The APQC Blog

Workforce Analytics: Does HR Need it to Survive?

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard all of the buzz about analytics and the importance of it for your HR function. Though it is a newer idea for HR, social and behavioral scientists have been using predictive models for years to predict the behavior of individuals and groups. Yet it is only a recent trend that businesses are using analytics to help their workforces become more efficient and effective. Does HR really need analytics in order to survive? Business research and industry trends point to “yes.”

As an HR manager, have you wondered, “what characteristics lead to turnover?” or “what behaviors are indicative of top performance?” More and more, the business is turning to HR for answers to such questions because the workforce contributes heavily to an organization’s competitive advantage. However, the business doesn’t only want HR’s intuition on the topic. They want hard data to back up HR’s ideas, which is where analytics comes in. HR can present data and analyses to strengthen these ideas, making them even more powerful when talking to business leaders.

Are you an HR professional interested in analytics but unsure of where to begin? Or perhaps you’re worried that you do not have the technical skills. I’ve heard some HR professionals say that they are not good at math and statistics and that they shy away from analytics because of this. But, one does not need to be a math whiz to understand analytics. One of the most important parts of conducting good analytics is to ask the right questions, and HR can use its subject matter expertise for that purpose. In turn, experts on the analytics side can create the algorithms and models. HR needs to understand the questions to ask and what to do with the outputs, but it is not necessary for HR professionals to run the analytics themselves.

To get started on analytics, read up on industry trends in analytics. Listen to what kinds of questions can be answered by analytics. Talk to other HR professionals who are starting analytics in their functions. Attend trainings or professional development activities on the topic of analytics to hear how other companies are leveraging analytics in HR.

I will be at the Predictive Analytics World for Workforce conference in San Francisco from March 31st-April 1st. I will be there to listen to case study examples of how analytics is helping organizations become more effective and to hear about the new tools and techniques that analytics professionals are leveraging. I will be talking to industry leaders about the pain points and business problems that they hope to address using analytics. Interested in checking out the event? PAW Workforce is offering friends of APQC a 10% discount. To register, click here and enter APQCWF15 to take advantage of this great offer. I hope to see you there!

If you’re interested in sharing your analytics story or are interested in talking more about analytics and HR, I’ll be meeting with people at PAW Workforce to conduct interviews. Comment below or tweet me for more information!