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3 Ways the future of people analytics is changing
The future of people analytics is changing rapidly and rising in necessity. Learn where the industry and its data insights are going.
As business industries become more saturated and competitors more competitive, organizations are feeling the pressure to cultivate an exceptional workforce. They need to attract, engage and retain talented employees to succeed. Unfortunately, achieving this objective has gotten much more challenging in the last few years.
With COVID-19 accelerating the trajectory to remote, digital work, many businesses have lost their in-person benefits as well as their visibility into the employee experience. And this has occurred during a time when employee expectations of their workplace have never been higher.
For this reason, people analytics has risen in popularity and necessity. Organizations and their HR departments are becoming more intentional about how they utilize the employee data they naturally collect across their digital tools. Why? As a means to understand and improve the impact of their workforce initiatives, such as those designed around:
- The employee experience
- Employee performance
- Digital transformation
- Or another development
The trajectory of people analytics
But how is the field of people analytics developing and changing? For one, people analytics is already replacing passive employee data, such as:
- Email patterns
- Keystroke capture
- Websites visited
- And login hours
Businesses as a whole are evolving away from the collection of historical, transactional data, such as an email exchange, and moving toward real-time behavioral insights. An example of the usefulness of these insights could be detecting whether an employee is performing in a way that indicates they’re overwhelmed. This would be shown by them working regular work hours, but having only a high level of completion for low-priority items while showing that they are still missing critical deadlines and failing to deliver higher-value projects.
People analytics also offers interventions for better work processes (managers can label high-priority tasks to refocus their workforce) and best practices (Pattyrn, for example, offers employee recommendations for improved task, time, meeting, document and communication management).
This leads us to the next movement in people analytics: sharing the data collected directly with employees. Giving your employees an online platform where they can access their analytics offers them continuous feedback on their performance so that they can constantly improve upon it. It can even motivate them just as a Fitbit or an Apple Watch would an athlete with data on their exercise patterns.
3 New developments in the future of people analytics you can leverage
Investing in employee well-being is critical in nurturing their motivation, productivity and success in an organization. The new direction of people analytics aims to track the initiatives, experiences and conversations that enhance the success of the workplace. Here are three major new developments in the field of people analytics that companies can leverage.
1. Accurate views of the employee experience
Just as digital marketers utilize analytics to understand their customers better, organizations seek to understand their employee experience through people analytics. With the new work-from-home norm, having a systematic method that offers an accurate workforce view without face-to-face conversations is critical.
Organizations no longer need to deal in hypotheticals when thinking about which workplace initiatives help employees perform better or stay with the company. People analytics offers actual data on what is successfully driving employee behavior in the workplace.
Say an organization's people analytics dashboard is showing HR and management that employees are facing workplace anxiety as their baseline workload increases. In this case, they can see which initiatives and workflows successfully reduce or streamline the workload, and use this information to inform the hiring process.
People analytics also helps organizations know when employees are struggling or becoming project blockers. This could be because they are untrained, unhappy with new tasks, utilizing unsuitable tools or losing motivation. They could also be struggling with ineffective digital or workflow processes.
Provided insights also make it possible to understand how employees manage their time, tasks, meetings, communication, and documents. With this information, organizations can identify the causes of work stagnation and decide what policy changes they want to deploy.
2. Informed, unbiased hiring processes
According to the HR Joins the Analytics Revolution report by Harvard Business Review, over 80% of respondents agree that talent-based insights are critical to make business decisions. Today, however, the average hiring manager does not have access to data that helps them choose the best candidates to hire, promote or move to a new role. Instead, they’re forced to rely largely on their intuition, which creates room for bias.
These intuition-driven decisions hurt workforce diversity efforts and make it easier to choose candidates with a poor culture fit or performance. Not only does this strategy prevent HR managers from reaching the best candidates, but it also hinders retention of the right people.
Since talent acquisition is one of the cornerstones of a successful organization, the negative impact can be severe and widespread if undetected, unaddressed bias is occurring throughout the process. Fortunately, when properly implemented and monitored, data-driven hiring can be extremely effective at de-biasing the process.
Organizations can use people analytics to identify skill gaps and address their needs. This enables them to hire intentionally for performance, culture fit, or for the diversity of thought. More specifically, HR can use people analytics in the recruitment process to:
- Select new hires quickly and reduce time in the hiring process
- Reduce subjectivity and increase diversity
- Identify internal mobility opportunities
- Select candidates that best fit your company
3. People-focused digital transformation
The competitive landscape in the modern world places digital transformation at the forefront of many business and HR leaders’ minds. The future of people analytics can ensure that your digital transformation strategy is designed to help your employees succeed. It is able to show:
- The work processes that hinder your employees, indicating they should be automated
- Whether the digital tools are supporting the full scope of your employees' work
- Work transparency in a remote or hybrid environment
- Whether the tools are creating redundant work for your employees. If so, some tools need to be integrated so as to sync up tasks or data.
- Where employees require additional training
The future of people analytics is within reach
In essence, sustainable business growth requires targeted insights into what it takes to attract and retain the right employees. In light of the increased value of people analytics leading this strategy, HR will gain more opportunities to leverage this data as they design the future workforce.