability to ask the right questions, challenge findings, be provocative and lead debates. They must be data literate rather than just operating on professional instinct, and having data scientists to advise and support your team can help to increase their knowledge and up skill them in this area.

Analytics strategies also must be backed by business leaders who want to make data-driven decisions.

Having confidence in the data is key, along with the right governance and a shared understanding of and rigour around what is being produced and how the results are being used. With this approach, global and regional level reporting can be consistent and strategically aligned. This helps to establish global knowledge sharing and virtual team resourcing.

One of the primary messages from the HR leaders present was to start your foray into analytics as soon as possible, and to build your team’s capabilities stage by stage rather than waiting for the perfect program to be in place.

The Right Data and Relationships

Often there is not one single source of truth globally within a business. Quality and coverage of data is often variable regionally, however the right systems and clarity around ownership can help to overcome this.

A close and respected relationship between finance and HR is critical. While finance can own the cost, it is important that HR is the central source of truth for data on the organisation’s people. For example, data is gathered as part of rewards programs and sent to HRBPs about who should be prioritised so that relevant pay reviews can take place.

Recruiters in particular also need analytics to help establish a pipeline of talent, support diversity and inclusion, and inform organisational design and retention strategies.

Consistency and Technology

Working towards a global mindset for all core reporting and analytics, which are underpinned by globally consistent definitions and a single system, is also intrinsic to success.

The right technology has to be fit for data extraction, analysis, reporting and self-service dashboards. Visier was highly recommended by participants for helping to lift the lid on data in a consumer-friendly way.

Once the data technology is embedded fully into a global HR function, HR leaders can then start to move towards predictive modelling capability. The aim is to achieve a broader capability and maturity for the HR function, which is underpinned by learning resources, senior leadership engagement and should ultimately lead to ‘on the job’ successes. Focused, insights-led reporting can support a variety of HR and business challenges ranging from diversity to attrition.

Predictive success

Experian presented a case study of their unique approach to building predictive workforce analytics capability. Their approach uses a tool that focuses on modelling scenarios relating to employee flight risks and attrition levels. This allows HR business partners to have the right conversations with business leaders, and has helped to increase their confidence, credibility and influence across the business.

In particular, this has helped to reduce attrition in high-turnover areas and has led to significant cost savings globally. It has also helped to strengthen diversity strategies, resulting in the retention of top female talent, and has led to better-targeted prioritisation of employees for rewards programs.

Another example from the group focused on modelling different communities around an employee who may leave, and the effect to other people who may also leave as a consequence.

The future

Future development areas for analytics solutions may include:

  • organisational network analysis to inform flight risk and productivity
  • hiring insights to inform which employees will succeed in their roles, progress and stay with the organisation
  • diversity profiling to support diversity and inclusion programs
  • leader profile analysis to look at what leads to high performances
  • robotics and AI to support the automation of some processes.

The ethical considerations for data and analytics will also be a key issue for HR leaders to consider into the future. For example, using Fitbit statistics as part of data on workplace health programs can raise questions about where to draw line between personal and workplace-related data. The boundaries of analytics on people data to develop new insights, products, solutions and potentially commercialise this employee information is the next frontier as well as an ethical and privacy debate.

The discussion on the future of analytics raised many more questions, and we look forward to exploring these at future ChapmanCG HR Leaders roundtables.

Our thanks to Experian for hosting such an interactive, informative session, including insightful presentations from Oliver Britnall, Head of Global Workforce Analytics, and Kevin Dickson, Global Workforce Insights Lead.