The Rise of Workforce Analytics

February 29, 2012
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WorkforceAnalytics PersonIcon3DGeneric 150x150 photo (advanced analytics)A growing number of human resources (HR) teams are using workforce analytics to help with workforce charting, workforce/skills optimization, succession pl

WorkforceAnalytics PersonIcon3DGeneric 150x150 photo (advanced analytics)A growing number of human resources (HR) teams are using workforce analytics to help with workforce charting, workforce/skills optimization, succession planning and other aspects of talent management.

And while the use of workforce analytics is still early stage for many companies, the use of these tools will become even more strategic going forward as the global economy continues to gain strength and companies find themselves at war for people with different types of skills.

For instance, a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Human Resource Services Inc. finds that workforce analytics will be used to a greater degree to assist with workforce performance and to support strategic workforce planning, including succession planning efforts.

The study reveals that among the “more advanced analytics” companies, or 15% of the 224 HR chiefs, CEOs and other CXOs who were surveyed, 88% report that they use a database or other means to track the planned retirement of executive leaders and others in mission-critical roles to ensure a succession plan is in place versus 43% of other companies.

Meanwhile, 68% of advanced analytics companies say they’re developing creative programs to meet the needs of different generations within their respective workforces versus 31% of other respondents.

As a recent report on the topic by Deloitte notes, given the importance of people and talent for the success of any organization, it’s time for organizational leaders to move beyond gut instincts and “tribal wisdom” in making workforce decisions. This can include the use of predictive analytics to help determine the likelihood that a valued employee will leave the company within the next six months as well as the likely causes for departing.

Workforce analytics can help HR managers and other supervisors make better decisions about hires as well as near-term and long-term skill sets that are needed by the organization. Most decision makers don’t have a complete understanding of the current needs of their workforce, much less their future needs.

Decision makers can leverage workforce analytics to better identify and anticipate skill set needs. In addition, they can also use workforce analytics to recruit more effectively, including identifying the right recruitment strategies for attracting people with specific skills.

The benefits of workforce analytics don’t stop there. Because companies today rely so heavily on contract workers as well as mobile and geographically-dispersed employees, workforce analytics can help business leaders better identify effective strategies for balancing skill sets most effectively across different layers of the organization.

Decision makers often say that people are their most important assets. If that’s true, then they should back this up by using the best available tools to manage those assets most effectively.

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