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How people analytics can create a culture of care and success

Article by Vikrant Kapur - Head of People at Better.com India

2020 was a big year for human resources/ people teams. HR played a pivotal role in responding to Covid-19, shifting to remote work, engaging the workforce and maintaining workplace equity. However, 2021 will test HR teams to the max — many challenges still need to be addressed such as employee experience, employee well-being in both remote and hybrid workplaces and continued adoption of technology in HR.

Over the past year, we have witnessed companies adopt digital transformation and collaboration and it has been no different for the HR sector either. Soon after Covid-19 hit, companies began to realise that using data sources might be beneficial in managing human capital more effectively, help make informed fact-based decisions, measure organisational productivity and ensure greater employee engagement. The move towards adopting people analytics comes amid a sea of changes in the way people work given the ongoing crisis, additionally, there has been a need to break away from manual interventions in HR, which prove to be costly and ineffective in the long-term.

Goodbye Manual HR Processes, Hello People Analytics
Thus far, several organisations and whole industries were lagging behind in the adoption of analytics and technology; it was a wait and watch in several cases. However, the pandemic has propelled the widespread adoption of digital transformation in HR. Companies are now understanding that there is no other option than to look at analytics and AI based transformation – talent is now, truly, being enabled with technology.

A Deloitte survey found that while 71 percent of companies see people analytics as a high priority in their organisations (31 percent rate it very important), progress has been slow. After years of discussing this issue, only 8 percent report they have usable data; only 9 percent believe they have a good understanding of which talent dimensions drive performance in their organizations; and only 15 percent have broadly deployed HR and talent scorecards for line managers. One of the reasons for the low adoption of people analytics is that companies have a closed approach to analytics in HR, and readiness remains a serious issue.

However, as organisations are becoming increasingly digital, they are shifting towards building the new organisation – one where agility and collaboration are critical and especially useful in remote and hybrid work environments. Embedding analytics in HR can lead to better managing the workforce, rethinking organisational models, and leveraging data to make better predictions and decisions.

So, how can people-analytics benefit businesses?

Insightful decision-making: The increased use of analytics in HR helps add value to organisations by applying it to improve scouting talent, recruiting, on-boarding, training, performance improvement, attrition, boosting employee engagement, retention and everything in between. People analytics provides organisations with more data sets enhancing clarity in perspectives by providing a single source of truth and viewing talent data across the employees’ hire-to-retire cycle.

Recruiting right: The use of predictive analytics models can help companies find the right candidates and AI processes can remove human biases which have long been a bottleneck in the talent acquisition industry. Furthermore, AI software can analyse virtual interviews to gauge a candidate’s personality and honesty. People analytics takes guess-work out of the equation and helps meet the exact criterion an employer is looking for.

Improving retention: Analytics models make it easier to understand drivers for attrition. By focusing on personalisation employers can give recommendations and feedback through an individual employees’ experience-lens.

Improving employee experience, engagement and creating a culture of care: An extremely exciting use case has been to generate data visualisation of employee well-being and employee experience heatmaps that could be drilled down to specific areas or interventions needed, while maintaining employee anonymity.

People analytics, data visualisation and AI-powered softwares can create room for transparency, accountability and enhanced employee experiences. Tools can now account for time management, work-life balance, learning-development, feedback, performance data, etc. and use the data to design compelling employee experiences, improve wellness initiatives, increase diversity, optimise workforce planning, analyse compensation benefits, and drive greater business performance.

Technology is Transforming People Analytics in a Covid-19 World
Particularly in the current context, technologies can be used to create a safe workplace experience for employees by bringing the focus on mental and physical well-being. Businesses can use HRMS tools, chatbots or instant pulse surveys to keep track of the pulse of their employees to understand satisfaction, emotional state, engagement and provide advice, especially important in a rapidly changing environment. With real-time analytics companies can immediately capitalise on opportunities, make smart decisions pertaining to employee health and wellbeing, run skills analysis to optimise vacancies, and repurpose employees to fit into openings within the company, and overall, keep track of the effects of the pandemic on employees.

Organisations which are better equipped to make smarter HR choices during the ongoing pandemic are more likely to succeed in the long-term. In this context, companies are taking decisions which will impact their effectiveness as an organisation which cares for its employees. Jobs are only going to get more varied, diverse and distributed – and we will continue to witness the use of technology to drive communication and collaboration, and improve the quality of employee experience. By making more informed, data-backed decisions, organisations stand to gain employees trust, and greater business success. And while we can’t control the crisis at hand, we can control the information we have access to and how we decide to use it.

    As Head of People, Vikrant Kapur is responsible for strengthening people practices, agendas and systems for Better.com - India, and increasing the company’s overall visibility in the Indian talent community. Vikrant has over 19 years of work experience in creating value for brands, and has built top-line and bottom-line impact through innovative and transformative programs to establish truly winning strategies.

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