Workforce Analytics: Do You Know How Much Your People Matter?
April 01, 2010

An organization’s most valuable asset is its workforce – the people who make everything work, for better or worse. This perspective has been a driving force in the transformation of traditional human resources processes into talent management, the effort to ensure that every individual in the workforce contributes maximum value. In organizations of all sizes a range of new talent management applications support not just HR but executives and managers of the workforce. These tools help them inspire workers as part of performance assessment at all stages of individual careers, from recruitment and onboarding through to compensation, incentives and succession management. As I wrote in “Assess Your Workforce and Motivate Your Talent” , organizations need to push themselves to be smarter and more effective in this critical area.

Yet many still lack insight on the workforce from a measurement perspective even though tools can provide metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that can assess people, processes and governance, risk and compliance (GRC). The majority of organizations struggle to collect information from silos of reports from various application providers or rely on dashboards that just provide partial visibility into the whole picture. When it comes to analysis, their capabilities are rudimentary compared to other areas of the organization. They need to understand the value that workforce analytics can provide to maximize their return on the labor investment and ensure that talent tenure is at the maximum length desired.

Workforce analytics is not as difficult as the term may sound, but it does require that a dedicated process and trained resources are responsible for conducting activities to support the management and oversight of the workforce. In most cases the initial analysis of your current set of competencies will reveal many areas for improvement, and having a more methodical, timely review process can ensure that you are doing your best to improve. Workforce analytics can take you far beyond reporting from your human resources management system (HRMS) or the dashboard from a single talent management application provider. The robustness of workforce analytics is not about having the best data tumblers in a spreadsheet and pushing charts to a presentation; those manual efforts and personal approach to data are proven to increase the risk of embarrassing errors.

Do not take a general approach to improving analysis of the workforce; you need an investment that will add value over the next three to five years, not one that is designed for just the problem at hand. Getting your arms around the problem will not be easy, as many organizations have valuable data dispersed across applications that are being hosted by third-party talent management providers or still locked inside your legacy HRMS. You need a strong foundation of data-derived knowledge, and integration and consistent quality will be important. Innovative organizations will be able to create master data that can bring together all data related to any employee, which makes the whole process of workforce analytics much easier. Establishing the data foundation will make the analysis and collaboration on workforce management and metrics enlightening and even fun. Make sure you have the analytics and capabilities that will support front line managers to top line executives and everyone in between including analysts that can interact and assemble the analysis for review and most importantly action and collaboration.

If you are trying to address your talent management opportunity and challenge, I encourage you to participate in our latest benchmark research on workforce analytics. What you learn from the results can help drive improvement in your organization.

Learn More about our Workforce Analytics Benchmark.

Let me know your thoughtsor come and collaborate with me on Facebook,LinkedInand Twitter. 


Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research


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