Employee Engagement

Almost half of HR professionals (44%) are now using data for workforce planning and reporting, a YouGov study commissioned by MHR Analytics has revealed.

Despite this, the survey of 500 HR leaders also showed most companies are not reaching their full potential with workforce planning analytics.

Laura Timms, Product Strategy Manager at MHR Analytics says: “There is lots of evidence about how analytics systems can improve workforce planning and ensure organisations can accurately forecast the people and competencies needed to achieve corporate goals.”

“For example, research by IBM found that organisations deploying workforce analytics systems are 66% more likely to increase HR performance efficiency without increasing headcount,” she says.

“This is especially important right now, with continued economic uncertainties, and as we brace ourselves to enter a new decade which will be more data-powered than ever before. If analytics is not yet an integral part of an organisation’s workforce strategy, there are many sound reasons to consider it sooner rather than later.”

Together with workforce planning expert Max Blumberg, MHR Analytics suggests five ways data-powered workforce planning can help companies negotiate unpredictable times:

  1. Real-time insights

Nearly three quarters (71%) of companies lack real-time insights into their workforce. A typical workforce planning approach involves teams juggling information between disparate spreadsheets, which can be time consuming and cause delays.

Without real-time insights, even the smallest of workforce shifts, such as someone receiving a bonus or pay rise, can quickly disqualify the data. This can leave managers in a constant state of cleaning up messes after they’ve happened.

Workforce analytics provides real time insights, enabling managers to make quick and accurate HR decisions, while staying on top of twists and turns in the business climate.

  1. Greater HR performance efficiency

Increasing HR performance without increasing headcount is a powerful approach. But what’s the secret behind greater efficiency without the extra spend?

Analytics automates many of the tedious admin tasks that often holds HR departments back.

It allows them to turn their attention from trying to make sense of complex spreadsheets, to delivering fresh workforce and organisational insights.

This empowers HR to find creative, valuable solutions to workforce problems and be more effective as a department, all without simply hiring more people to ‘get the job done.’

  1. Increased workforce ROI

Organisations that deploy workforce planning analytics are over four times more likely to increase the ROI across their entire workforce, making it a potent tool for negotiating economic fluctuations with confidence.

Workforce analytics allows decision makers to be intuitive to the needs of their organisation at any point in time. For example, with deep insights into employee performance, or ‘what-if’ scenario modelling to predict the impact of possible pay rises or employee training.

The more in-tune an organisation is with its workforce, the more it can optimise it. When an organisation begins to use analytics to improve ROI, it gains an increasingly holistic view, and therefore a better understanding, of how best to serve it. This helps managers change the narrative from ‘what can we do to cut costs?’ to ‘what can we do to further enhance our workforce?’

  1. Improved employee tenure and retention

With the average employee only staying with an organisation for two years, employee tenure and retention remains a hot topic.

Research shows that organisations that adopt workforce analytics are 49% more likely to hold onto their employees for longer.

This is because analytics lays out the facts, rather than managers simply crossing their fingers and hoping employees stay around. It provides flight risk metrics so managers can take early action and help prevent employees leaving. Aligning these insights with wellbeing and reward schemes also helps ensure employees don’t just stay, but stay happy.

  1. Intelligent succession planning and scenario modelling

A business will always need the right skills to support its vision for the future.

Workforce analytics not only helps businesses understand the skills they need to succeed as they grow, it also helps create a roadmap of how to obtain these skills. For example, a financial plan may indicate that a workforce requires a particular skill to meet future demands.

Workforce planning models can evaluate potential training costs and even build in a premium in case of the need to hire new talent, providing peace of mind that expenditure won’t exceed budget.

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