Workforce Analytics is a Journey and a Process

Workforce Analytics is a Journey and a Process Posted by Rishi Agarwal on April 12, 2012

The journey
Many HR organizations have a desired destination in mind, one where they have the analytics capability to make predictions about their workforce for which they can then develop targeted responses. For example, they want to be able to predict the likelihood of turnover for a particular role or individual, so they can devise specific retention strategies. Or they want to predict which high potentials have the best chance of success as a senior leader. In our experience, there are many steps on the workforce analytics journey and organizations sit at different points along the journey based on their information maturity.

The workforce analytics journey

Workforce analytics journey

Source: Deloitte Analytics

Knowing your starting point comes first. For some organizations, the “You are here” dot falls squarely at step one: data quality and integrity. Some aren’t even sure how many employees they have and many don’t have global data standards. Those farther along are able to convert data into basic reports: employee lists and extracts, compliance reporting and the like. Some have moved on to being able to perform basic analytics for a single process, such as recruiting, using a single source of data. Next are those who can integrate multiple sources of data (HR and nonHR) to conduct cross-functional and cross-process analytics, such as sales force effectiveness. Finally, are those organizations that have reached the sought-after destination and are able to conduct advanced predictive analytics about their organization, workforce and jobs.

The process
Workforce analytics is a process enabled by technology. It is helpful to start by tackling a particular workforce issue and seeing it through—from data to insights to actions. For example, suppose you have critical skills gaps in your workforce that need to be filled. Here’s how you might proceed.

What’s  the issue?

Skills gaps in our workforce—critical jobs are unfilled

What do we need to know to tackle the issue?
  • What skills and competencies apply to those jobs?
  • How can we decrease time to hire to fill the gaps sooner?
  • How can we reduce our sourcing cost?
What data/reports/measures are available (or needed)?
  • Critical Jobs report
  • Applications by Job report
  • Applications by Source report
  • Time to Fill Critical Jobs report (by time period)
  • Open Requisitions by Critical Jobs report
  • Internal Movement report (by location, skills, and competency)
What insights do the data offer?
  • Time to fill critical jobs has doubled
  • Number of vacancies has increased in key organizations
  • Internal skills and competency are not filling the void
  • Certain sources are not providing skilled candidates
  • Applicant pool is shrinking
What actions could we take based on the insights?
  • Reduce sources/suppliers not providing good candidates
  • Increase applicant pool using social recruiting techniques (e.g., social networking sites; professional networking sites)
  • Change hiring policies to recruit from other countries
What might be the results of those actions?
  • May decrease sourcing costs by 40 percent
  • May decrease time to hire by 25 percent
  • May increase costs to issue visas for overseas candidates, but lower salary/compensation levels
  • May increase productivity leading to increase in sales

The process allows you to focus on an issue and can be enabled by technology. You can leverage your investments in existing technology systems, or cloud-based analytics solutions are also a good way to jump-start your effort without incurring the in-house costs to host, license, implement and support an analytics platform.

In summary, organizations need to decide their place on the journey based on the information maturity, focus on the workforce issue and use technology as an enabler. The important thing is to act on the analysis; otherwise analytics quickly becomes shelfware. Positive results at the basic level can help build momentum for future analytics initiatives.

Rishi Agarwal Rishi Agarwal is a principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP and the national co-leader for the Workforce Reporting and Analytics practice. He is a frequent speaker and writer on the topic of Workforce Analytics.

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