2017 HR Industry Outlook: The Analytics Takeover

By Bertrand Dussert, VP, HCM Transformation & Thought Leadership, Oracle

Bertrand Dussert, VP, HCM Transformation & Thought Leadership, Oracle

Have you ever heard the old joke that HR is where data goes to die? Odds are, you have and that’s no surprise. Even today, many HR departments have not fully embraced analytics as a core component of their administrative processes, or even modern cloud technology for that matter. However, that will rapidly be changing in 2017.

Real-time reporting, advanced and predictive analytics, and big data benchmarks make administrative processes operate more efficiently and give HR departments time to focus on managing operational costs and retaining talent. As HR analytics evolve, HR leaders can empower their workforces to make better decisions, answer complex workforce questions, and compare how well their organization is doing in relation to competitors. Add in HR cloud technology to this endeavor, and your 2017 HR practices will be a key contender in advancing your company’s bottom line.

"As the adoption and integration of analytics across business processes grows, the traditional roles of the HR department will continue to evolve"

Analytics Challenge

Analytics isn’t just about data. Instead, the key to leveraging this data in HR departments lies with data owners. All too often data owners sit in department silos, unaware of how the data they and their counterparts collect, when combined and aggregated, can yield new business insights. While predictive analytics relies on structured data, numerous and diverse data sets can result in more useful unstructured data as well.

With disparate systems, each with different owners and objectives, HR departments must first break down information silos to streamline business processes. By introducing analytics technology, and potentially rethinking their functional org design in parallel, HR departments can eliminate these silos and enable teams to use consistent, real-time workforce data embedded throughout HR management and talent solutions to lower costs and drive better operational decisions.

There are industries that are already reaping the benefits of analytics technology in their HR departments. Industries with intense talent competition–such as banking, government and healthcare–are investing in HR technologies that will allow them to overcome attrition and succession challenges with data sets rich in actionable information.

Solving Age-Old Business Problems

An increasing number of companies are leveraging HR analytics to predict business performance and pinpoint the areas in their business process that can be optimized or improved.

HR departments have massive amounts of data that stem from their employees–from their daily role responsibilities, to team interaction, to the technology they use. By taking a deeper look at employee behavior, analytics can answer questions you might have thought previously impossible. Interested to learn where a gap in productivity, information security or quality assurance exists? Predictive analytics can not only lead to the source of the breakdown, but also provide forward-looking insights that illustrate how the issue may evolve. This gives HR departments the information they need to resolve these issues before they grow into major operational challenges. This also enables a business to retain and listen to their employees so that they can better perform in their role, ultimately yielding better results for a company’s bottom line.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

HR departments are constantly challenged to ensure they are attracting the right talent as well as retaining their current talent in today’s competitive marketplace. With people analytics, HR is able to collect data that summarizes the needs of their employees and pinpoint what the global workforce is looking for in a potential employer. To be most successful, HR analytics should be embedded into all HR systems, including recruitment, engagement, performance management, succession management and learning.

For example, HR departments can recommend job changes for employees who are more likely to yield high-performance results or training for employees to maximize their current roles based on the information obtained from people analytics. Analytics can also forecast who is likely to lapse or fall out of compliance in mandatory training and certification.

By embedding analytics and role-based dashboards throughout modern HR systems, relevant information on transactions and decision points can be funneled to each individual employee, reducing employee frustration, increasing productivity, and powering optimal decision-making.

Identifying Competitive Advantages

One factor that many HR departments do not take into account is how analytics can be leveraged to identify competitive differentiators–both for recruiting and promotional efforts.

With analytics technologies, HR can consolidate and make sense of large amounts of data across multiple organizations to create a benchmarking tool. This will enable HR to see exactly how its company relates to industry averages while also helping to uncover and address the operational areas that may fall behind. This data will equip HR departments with the information to answer critical questions about their workforce and determine how to best align talent strategies to business objectives.

As the adoption and integration of analytics across business processes grows, the traditional roles of the HR department will continue to evolve. Today, the ability to translate data insights into realistic HR programs and policies remain infrequent, but the tides are quickly changing. With the right analytics technologies in place, the depth and breadth of information companies can use to inform and improve the decision making process will alter the way people perceive traditional HR. 

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