While organizations have long understood the importance of people analytics and how it can be used to create value for the organization, employees can also benefit from access to its tools. By sharing people analytics measures with employees, organizations can foster a data-driven culture and improve operations in many areas, including for example, training and development, performance, employee engagement, and project staffing.
Training and Development
One key application of people analytics using statistical tools is to assess the effectiveness of training and development programs. Regression analysis, for example, allows you to examine whether or not two or more variables are related and can be used to assess the relationship between a specific training and performance outcomes. Take the example of a manufacturing plant: a plant manager can analyze the number of hours spent training employees and the number of injuries that occur in the plant, along with other potentially conflating factors, to determine if more hours of training leads to fewer employee injuries.
The basic purpose of conducting such a statistical analysis is to look for a connection between the training program and the desired outcome. If it is learned that the training program did not coincide with a positive impact, it is an indication that it may need to be improved or eliminated. This type of analysis can help identify strong training programs, leaving employees more equipped to find success in their positions.
Driving and Tracking Performance
For many employees, the process of having goals set during a yearly performance review, then revisiting those goals six months later, is a familiar one. That said, this approach may not drive performance if it is not supported by data. Setting what would otherwise be theoretical goals with data allows both employers and employees to track progress over time, see where expectations are being met, and assess where they might be falling short.
Though applicable to any industry, this type of data-driven goal setting can be seen clearly in the sales world. Salespeople have sales quotas given to them, which they are expected to achieve over a set period of time. When provided with precise data on their sales, it is far easier for employees to assess their own results and determine if they measure up to expectations. For employers, establishing a measurable, well-defined goal, as opposed to a generalized one, can help build a data-driven culture, and inevitably, generate positive performance results.
It is increasingly understood that engaged employees can lead to increased productivity, innovation, and a better bottom line. The question then becomes how people analytics can be applied to employee engagement, or how employee engagement can be measured through data.
Utilizing surveys to assess employee opinions on issues like the organization’s culture, future, leadership, and diversity, and sharing the results with employees, can promote employee engagement. From the perspective of employees, this practice helps foster the belief that their opinions are valued and that the organization is dedicated to improvement. From the perspective of employers, these surveys can shine a light on cultural weak spots in an organization and where additional efforts must be directed.
People analytics can also be used to match an organization’s project needs with workers possessing the right experience, technical skills, interests, and professional development goals. Tracking data on employees’ abilities and goals allows managers to fill specific staffing needs, once they identify the project’s scope. People analytics can also determine which employees are over- and underutilized.
Imagine that a large firm receives a contract demanding engineers with niche expertise. Should that company keep a log of which employees have such skills, the project will be executed faster and at a higher level. And when employees are matched with projects that suit them, and have manageable workloads, their talents will be maximized.
The implementation of people analytics will never act as a replacement for traditional human resources or great people skills. Rather, people analytics should compliment traditional human resource skills to more effectively diagnose problems and manage people. This type of data driven strategy not only builds a competitive advantage for your organization but benefits your employees by creating a data driven culture and providing them the resources to succeed on their individual career paths.