In 2007, Google created a dedicated analytics team to support their People Operations (Human Resources) function and thus coined the term people analytics.
The intention of this dedicated function was to provide credible, actionable insight and recommendations through analysis of Google’s people data.
Since its inception, people analytics has gained significant traction. Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends (2017), identified 71% of organisations place a high value on people analytics. However, only 8% of those surveyed indicated the data collected is useable.
What is People Analytics?
People Analytics is the purposeful application of statistics and behavioural science to Human Resources to achieve profitable business advantages – Mike West 2015
Tangible examples of people analytics in your organisation could include your time sheeting system through to the way you collect and report on recruitment, performance appraisals, pay and entitlements, turnover or even culture surveys.
Why is people analytics important to success in 2017?
If we look to larger organisations, such as Chevron, which have successfully implemented people analytics we gain an understanding of the significance of this trend.
Propelled by dwindling oil prices, Chevron explored new methods to sustain profitability and maximise workforce productivity. They started by introducing a small centralised analytics team and tasked them with identifying inefficiencies and standardising metrics and reports for people data across the organisation. Chevron now supports a decentralised team of analytics champions across its global operations and has reported:
- A 30% increase in productivity across the organisation;
- Success with standardised reporting globally, and across all business functions with and an increased reliability on strategic decision making;
- The elimination of 100 hours of redundant reporting in one business unit.
What can we learn from the Chevrons of the world?
For businesses operating on a smaller scale, finding ways to work smarter and not harder is a day to day challenge. Below are three important ‘take-aways’ that can be easily applied to an Australian SME:
1. Don’t reinvent the wheel
As identified by Deloitte many businesses already collect a range of people related data. The challenge is to collect useable data to achieve profitable business advantages. What questions do you need answered to make informed and profitable decisions for your organisation? Interrogate the data you currently collect, and the processes by which you gather this data.
2. Drive from the top
Effective workforce analytics will provide the greatest benefits to organisational decision makers so leaders must participate in determining the strategic questions to be answered through analytics initiatives. For example, the CEO or Managing Director should have input into the design of their organisational 360 Leadership Development Survey in addition to being one of the leaders assessed within the business.
3. Establish champions
A single analytics project will benefit from participation by multiple employees across the organisation in order to include comprehensive technical analysis as well as business insight. It is therefore critical to identify a key member of staff to champion workforce analytics. It may also be beneficial to then identify additional champions to be responsible for and coordinate specific analytics initiatives and projects.
To successfully implement people analytics, businesses must be purposeful with data collection and analysis. Make use of available technology to reduce work load and minimise manual data entry, whilst remembering that analytics is a specialist area and employees may require training to best collect and analyse data.
Overall, if leaders ensure the focus of data collection is to deliver meaningful recommendations and actions to stakeholders, the organisation will enjoy productivity gains similar to those enjoyed by Chevron.
By Alexandra Hu. This article was published in Business News, September 18 2017