People Analytics in the HR Trenches – Make Your Spreadsheets Work for You

As HR leaders aspire to implement a “People Analytics” strategy in an attempt to be evidence-based and data-driven when addressing retention, engagement, diversity and inclusion challenges, most HR analysts, generalists, business partners and managers continue to battle common reporting challenges. Dealing with complex spreadsheets and inconsistent data has prevented organizations from evolving their People Analytics plans into a reality with business outcomes.

Unfortunately, for most of you, your spreadsheets are not going away any time soon. They are the best way to normalize data for the charts, graphs and dashboards you need for visualization. Even when using a data visualization tool like Tableau or even a smart data discovery tool like IBM Watson Analytics, the most common data source for these is a spreadsheet. But, to truly leverage the power of these tools and gain real workforce intelligence, you need data from multiple data sources.

Employee engagement is influenced by surveys, performance reviews/rankings, feedback, development and learning, succession plans, compensation, merit increases, benefits, safety, diversity, inclusion and more. Gathering insights from each could entail working with four or five different HR systems.

Retention and employee churn could also require working with a number of disparate data sources. Identifying flight risk could involve pulling data as it relates to engagement, reporting structures, tenure, company revenue, profitability, hiring and development, commute details, company location, etc. Again, multiple HR systems are likely to be involved.

Talent acquisition has always measured time-to-fill, but today organizations need to analyze talent pipelines, candidate engagement, brand effectiveness, channel effectiveness, and top performer indicators. In addition to applications, interviews and hiring rates, recruiters need to examine data relating to employment web traffic/abandon rates, social media sentiment, geographic details and more.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance reporting requires organizations to provide employee details including hours worked, salary, benefit enrollment and affordability calculations – all of which rely on time and attendance, payroll, benefits, and your core HR platform data.

Now consider how many back office HR systems you have in place and their location, as most organizations have multiple Human Capital Management (HCM) systems in place, some on premise, some in the cloud, others outsourced to a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) solution.

Data preparation makes access and blending easy

The good news for HR is that the data needed to embrace People Analytics is abundant, and now even more accessible. To make People Analytics attainable, HR pros are enabling themselves with self-service analytics, by adopting data preparation tools that simplify the access and blending of multiple data sources into a spreadsheet or a visualization solution. Using data prep, one can develop a clear picture of the best candidate for certain roles by linking that individual’s performance data with their recruitment analysis. This could also help to identify where HR should spend its time and money sourcing candidates. Hiring execs can also uncover how candidates have matured over time and determine what an individual’s value level to the company is. Data prep can also provide workforce planning assistance by helping pros pull and combine labor and economic projection data with industry and population trends.

Better access to HR data can support overall operations by providing insight into how companies can improve their leadership development programs and how they can create more effective training activities. Even historical reports and PDF documents can easily be pulled into a data prep tool and appended to your spreadsheet data.

Furthermore, self-service data preparation tools simplify the analytics process for HR pros through automation. This means the extraction, blending and manipulation of data is a far less time consuming process – particularly when it comes to data found in disparate sources. This includes turnover reports, new hire budget analysis and compensation data found in systems such as Workday, ADP, Kronos and SuccessFactors. Time spent prepping data can instead be used analyzing it to make more accurate and strategic HR decisions such as choosing which retention programs are worth maintaining, deciding who to hire and determining salary. And equally as important, the sensitive nature of employee data is addressed with features like built-in data lineage and masking, while automating processes to make them repeatable and consistent.

You would be hard pressed to find an organization that couldn’t benefit from access to better and faster People Analytics. Not only can the data uncover insights for use in day-to-day decision making, but it can make an incredible difference in recruiting and maintaining the right workforce for years to come and how that workforce can positively impact your company’s bottom line.

Find out how data preparation helped one company in San Bernardino county cut down HR data processing from weeks to hours in this case study.

Want to try self-service data prep in action? Download your free trial of Monarch today!