3 Reasons You Should be Talking About Data Analytics in HR

I admit it-I’m a data nerd. I minored in finance and statistics so I’ve always been drawn to data to validate any business idea I’ve had. Early in my HR career, I gorged on the vast amounts of data available and this was way before it was “sexy” to be into data. Here are 3 reasons you should be talking about data analytics in HR.

Case study for data analytics:

Merck is a great example of a company that has maximized its use of data analytics to add money to the bottom line. It created MANTIS (Manufacturing and Analytics Intelligence), a data warehousing system that can crunch data, including text, video and social media.

The system was designed to allow non-technical business analysts to easily see data in visualization software. MANTIS has helped decrease the time and cost of the company’s overall portfolio of IT analytics projects by 45 percent. 

We Have Employee Intelligence

Access to data analytics in Human Resources allows HR Professionals to become more consultative and provide actual value to their clients.

Companies are leveraging business and client analytics to drive marketing campaigns and product design. Like Merck, most successful companies are smoking their competition with this not so secret weapon. HR Consultants have access to tons of employee information which is one of the reasons we should be talking about data analytics in HR sooner than later.

We should view data analytics as our competitive edge in human capital management. Firms like Visier have developed platforms to organize all the data available in an HRIS and other HR systems.

As a consultant, I use Visier almost daily to analyze everything from turnover to equity within divisions. The interface is user friendly and pretty easy to pick up, even if you’re not an HR Data Nerd like me. (A little shout-out to my favorite vendor!)

Data Analytics is Critical to Organizational Design and Work Flows

Without data analytics in Human Resources, making recommendations on organizational design and work flow is restricted to book knowledge and gut instincts. I do not discredit either of these but they should not be the sole tools used by HR consultants.

Data analytics provides the HR consultant the validation for recommended changes. I have always received push-back from executives when I recommended organizational changes, but when I lead with data, the discussion becomes more interactive than combative.

Think of data analytics as the data validation of your gut! Be open to what the trends are telling you and discuss them with your client. Remember, in most business units, numbers are their native tongue so with data analysis, you’re actually talking their language!

People Data Helps Identify Emerging Competitive Advantages

David Green from IBM shared on HRzone.com how one company used data analytics in HR to identify which offices were more collaborative:

One example of this is when Humanyze provided employees at different branches of a European retail bank with digital badges to measure how they were collaborating with each other.

The data showed for the highest performing branches met the hypothesis that these branches also had the best inter-connected employee social networks.

Data can help support key initiatives within HR through validation.

I have used internal data analytics and compared information with market data to understand which business units were under market. I’ve also used it to determine the best location for certain types and levels of talent we were looking for.

A colleague shared they used data analytics in Human Resources to find what they called hidden talent within the organization. Her firm had decided to shift from a mainframe system to a cloud based system and had a concern it would need to layoff a fourth of the organization in order to hire the skill sets needed for this migration. Through people data, she was able to find pockets of employees with the required skills and training who were working in other divisions.

This may not sound like a competitive advantage but think of the brand story the employees will tell: “My firm found my talents and put me in a new job.” If she had not leveraged her people data, the company would have lost good talent and opened itself to competitive poaching.

Analytics is no longer an option!

Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte Josh Bersin said earlier this year that “analytics is no longer a ‘good idea’ for HR, it is now mandatory.”

I honestly could not agree more. There are too many advantages available to HR consultants who use data analytics in HR to ignore… but then again, I’m a data nerd!

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