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Five reasons to get better at data-driven HR

Emelie Heikura
Date Published:
March 2023
minute read
Five reasons to get better at data-driven HR

Even before the pandemic, almost three-quarters of global organisations rated people analytics as a high priority. The massive workforce changes we’ve seen since, combined with challenging business conditions, mean people data is more important than ever.

And no wonder: two-thirds of organisations with a strong people analytics culture report stronger performance than competitors.

But the same research finds that “the HR profession continues to lack the skills and confidence to undertake advanced levels of people analytics”. Globally, only 41% of HR professionals expressed confidence with advanced HR analytics.

Growing your data-driven HR abilities should be an urgent priority for your team for 2023. Here’s why.

Why data-driven HR is so powerful

Let’s talk about why people analytics is so powerful – for your people, the business, and your team.

1 – Increase HR’s impact

People data is genuinely transformative for your biggest people outcomes. Lee Watts, Head of People Operations at Kurtosys, puts it this way:

“Picture this. A world where you can accurately and intelligently predict human behaviour within your workforce.

Just think about how valuable this unknown information would be. Can you envision the potential strategic business growth that would be enjoyed by transparently collecting, understanding, and using this data, to impact the organisation and its employees in a positive and meaningful way?”

Collecting, analysing, and acting on insights from your people empowers you to solve your knottiest problems and drive true change. Within ten months of Lee’s team implementing technology to gather real-time employee insights, Kurtosys:

• Increased eNPS from 9 to 23

• Reduced attrition by 10%

• Increased net headcount growth by 6%

• Achieved consistent active employee engagement at 90%+

Watch our recent webinar with Lee and Kurtosys to learn more about transforming employee engagement with HR data.

Impressive results – and even more impressive when you consider the competitive context:

Global employee engagement is only 21%

Attrition is increasing for 26% of small organizations and 53% of large organizations

Global talent shortages hit a 16-year high in 2022, with 3 in 4 employers struggling to find the talent they need to fulfil headcount targets

In almost every global workplace, engagement is a major problem. Stress, a major problem. Burnout. Attrition. Skills shortages. Rising recruitment costs.

But Kurtosys bucked the trend. Achieving results like these when almost every other organisation is struggling is a major strategic advantage. That’s the power of people data.

2 – Boost HR’s credibility and influence

Strong HR leadership is a defining trait of the most successful companies. But stepping into business partnership position from a support or administrative role can be challenging.

Many organisations still view HR as a reactive, back-office function and can be resistant to the relationship shifting. Building your data and analytics muscle can be instrumental to helping you change perceptions, building both capability and credibility.  

As international HR thought-leader Dr. John Sullivan points out:

“If you analyse functions like finance, supply chain, CRM, IT, and marketing you will find common key drivers of success. They include data-driven analytical decision-making, having everything digital and connected, showing in dollars how their actions directly impact strategic business goals, continuous improvement measures and being forward-looking.”

Better people data empowers your team to make data-driven, evidence-based decisions based on what’s really happening now – and what’s going to happen tomorrow. That’s how you become an invaluable strategic resource.

The right platform will make interpreting data simple, so you can easily make credible, effective recommendations on how the business should tackle its biggest people problems.

3 – Improve the quality of managers

Developing better managers is one of the most powerful mechanisms an organisation has to improve revenue, by increasing engagement, retention, productivity and workforce efficiency.

That’s why a 1% increase in effective leadership drives a 53.6% increase in organisational performance.

But manager performance often falls short, even though strengthening leadership is a major priority for HR leaders.

Empowering managers with people data is an answer. The CIPD say line managers who use people data to make decisions is a major hallmark of a strong people analytics culture and the concordant performance gains, for instance.

The right employee insights platform should disseminate people data to managers – in real-time, with simple visualisations that don’t demand any specialist skills but do impact the metrics they care about most, like team productivity and performance.

4 – Guide smarter resource decisions

Data-driven HR is like switching the lights on across your workforce. You can suddenly see what’s really happening at granular level, to understand:

• Which teams and departments drive the most impact for the business

• Which people problems are coming up and how best to solve them

• Which managers might need more support

Armed with these insights, you can make smarter decisions about where to invest HR resource to have the biggest impact.

Lee’s experiences with Kurtosys are another great example of this. As he explained in our recent webinar, people data has empowered his team to introduce a whole host of tangible changes that are driving immediate impact for their people. Like:

• Developing an internal learning forum

• Tweaking their benefits programme

• Offering bonus awards for longstanding employees

• Investing into a booking tool to make hybrid collaboration easier

• Increasing subsidies for office-based workers

• Rolling out a perennial wellness programme

• Subscribing to an important industry press  

Catch-up with the webinar now.  

5 – Empower agility and innovation

Whatever your industry, it’s a good bet that agility and innovation are key to your success.

People data helps you proactively build a culture that selects for these traits to hire, engage, and retain the people who are your biggest innovators and problem-solvers.

Culture creation is another major advantage of data-driven HR that Lee talks about. In our recent webinar he shares his team’s data-driven process for designing and building the optimum culture to deliver value as a business, hinging on better employee experience data.

Ultimately, arming your team, leaders, managers, and employees with better people data allows you to make previously ‘soft’ factors into hard, tangible truths. As Lee says:

“How do we quantify passion? How do we measure it? How do we check we’re hiring, engaging, and retaining people in service of that mission? Rich people data creates a single source of truth about something that’s traditionally really hard to measure, so you can attribute dollar values and create true behaviour change”.

Harnessing people data is easier than you think

People analytics is often somewhat shrouded in mystery, especially for smaller and medium-sized organisations without much analytics experience.

Building capability and confidence working with data needn’t be so complicated. A good platform should make data-driven HR simple, by automatically collecting data about your people and visualising insights in clear, impactful dashboards so you can make positive changes.

Watch our two-minute demo video to learn more about Winningtemp.

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Emelie Heikura
About the Author
About the Author
About the Author
Om författaren
Emelie Heikura
With over 10 years of experience working in HR, Emelie is very passionate about employee engagement. In her current role as Employee Experience Manager at Winningtemp, she focuses on shaping and facilitating the employee-centric initiatives across the organisation. By combining her knowledge in exciting scientific areas such as positive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and leadership, she acts as an internal consultant to intentionally design a high rewarding, motivating, integrated and end-to-end valuable employee experience at Winningtemp.

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