People Analytics More Important Than Ever During Pandemic




Analytics during pandemic

Workforce data is playing a big role in how the pandemic impacts the economy as jobs numbers are highly scrutinized front page news and organizations scramble to understand where they can scale back and how their people are coping in remote work environments.

In times of crisis, when the flow of information is vital to survival, many in HR are turning to data in the form of people analytics efforts. Whether hiring or firing, examining data, engaging the current workforce or assessing effectiveness of leadership and efforts to reopen the workplace, people analytics is giving HR teams the insights needed to become a more effective business partner.

Recruitment and Retention

Finding the right candidate is now drastically different than it was just six months ago. The talent pool has expanded significantly, giving employers more to consider when fleshing out which candidate is the best fit for them.

To do so, HR and recruiting teams need to rely on a blend of analytics and behavioral mapping techniques. By looking at the candidate’s past performance, personality and demographic data and seeing how they respond in specific situations and environments, employers can make a more informed decision about a candidate.

Coupled with conscious efforts sniff out and eliminate bias in the process, this can also lead to more diverse workforces as decisions are based on more than gut feelings and perceptions.

Meanwhile, on the retention side, people analytics efforts can be supported by survey data that gauges how employees are doing when it comes to everything from feelings of isolation to perceptions of returning to the office, burnout and productivity scoring.

READ: When is the Best Time to Survey Employees? Now!

The fact is that 2020 has been a bit of a strange year, with very little vacation time taken and employee work hours blurred can lead to higher levels of frustration from employees and create problems for leaders look to inspire and empower their teams.  

As a result, HR will need to engage the workforce regularly, capturing survey and performance data and consulting with managers to guide them on what their teams are doing right and where they may need to make adjustments that will lead to a happier staff and better business outcomes. In fact, that relationship to the business is a big area of opportunity during the crisis.

Lucy Adams, former HR Director at the BBC, spoke at a recent HR conference, highlighting the need for HR to step up and help drive the business forward, not just personnel.

“We have to respond, recover and reinvent. We have to adapt to new conditions,” Adams said. “Can I care for our employees while regaining a place in the marketplace? We can’t just wait for things to be certain again.”

Performance Management

People analytics is a unique opportunity to develop customized key performance indicators (KPIs). Sure, you can keep a chart of the top sales people or member of marketing who generates the most leads, but in diverse, effective teams, there are different skills that require rewards. In the current environment, any and all wins for the business need to be highlighted and nurtured.

For example, perhaps that marketing person’s colleagues are better suited to nurturing existing relationships and developing client portfolios that are can drive the business as much as new clients. That skill has to be tracked and rewarded and employees engaged in discussion around their own goals. An analytics first approach can help highlights areas of strength and push employees in directions that better suit their skills.

This has another effect beyond a single employee too. By rewarding different types of behaviors and tracking progress across various KPIs, the team learns the ways in which their skills can enhance each other’s work, thus inspiring a culture of collaboration. In new remote work environments, this is crucial as employees break from their usual team-centric cliques to create a new workforce dynamic of collaborating with the right people at the right time. This can also help you measure both individual and group development.

When it comes to compensation and benefits, people analytics can help you develop raise and employee role structures that support your retention efforts and ensure the best talent on the team doesn’t go looking elsewhere.

If your analytics efforts have slipped during COVID-19, it’s time to recognize that as a mistake and pick it back up. You’ll want to focus on using technology that can help you refine your data and gain the most valuable insight possible from a broad range of KPIs.

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