For most of the top-notch CEOs, human capital is probably the most important factor in maintaining the competitive advantage – a lot higher than physical assets, brand, innovation and raw material. HR Leaders unanimously agree that people are essential for the long-term success of any organization. Gone are the days when decisions about this most critical factor were taken purely based on “gut feeling” and not based on solid data. Thanks to technology, workforce analytics software are helping organizations assess historical trends and run “what if” scenarios – and put the right people in the right role at the right time.
The obvious reasons to adopt workforce analytics are pretty clear – time savings and profit and revenue gains. However, there are many more benefits which become apparent only after adopting the analytics to its full potential. These relate to encouraging a culture of self-empowerment, collaborative excellence at team level, and ensuring alignment of individual goals with organizational needs, and facilitating fact based strategic decision-making.
Here are some more examples of the possible impact of workforce tracking and analytics:
- HR leaders can make better hiring decisions for near-term and long-term skill sets. The data on utilization levels across business units, roles, skills and locations, help in implementing effective recruitment strategies for attracting the right talent.
- To execute any organizational strategy, there is a need of processes and people with well-defined roles. Analytics helps business owners in taking a more structured approach towards finding the optimal balance of all these factors to become more productive and competitive – this also takes the focus away from the broad brush headcount additions and reductions that tend to happen.
- Since the data resides in one place, and not in silos, all the stakeholders have access to complete information through multiple sources in one go – facilitating informed decision making. Everybody looks at the same data, without any conflicting views or interpretations.
- With consolidated and actionable insights, all the departments including Finance, Sales, Operations, and Professional Services, can build collaborative relationships and address the gaps in the processes at a more holistic level. While each department may have its own perspectives, everyone is reviewing exactly the same facts. Ensuring that decision are data and strategy driven.
- Workforce analytics can also help in strengthening the organizational values. For example, continuous improvement is a common theme in most companies. Activity statistics can help validate the actual time investment in training and development, and correlate it to expected results in raising skills and competencies. Training investment can be aligned with the desired organizational goals.
- Managers can get insightful information such as the most productive hours of the day for their team, time spent on core activities and collaboration (emails, meetings and calls), and other non-core effort. They can measure the skew in work patterns between the Top 20% and others. These powerful data points are sufficient to drive high impact changes in workload allocation, effective work practices, and even deciding the best time to schedule meetings and reviews! In our experience, there are some unexpected findings – a company with a large campus realized that their central cafeteria was resulting in a lot of wasted time on meals and coffee breaks. Setting up multiple eating places, and tea/coffee machines on each floor meant improved convenience and efficiency for their staff.
- Since the employee is at the heart of today’s knowledge economy, any solution must benefit the employee first. Therefore, self-quantification of how the individual invests his/her effort provides a mirror to each employee. Today’s digital world is full of distractions. Simple changes in work habits such as silent time to focus on key tasks for the day, can lead the individual towards higher achievement and greater fulfillment at work.
The objective of workforce analytics is to get the real facts – not in a Big Brother-ish way but as a means to empower individuals and teams to own their productivity and contribute to overall operational and strategic improvement.