Although organizations collect more HR and business data than ever, they still aren’t using that data effectively to predict workforce trends, reduce risks and increase returns, according to a Cornell University study.
To be useful, HR analytics must extend beyond reporting what is (the present) or what was (the past) to predicting and and analyzing what will be (the future), according to most of the executives who participated in the study.
The most important HR metrics/analytics are those focused on the outcomes created in the human capital value chain,” says Jon Ingham in his Strategic HCM blog. And the analytics a company decides to use, should depend, in part, on the answers that will be most useful to the questions about how HR impacts the business, he says.
Ingham says the best analytics will most likely focus on certain areas including:
- Creating value in human capital. Many organizations will have strategies to engage and motivate employees – not just to meet short-term business goals but to ensure the employees continue to be successful. The most useful questions to ask about these strategies will relate to how they can best be further developed. Companies have to take analytical approaches to these strategies not just view them as measurements. To create value through engagement, organizations could use a range of demographic or sociographic factors to identify groups of similar individuals who could be engaged in similar ways.
- Social capital – the greatest new opportunity. Ingham says social capital is often one of the greatest opportunities for organizations to develop new capabilities. That’s because in most organizations, how people work together is more important than the quality of the individual involved. Together with other measures of engagment activities, a social network analysis can help companies understand what types of people are most able to work together as a community.
- Sources of performance. Organizations should use analytics to better understand the qualities that indicate which employees will perform well in their jobs. For example, companies could look at whether someone has ever held a leadership position, and for how long, as well as his competencies and other factors like tenure, and number of promotions etc.
- Leadership performance. Companies should analyze the things that make the leaders of an organization effective, and maybe even analyze what effective leadership looks like in the first place.
- Human capital supply chain. For example, organizations should also analyze how well they are investing in their employees.
According to the Cornell study, many organizations use dashboards to collect and share this engagement information. HR staff should be encouraged to use dashboards as tools to plan for the future, rather than just reviewing the data before heading into a meeting. One way companies could use these dashboards is to predict potential problems or monitor how HR practices affect the workforce.
Most HR leaders understand the importance of HR analytics. Now they have to figure out how to use analytics to enable their organizations to thrive because doing that will give their companies a leg up on the competition.
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