The Overlooked Audience for HR Analytics

Workforce analytics.  Are they important?  Absolutely.  So why are they so rarely mentioned anywhere other than in H.R. publications and on H.R. themed-websites?  Perhaps because, until recently, businesses were slow to understand that the target audience for workforce analytics goes beyond H.R. professionals, critical as they may be.  Also referred to as H.R. analytics, H.R. analysis and H.R. metrics, workforce analytics provide an organization the information necessary to make decisions based on facts in order to address specific challenges, rectify areas of weakness or, in certain circumstances, completely alter the mission, direction or even purpose of the enterprise.

The knowledge and information once primarily derived from and used by the H.R. side of the house is now combined with data that resides in other company databases.  This data is used by every department to drive positive change in every corner of the organization.  The H.R. metrics relating to the human resources/human capital of an enterprise can, if purposed appropriately, maximize the effectiveness of not only those human resources but equipment, technology, office space, real estate and working capital as well.  

The highest and best use of the data mined from workforce analytics is that which identifies specific measurements that impact the business strategy of the organization.  Although most of those involve the human capital of your entity, the audience for those analytics is much broader than just the H.R. professionals under your roof.  

There is a larger audience for your workforce analytics, one that includes individuals every bit as important as, if not more than, your human resources executives.  The other managers that have specific needs your H.R. metrics can address include.

  • Line managers/front-line supervisors who have a need (often urgent) to identify skill gaps and require plans for replacement of personnel.  These managers require data that informs them if there is a training deficiency that impacts productivity and where that deficiency is.  Is there a communication gap that needs to be addressed?  H.R. analytics will help to spotlight such a situation.
  • Sales executives must constantly review productivity of the sales staff in order to evaluate not only performance but to assess and reassess compensation and reward programs.  Retention of key salespeople is desirable over replacement almost every time.
  • Workforce analytics provide critical information to the financial side of the house, whether it be the CFO, CPAs or simply the in-house accounts receivable and payable folks.  Constant cost analysis is necessary in order to make responsible and responsive decisions regarding vacancies, overtime, outsourcing, benefits, compensation, real estate and leasing, collections and so on.

Rather than focusing on any specific group as being an overlooked audience, workforce analytics should be viewed in the context of a general audience within your organization, one that consists of H.R., business/finance managers, executives and, last but not least, front-line supervisory personnel.  Workforce analytics should be mined for information that is beneficial not only to your H.R. Director but to those who have a financial mindset and make data-driven decisions who require clear and concise presentations of trends and data.

The greatest value of workforce analytics lies in the evaluation of the metrics, the ability to understand what they mean and the ease with which the results can be transmitted in a meaningful way within your organization, both in terms of productivity and strategic planning.  

Workforce analytics that provide significant data will enable you to to harness the power of that information in ways that will contribute to the growth, if not outright survival, of your enterprise.  Remember, information permits evaluation, evaluation leads to clarity and clarity generates effective communication.  And there's always a willing audience for that.