“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” business management icon Peter Drucker is quoted as saying.
Identifying, developing and measuring vital business metrics are the starting point and foundation business improvement processes.
All of this is no less true in human resources, where functions have only become more complex. Human resources executives are under pressure to measure and identify solutions to recruitment, training, retention, employee engagement, and other challenges increasingly deemed vital to companies’ success.
For those seeking to expand their use of human resource analytics, there are at least two pieces of good news:
- First, as human resource executives become increasingly equipped with metrics, their ability to communicate human resource progress, value and challenges inside corporate organizations is improving.
- Second, with demand for these analytics increasing, technologies are keeping pace, emerging rapidly as new aids to human resource executives in need of developing and managing these metrics.
But what analytics should human resource executives measure? Last year, Forbes contributor Bernard Marr, author of Data Strategy, identified eight of them:
- Capability analytics (Does the company have the personnel capabilities it requires?);
- Competition acquisition analytics (How well is the company doing in attracting and recruiting candidates with the skill sets it requires?);
- Capacity analytics (How efficient are employees? Are they too burdened with non-core functions?);
- Employee churn analytics (Are employees being retained?);
- Corporate culture analytics (Is progress being made to advance the goals of corporate culture goals?);
- Recruitment channel analytics (Where is a company finding its best employees);
- Leadership analytics (How is a company progressing with its leadership goals?); and
- Employee performance analytics (Are employees progressing satisfactorily, or are there specific employee development needs?).
Companies that are just starting to evaluate tracking these human resource analytics, or those seeking to do it better, will find no shortage of outside assistance.
Some of the world’s most respected technology, data and human resource consulting firms, including Highground, IBM, KPMG, Oracle, SAP, Visier and others, have emerged to offer an impressive array of analytics services to assist human resource executives.
With the current state of human resources analytics is still in its infancy, there are many more opportunities for HR analytics to be deployed in strategic ways that will prove immensely valuable to companies.
“If more data was available on employee preferences, attitudes, and day-to-day experiences, we could have a better idea of how employees are impacted by the organization. Then, if we have a better idea of how employees are impacted by the organization, we can connect this data to financial and operations targets to make a clear connection between people processes and ROI” .
For human resource executives who, unlike finance and sales departments, have not historically operated with advanced data, the ongoing embrace of human resource analytics might seem a bit intimidating. Yet, human resource experts say the data itself cannot fully supplant the still valued human input.
Deep learning algorithms (i.e. advanced predictive algorithms) are reported to be alredy in use at Amazon.com, Facebook and Google to improve their recruiting, retention and engagement.
People analytics is “fifty percent cold, hard statistics and fifty percent common sense,” Facebook’s global head of workforce planning Ross Parkman told a people analytics conference.
While the human resource executive will likely be expected to be armed with data in assessing functional performance, data alone is not an end in and of itself. Human analytics will still not remove the “human” from the human resource function.