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March 9, 2015 / Mervyn Dinnen

Talking HR Data & Analytics at #HRAnalyticsLDN

Is 2015 the year analytics finally goes mainstream for the HR profession?

A few thoughts:

In most areas of our personal and professional lives we now have endless information on which to base a decision. No longer do we invest time and money without prior research – instead we do as much checking as we can to ensure that the decision we’re making is right.

And yet in business we’re too often stabbing in the dark. We hire the person that our instincts tell us may be right, even though we’ve got years of data to show the type of people who succeed in the organisation. We look to recruit someone who’s done the job before, without seeing how successful that approach has been in the past.

Walmart in the US have recently raised the pay of their lowest paid workers to try and reduce churn, yet as one commentator pointed out “if retailers really want to reduce churn, the next frontier will be promising more predictable schedules, rather than higher wages“. We have the data to produce predictable schedules – do we use it?

So why do so many in HR often see data and something big and insurmountable, rather than the way we can make better informed, more robust decisions? Or as Neil saysan HR person who “doesn’t like numbers” is a bad HR person.  I just think the idea of data being BIG in HR is a bit of a myth‘.

The 2015 Human Capital Global Trends Report found only 8% of respondents believing they have a strong HR analytics team in place., with this specialism registering the second highest capability gap. Suggested areas in which good people analytics can help the business immediately were:

  • Understanding and predicting retention
  • Boosting employee engagement
  • Expanding sources and quality of hire
  • Profiling of high performers in areas such as sales and customer service.

Starting doesn’t have to be painful nor involve massive expenditure – getting the right people in the team (mixing business and technical skills), starting with the tools you already have and focusing on a specific business need rather than a scattergun approach across multiple teams is sometimes all you need.

And learning from those who have already begun the journey.

Which is why I’m really looking forward to the HR & Workforce Analytics Innovation Summit in London next week. Across two days there will be sessions and presentations from HR professionals representing all sizes and sectors, and all at different stages of the journey. There should be some useful takeaways, whether your looking for quick wins of playing the long game. Some of the sessions I’m looking forward to are:

  • Beginning HR Analytics with No Budget (Andrew Gamlyn, SIG plc)
  • HR Analytics for Beginners (1 hour interactive workshop – learning from those who have taken the journey)
  • Driving Business Value from HR Data (Sally Dillon, Aviva – includes case study using data to reduce absenteeism, driving bottom line benefit)
  • Employer Branding Analytics (Alison Hadden. Glassdoor)
  • Analytics and Driving Cultural Change (Nicki Makin, Morrisons – the journey of moving from relying on gut feel to making data driven decisions)
  • Planning with a Blank Canvas (Dan Gordon, England 2015 – planning a large workforce for the Rugby World Cup from scratch)

Readers of this blog can get a £200 discount by using the code RECS200 when registering. If you want to know what to expect then check out this presentation from last year’s event – ‘Using Workforce Analytics to Create a Recipe for Success’ from Vanessa Varney, Senior Manager of HRIS Analytics at Coca-Cola.

Look forward to seeing a few of you there – and to finding out more about data driven workforce decision making.

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