I recently presented a Ceridian webinar called Using HR Analytics to Align Workforce and Business Strategy (click the link for the show page and the recording of the event). Lots of big words in that title, but what it really means is: How to take a bunch of seemingly unconnected HR data and make some sense out of it so you can solve business problems more quickly and confidently. I was amazed by the continued level of interest in this topic considering it’s been in the forefront for years. Just goes to show you the extent to which this stuff takes years to really mature within organizations.
In the webinar we talked about how HR needs to create tools that provide operations leaders with actionable data for decision-making. We discussed dashboards, what to track on them, and how they can help you identify problems, gain insight and come up with a plan.
This is exciting because, in the past, reports have been beneficial but the raw data could sometimes be overwhelming. Today we have the tools to understand that data and manipulate it much more effectively, which enables the HR function to contribute more directly in business activities.
I’m not going to recap the content, because you can listen to it yourself. But the webinar attendees came up with some great questions, so I thought I would share a few of my answers here.
To get started, what would you recommend as the basic and fundamental metrics to use?
Start small. I would recommend choosing 3-5 measures that deeply relate to how you run your business from a people perspective. Talk to business unit leaders to see what type of information would be most helpful to them. Use the quality of the current data as the primary filter after you get a short list of possible measures.
What type of metrics do you think are important in the Benefits world? What information should we be capturing and what information should we be feeding to upper management?
This depends a bit on how your benefit plans are structured, but COBRA metrics are a good, relatively easy and cost-relevant place to start. Depending on the quality of your data, you can also leverage some measures that reflect overall workplace health, but that’s pretty advanced.
We struggle with the fact that our function (HR) is not important to our executives, which affects the beliefs of the managers we deal with. How can we help them understand the value of Human Capital?
Develop personal relationships with business leaders over time. Find like-minded managers in your organization and show them what you can do strategically with the data you have today. They will become evangelists for your cause and help to generate buy-in from the other business units and eventually senior executives.
How do you track the absence rate when you have PTO?
You need a deeper level of granularity in your data, which probably requires some of the features typically found in a workforce management system – more time punches with a greater level of detail.
Can you customize your HR Analytics and Business Intelligence modules to meet the needs of a company’s culture?
Yes. It’s essential. If you don’t align what you measure with the culture, it will be ineffective. But recognize that there’s often a difference between what gets measured and what’s relevant to culture, so make sure you have a clear understanding of both.
As you can see from the attendees’ questions and from the poll results taken during the webinar, many companies are starting to see the value in business intelligence tools. To learn more about HR analytics and how to use them, you can download the webinar recording and slide deck from my presentation.