Get Your Crystal Balls Ready, HR Data Ninjas

Aaron Green

Question: What ratio of CEOs have cancelled or delayed strategic initiatives due to talent constraints?

Answer: 1 in 4, according to PwC. #SMH

There is a way to avoid this continuing to happen… HR, it is time to embrace your inner Data Ninja!

HR analytics and workforce planning

Effective workforce planning is more than understanding costs, hiring trends, and attrition. It’s about having fluency with economic and business factors, then using this information to model scenarios to achieve optimal business outcomes.

Although companies generally have useful workforce data distributed across the business, fewer than 22% of those surveyed by Harvard Business Review felt able to leverage this data.

This means that 78% struggled to connect and analyze workforce data as a basis for talent-related discussions.

Many organizations understand that people drive everything they do (as part of the organization and as customers), and see the value in workforce planning, but they are getting stuck on the basics. For instance, do you have a complete and accurate view of all workforce-related costs? Can you apply historical resignation, retirement, and involuntary turnover rates to plans? To be effective, HR must have both the data and the skill to understand what the data tells them.

Digital HR means embracing digital technologies into our HR service delivery. This isn’t a rallying cry for HR to become statisticians – it’s a rallying cry for HR to own the conversation within an organization about its people-related data. Part of this is upskilling and bringing data fluency to the table; the other part is having the data itself available – ideally with a sophisticated digital HR platform.

Technically speaking…

Here’s what HCM tech brings to the (workforce planning) table

  • Make informed decisions: Formulate your strategy with confidence knowing your people forecasts are based on credible workforce data from across your business systems
  • Mitigate risks: Identify the skills and competencies needed to meet your growth strategy, as well as any gaps produced by workforce projections and the associated risks
  • Optimize your results: Dynamically model different workforce scenarios and understand their financial implications – in real-time.

With that said, even with state-of-the-art HR technology in place to capture, track, and mine the necessary data, very few organizations have the analytical and interpretive skills within their HR teams necessary to transform this raw data into meaningful insights. Increasingly we will find that HR will need to nurture and cultivate its inner Data Ninja to continue in its rightful role as a strategic business partner.

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Aaron Green

About Aaron Green

Aaron Green is the VP and GM of SAP SuccessFactors for Australia and New Zealand. In this role, Aaron leads a business that enables organisations of all sizes to deliver extraordinary results for their People & Culture strategies. Aaron researches and identifies emerging trends in the practice of Human Resources and Workforce Management to deliver industry-leading innovation for organisations around the world. Aaron speaks extensively around the world with an emphasis on shifting workforce demographics.   Prior to 2004, Aaron held a variety of leadership positions in Human Resources at Sun Microsystems, Logitech and Lexmark International in Asia and Western Europe