How predictive people analytics are revolutionizing human resources

Shifting the HR focus to "market" to employees

​Treating individuals in today's diverse workforce in the same way, and providing them with the same information and communications, isn't the most effective approach. Segmenting the workforce based on employee needs and common characteristics can turn the model into an employee-centric one, in which data allows HR to focus on measures that matter to the employee, understanding and engaging with them on a new, deeper level.

Prioritizing employee experience

In today's consumer-driven, digital, on-demand world, it is easy to recognize the importance of understanding and developing offerings intended to please, even cater to, customers. Thinking about the customer experience is a "no-brainer," but what about your workforce? Not only are your employees participants in today's consumer-driven market, they are also your internal "customers."

In Deloitte's "Creating a consumer-grade experience for employees with digital HR," we provided examples of what human resources (HR) organizations can learn from successful customer service stories. Not prioritizing your employees' experience can open your business up to a host of issues—from those affecting HR, to those with the potential to hurt the bottom line. HR can help the entire organization optimize their approach to employee engagement, just as marketers emphasize with their target audiences.

Marketers closely examine their customers—and prospective and former customers—to truly understand their audience, and to engage them in a meaningful way that leads to not only a sale, but repeat business. If businesses are expending significant efforts to attract and retain customers, why not do the same for internal customers: employees? Shouldn't employees be treated and examined like the independent, valuable individuals they are?

Imagine a future in which HR could shift its focus to "market" to employees, mirroring strategies that marketers emphasize to attract customers. Imagine that HR could segment employees not only using the traditional groupings based on demographics and transactions but also via new, even more valuable segmentations based on employee needs and common characteristics. They may soon be able to, with the implementation of predictive people analytics practices.

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The current state of people analytics

The workforce is undergoing radical changes, with the need to manage more generations than ever before, often across continents, while addressing increasing worker expectations. Yet analysis of workforce issues is often lagging. Most organizations have made big investments to optimize customer, marketing, and financial analytics, but aren't taking the same approach to analyzing and understanding their workforce. Why is the management of talent, arguably an organization's largest and most important asset, not being treated as a business issue?

Traditionally, HR workforce analytics has consisted of data that has been segmented into categories driven by employee information such as level, location, cost, function, and tenure within the organization, as well as organizational workforce data like headcount and retention rates. This type of information, which results in more historical reporting than analytics, provides insight into how things are, and what people are doing, but not on why they do it, how they are contributing, or even what they might do in the future.

The more advanced form of analysis, people predictive analytics, can describe the factors that make for an engaged employee, and that define the optimized organizational model and culture. It involves applying data science to the workforce through "measures that matter"―those HR measurements that are vital to support broader business goals, objectives, and decisions. High-performing people analytics organizations are able to integrate data from myriad internal (and external) sources, conduct analytical studies, and provide insights through user-friendly, visually appealing technology platforms.

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Workforce analytics can help organizations comprehend the changing workplace

While many organizations are unaware of how to best address the disruptions affecting every business in every industry today, there are some organizations that are using people analytics to understand the complex workforce challenges. In fact, 71 percent of executives surveyed in our 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report said that people analytics is "very important" or "important."

Common focus areas include:

  • Attraction
  • Engagement
  • Productivity
  • Retention
  • Organizational design
  • Interaction
  • Development

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Our research finds:

Seventy-one percent of executives said that people analytics is "very important" or "important."

People analytics will continue to evolve

Despite the progress that is being made, people analytics has yet to reach its full potential. Many of the insights gleaned from today's data are fairly straightforward results of the integration of employee attribute, movement, and operational data. However, the people analytics of the future will likely pull in behavioral data to help uncover information that organizations have not yet been able to detect, like what drives future employee actions. And by having greater insight into the likelihood of future events, planners can make faster and more grounded decisions, resulting in increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Information could be gathered from a variety of sources that shed light on behavior—like social networking, collaboration tools and email, or internal documents, as well as human capital management (HCM) tools like Deloitte's ConnectMe, a digital workplace product that enables the workforce and managers to access all of their HR-related information through a personalized dashboard with content specific to their needs. ConnectMe also uses advanced analytics to allow HR to continually improve content and processes.

So where do we see people analytics in the future? We see HR beginning to use the new, predictive people analytics to think and behave more like marketing, using powerful insights to influence programming that attracts and retains employees—their most important customers.

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Learn more about using human capital management tools to glean insights into employee interactions.

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