HR strategy: Why using analytics is easier than you think

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HR strategy: Why using analytics is easier than you think
It’s natural at first glance, to wonder what on Earth analytics have to do with HR, since the term is increasingly associated with digital marketing techniques.

‘The rise of analytics in HR’ is now a thing and by trial and error, I have picked-up more ways to integrate data collection than I realised, after almost 20 years in the talent sphere. I hope that by sharing my take on it, I can shed some light on HR analytics and how they can be easily used to inform strategic HR moves.

It seems as if I’m in good company - I accidentally found out there were over 22 million Google results for ‘the rise of analytics in HR’, a phrase that appeared whilst I typed  something unrelated into the search bar! In the same vein, thought-leading contemporary tech and business magazine Fast Company says analytics are “now essential for best-in-class HR teams.”

It’s natural at first glance, to wonder what on Earth analytics have to do with HR, since the term is increasingly associated with digital marketing techniques. This, coupled with the inevitable resistance to change, GDPR compliance or other investments of our time, means that many senior HR figures are missing out on valuable insights into the concerns of their staff. The collection of these insights is already being automated by HR teams who partner with companies such as MyEva, without them having to apportion much time to the process of collecting MI that could set them apart when it comes to attracting top talent, for example.

We already know data is important. No matter how much we think of ourselves as primarily there to interact with and advocate for people, we have been collating and pouring over data for some time now, without a second thought. According to Personnel Today, over two thirds of UK employers monitor the ethnicity of job applicants. We have also become used to analysing and reporting on salary bands and disciplinary outcomes as a matter of course, making much of the HR field already well-versed in ‘analytics’.

In the same way that a lack of female applicants for certain jobs often already inspires a change of tact when it comes to advert placement and talent outreach, embracing a deeper dive into analytics can save us time and effort in other areas. The potential gains to be made will provide an additional benefit to individuals on HR teams who act as advocates for digital transformation and get to present aforeto hidden intel to their bosses reasonably quickly after implementation of an MI tool like MyEva.

Often, HRDs or HRBPs will map out areas of interest before handing over the operational aspects to their colleagues in software development, who will integrate incentivised pop-up surveys into popular digital touchpoints, such as intranets, to name just one means of data collection. In MyEva’s case, our software developers listened to feedback sourced from HR teams that offer the app as an employee benefit and wanted to understand how to help improve the financial wellbeing of their staff. Here are some of the anonymised data points captured by MyEva:

  • Family situation
  • Monthly spending habits
  • Home ownership status
  • Debt
  • Preparedness for retirement.

Once the questions were programmed into the app, all HR teams needed to do was, in effect, pull a spreadsheet of results at will and are able to request the creation of specialist surveys and additional ‘financial health check’ questions, should the need arise. The payoff for pulling this information, say, every month, has been invaluable to strategic planning, structuring reward packages, retention initiatives and more. Perhaps most importantly, HR teams that offer MyEva to their workforce have unearthed patterns in staff behaviour, making connections between spiralling employee debt and their increased absence, for instance.

So, if we’re already old (or young) pros at data capture, why do we groan at the mention of ‘HR analytics’?! Using tech to reveal detailed information should be regarded as just one more tool in the arsenal of any true HRBP or similar, who is expected to constantly prove their contribution to a company’s bottom line. Tech has transformed life as we know it and HR teams are catching-up, mainly thanks to those who have the courage to lead impactful digital projects which are usually not labour-intensive and stem from the simple act of regularly analysing employee data - beats staying until 8pm each night to impress the boss!

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