By Sheri Feinzig, Director of Research Integration, IBM Smarter Workforce

Leading analyst Josh Bersin recently pointed out that HR is sitting on a large amount of untapped data but is only just starting to get its act together. According to “Inside the mind of Generation D,” a study of how organizations are using data and analytics, HR is currently one of the lowest ranked functions in terms of benefitting from analytics. Our own data also supports this point: a recent IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and Institute for Business Value report found that “less than 20 percent of organizations are able to apply predictive analytics to address important people issues.”

So, how can HR realize the huge benefits analytics offers?

Pulling together advice from dozens of experts in the area of workforce analytics, the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute just published a practical guide to building an analytically enabled HR function, with step-by-step recommendations for the first 100 days. Here are the highlights:

Phase I (first 30 days) – Setting your direction

Develop a vision that links people issues to business success
Be clear about the scope of analytics in your organization – for greater impact, emphasize advanced analytics, such as predictive capability – and identify a project that will deliver a quick win to demonstrate early success
Understand the cultural and legal perspectives on data privacy in your region
Identify executive stakeholders and understand their key business challenges

Phase II (30-60 days) – Defining your approach

Identify available data that can be analyzed to address business challenges
Do not wait for perfect data, but do rely on subject matter experts to assess data quality
Agree on procedures for accessing data and select the appropriate tools for analyzing the data
Consider the benefits of cloud technologies for delivering analytics software as a service and minimizing capital expenditures




Phase III (60-90 days) – Growing your capability

Ensure the HR analytics team has a balance of skills – HR expertise and business savvy, in addition to technical data and analytical skills
Complete a business case and think about the analytics function as an internal consultancy
Link analytics work to business outcomes
Spread the word about your analytics projects and the insights generated

The ongoing journey (Day 90 to 100 and beyond) – Implement!

Analyze the links between the different identified data sources
Guide the development of analytical models to link HR practices to workforce outcomes and, ultimately, business outcomes
Ensure that actions are taken based on insights delivered from workforce analytics
Evaluate the impact of interventions undertaken as a result of insights from workforce analytics
We are facing the “perfect storm” for workforce analytics. New cost-effective technologies, predictive capabilities, access to data and the desire for clearer links to business outcomes are coming together to create the ideal opportunity for HR to realize the benefits of analytics.

And the journey to workforce analytics success, the first 100 days and beyond, starts now …


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