The term “analytics” gets tossed around carelessly these days. Like tech companies talking about “artificial intelligence” or job applicants’ not-so-clever use of “proficient in Microsoft Word,” people can use the term “analytics” to mean just about anything. For HR analytics to be worthwhile, they must provide useful insights for your business and in-depth analysis of broader trends.
Let’s start by clarifying these terms as they apply to Human Resources.
What is included in HR Analytics and Reporting?
The process of HR analytics can be broken down into three main components: data, analysis, and reporting.
You’ll need to start by identifying useful data points, or metrics. The data needs to be quantifiable because numbers are easier to compare on a large scale.
Accordingly, qualitative variables like employee satisfaction are easier to analyze with quantitative data points like numerical surveys and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) like turnover. KPI’s reflect priority issues for your industry, like revenue and productivity.
HR software makes it easier to collect and process data automatically, from absenteeism to the relative popularity of different employee benefits.
Collecting numbers is only the beginning. You’ll also need to compare recent and long term data for context. Was the company this short-staffed last month? Are seasonal patterns (like holiday vacations) skewing short term data?
Some KPI’s need to be calculated from multiple data points, like “time to hire” and “offer acceptance rate.” Analysis provides context for a fuller picture of circumstances and the overall health of the business.
Reports may be the starting point as well as the end product of HR analytics. Your raw data (metrics) may be collected from a variety of automatic reports.
You already have recordkeeping systems for tracking weekly employee hours, productivity, and absenteeism. Processing and analyzing that data highlights meaningful trends and answers questions about whether current policies need changes.
Reporting highlights the key findings of data analysis, making it easy to see and understand results.
From what HR processes can you collect data?
In reality, you can and should collect data from every HR process your company run. The easiest way to collect data for HR analytics is to make sure you are using single-source HR software. Each stage of the employee lifecycle (and ongoing productivity) can be managed and measured with the right software.
LEARN: The Stages and Benefits of Employee Lifecycle Management
How long does it take you to fill a posted opening? How long does the application process take for new hires? Track your efficiency and success rate with recruiting software.
How many new hires complete 100% of the training process? Could you save with virtual onboarding? How many new hires stay longer than 1 year?
READ: Making a PACT: The Four Keys to Successful Onboarding
Exactly how much does performance vary between individual employees? Are absenteeism and tardiness affecting productivity? Are remote workers as efficient as on-site staff?
How many employees completed required training on schedule? Quiz workers before and after training sessions to check effectiveness. Cross train employees and close skill gaps with a Learning Management System.
DISCOVER: Seven Reasons Why You Need a Learning Management System
Which benefits are most (and least) popular with employees? How many employees missed the deadline for open enrollment? Could emerging benefits or perks improve retention?
The 4 types of HR analytics
What’s happening right now? Descriptive analytics take a magnifying glass to observable trends, giving you quantifiable metrics for KPI’s and cultural shifts. Where the managers of past generations usually knew about staffing and productivity problems, analytics provide a higher level of resolution and specificity.
What’s causing the problem? Diagnostic analytics require more data points and careful management, but the potential rewards are worthwhile.
Recruiting problems can always find a dozen anecdotal excuses. The classic cliché of “good help is hard to find” has morphed into a politically charged “nobody wants to work these days.” Look past biases with objective data about employee satisfaction and identify opportunities for improvement.
Predictive analytics are less popular (and generally less reliable) than descriptive analytics, but they can play a role in major decisions.
What would happen if you replaced the least popular benefits at your company with more desirable alternatives? How much would a performance bonus cost your company in the next quarter? How much of a staffing shortage should you expect next Christmas?
Predictive analytics are as fallible as local weather forecasts, but they can still be helpful in deciding how to approach complicated proposals like changing holiday leave and new bonuses.
Anyone can identify a problem, but it’s harder to develop a plan to fix it. Prescriptive analytics take a mathematical approach to problem solving. By applying predictive math to different solutions, can you tell which response is likely to yield the best results?
Prescriptive analytics require a more robust investment in analytics, but they can help avoid common human errors in problem solving. Just like humans see problems through their own personal perspective, managers and business leaders bring personal biases to problem solving. Sometimes an outside recommendation is all that’s needed to shake up the status quo and inspire innovation.
How can you use HR analytics?
The data might seem self-explanatory, but you’ll want to have specific objectives to make the best possible use of HR analytics. Establish clear goals so that you know which KPI’s to prioritize.
Retention – Replacing employees is expensive. Assess the main causes of turnover. Reduce the total cost of recruiting and training new hires by keeping experienced workers happy.
Employee Engagement – How many employees demonstrate interest in additional training and career advancement? Track and compare individual productivity across departments.
READ: The Future of HR: New Roles Emerge to Boost Engagement and Retention
Diversity & Inclusion – How do employees feel about the current makeup of your organization? Are minority employees less likely to be considered for promotions?
Company Culture – How many employees participate in workplace giving and other community initiatives? Track complaints and absenteeism as well as positive mentions on social media.
When it comes to HR reporting and analytics, your potential payoff justifies a considerable investment of resources. You need to make the best possible use of applicants, new hires, and seasoned employees, not just for the sake of efficiency, but fundamentally for the success of your company in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Take advantage of HR analytics to give your business an edge against competitors who are too slow to adapt and innovate.
Learn more about how Netchex collect, analyze, and report on critical HR analytics:
Learn more about our HR Reporting & Analytics software. Netchex makes collecting, analyzing, and reporting on HR Analytics easy, straightforward, and worry-free.
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