Digital Strategy and Analytics for HR Professionals

Jaclyn Lee

We are living in a world of constant change as a result of rapid technological advancements and globalisation. Cross border bandwidths and flows of information have increased by 45 times compared to 2005. There are now 5.2 Billion users of global mobile phones, making the world more interconnected than before. Businesses are transforming as international operations become lean and efficient and workforce becomes more multi-location. For every job that is lost, 2.6 more are being created on the internet platform, making the virtual workforce grow by the day. The future of work is becoming more agile and responsive with purpose built networks and new employment relationships evolving. Digital disruptions and social networking are altering how organisations hire, manage and support people, and technologies are changing the way companies operate. As HR Practitioners of today and tomorrow, we will now need to move from managing to organising talents with data analytics and to transit from functional to multi-disciplinary work teams in order to develop new solutions and innovative processes for change. How do we embark on such a journey? Fundamental questions we should ask ourselves include:

  1. How can HR lead business leaders to shift towards a digital mind-set and a new way of managing and organising their workforce,
  2. How will HR change its processes in order to re-invent HR and employee experience in a digital world
  3. How can HR help to develop design thinking skills to enable mobile technology to that can make work easier, more productive and enjoyable for employees
  4. How can HR develop an analytics strategy so that they can have a more data driven approach to managing people.

HR leaders need to be able to understand what is happening in the marketplace, develop the right mind-set to develop solutions, as well as champion and obtain buy-in for digital transformation. This should also include the financial acumen to quantify value and return on investment for digital transformation. They can set an example by being the first to upgrade to a flexible inter-operable infrastructure to deliver seamless multi-channel experience for their stakeholders and moving from transactional HR to integrated platforms. An example of how such a transition from current HR Delivery methods to Digital HR is illustrated in Diagram 1:

Jaclyn Lee Diagram 1

Other ideas of using digital HR to manage the workforce include providing real time feedback to employees and managing them through social and learning platforms. This could be in the areas of:

  1. Engagement Feedback – Use of mobile platforms to conduct pulse surveys, and to provide customer feedback. This can also include engagement analytics that are on a real time interactive mode to enable supervisors to have a constant pulse of the workforce.
  2. Performance Management – This can include Goal Management, feedback, Check-ins, and Personality Assessment done through apps.
  3. Learning – Video Learning and Sharing, gamification, career planning, training and Certification on the go.
  4. Wellness and Work Management – Fitness Monitoring, Diet Wellness, Fitness Challenge, Wearable Devices to monitor health of employees
  5. Recognition and Rewards – Social Recognition, customer based recognition, anniversaries, community circles, affinity groups through social media platforms.

In developing applications, it is important to use Design Thinking to develop and test the platforms, thus ensuring the correct look and feel, as well as user acceptance. It is important that HR uses a more human-centred approach through a sequence of steps that comprise inspiration, ideation and implementation. In the design process, the designer regularly loops back to earlier stages to refine ideas and direction through iterative prototyping and testing, which is a departure from linear, milestone-based processes that are often used by organisations.

In addition, HR also needs to learn tools in design thinking to look at ways to improve their service processes and to introduce these tools to the workforce so that innovation, creativity and collaboration can occur in the workplace.

Man and Woman Holdign Tablet with Analytical Information

The fourth piece in moving towards digital HR is the topic of HR analytics. Why is data so important? Organisations today realized that good HR practices is no longer enough as we need a more data driven approach which can lead to evidence based HR, thus reducing human bias and subjectivity. When HR is able to make impact through analytics, they take on a more strategic role and are able to help their organisations gain a competitive advantage through clever use of data. Analytics also have a huge potential to increase return on investment when the numbers are tied to business outcomes and when predictions point to a range of possibilities that companies can plan for. Analytics also help us to answer questions such as:

  • Will our managers become better managers when they go for leadership training?
  • Is our current appraisal system effective?
  • Are we hiring the right people?
  • How effective are our resourcing processes?
  • What is the return on a top performing employee?
  • What is the correlation between health programs and benefit cost?

There are three types of analytics that can be employed to measure the effectiveness of our HR Practices (see Diagram 2). They are namely; Descriptive Analytics, Predictive Analytics and Prescriptive Analytics. In Descriptive Analytics, we use data to look at what has happened or is happening. In Predictive Analytics, we ask questions on what will happen and why did it happened. Lastly, in Prescriptive Analytics, we use Modelling and Scenario Planning to optimise our decision making.

Jaclyn Lee Diagram 2a

In HR Analytics, Descriptive and Predictive Analytics are commonly used as compared to Prescriptive Analytics. Start equipping yourself and your team today with analytics capabilities by signing up for training courses in Excel or big data systems to gain a better understanding of data management. In addition, you can also set up in house training programs to learn how to run regression models and other analytic tools, as well as go for boot camps in Strategic Workforce planning.

The world is transforming at a rapid speed through digital disruptions. As HR practitioners of a technological savvy workforce, we will need to jump onto the bandwagon to lead our organisations and ourselves into the digital economy!