HR gets analytical

HR gets analytical

HR analytics have come a long way from the haphazard insights gleaned from Excel spreadsheets. A new report suggests that a new era of advanced workforce reporting will transform the HR function.

Advanced workforce reporting and analytics is shaping up to be one of the key trends in HR, according to a new global report from Deloitte. As noted in the report, although many organisations have been using workforce reporting and analytics to assist in making more informed decisions about their human capital, many of these insights have been retrospective – prescriptive rather than predictive.

However, a new wave of analytical tools and techniques, such as predictive modelling, were making it possible for organisations to glimpse into the future and make informed predictions that they could then develop into targeted solutions, Nicky Wakefield from Deloitte Consulting said. “Organisations are reducing labour costs, improving productivity and employee effectiveness and managing risk more efficiently by capitalising on the latest workforce reporting tools and analytic techniques.”

Advanced analytics was helping leading organisations retain top talent and increase their leadership pipelines by looking deep into their workforces to anticipate which employees were most likely to reach the top, Wakefield said. “Our workforces are often global and more complex, so advanced analytics helps HR and business leaders cut through complex issues, such as controlling labour costs, generating more value from the workforce and offering valuable insights using useful workforce data.”

Earlier this year, Eugene Burke from SHL, told HRM’s sister publication, HCA, that prescriptive analytics would only get organisations so far. “HR need better data that’s going to tell them about what happens tomorrow, not what happened yesterday.”

HR professionals needed to transform the way they look at and interpret the data they already often have at their fingertips, gathered from the recruitment process, from 360-degree reviews and other sources, Burke said. “You’re not extracting the best information from that data. It’s not a ‘use once, throw away’ kind of piece. You can use that data in a more aggregated way to get a much better picture of the people profile. Don’t just transact with it, use it in some way to answer those questions.”

The Deloitte report identified five important issues for organisations using workforce reporting and analytics:


  • Start small and build momentum: Use data to drive practical decisions so organisations can start to see the value, making it easier for additional investment.
  • Focus on capabilities, not just solutions: Desirable capabilities include the skills to design the analytics, interpret findings and then translate the findings to actions.
  • Leverage existing technology investments: Use the systems and data currently available with better integration and controlled access.
  • Consider cloud to jump-start the effort: Costs, lead time and capital expenditure can be reduced using a Cloud vendor to host reporting and analytics infrastructure.
  • Use what you learn: Reporting and analytics delivers insights to enable smarter decision making so business leaders can effectively manage a complex and increasing global workforce.