Gut feelings seemed to drive decisions early in my HR and human capital career, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Eventually, a gambler goes all in and it goes horribly wrong. Someone’s tell or your intuition doesn’t lead to the outcome you expected, leaving you frustrated and confused with nothing concrete to help you understand the turning point where the situation all went wrong.
I went “all in” about several years into my HR career and relied on my gut to staff and forecast several facilities I was responsible for. I knew the location and understood the business, making decisions based on my feelings and what we always used to do. Data, forecasts and metrics were a formality. I was an expert who knew what she was doing. I was ridiculously wrong and my team paid a touch price for my mistake.
We overstaffed our facilities based on what I thought I knew instead of what the trends and numbers from our nearby locations were telling us. We quickly made staffing changes and reduced our workforce accordingly, but not without tough conversations and a few tears. It was a good lesson to learn the hard way.
The numbers and data from workforce analytics are designed to support or disprove those gut feelings using scientific evidence to support our human capital findings.
We really need the data to support and elevate HR and exactly how we align with the bigger business need and strategy.
Standardize the process
Analytics helps standardize our way of doing things. It puts them into perspective and provides much needed perspective on the reality of things. Employee processes are improved. Hiring decisions are better supported. Employee evaluations are easier as we find ways to compare work aspects and performance which we didn’t have access to or found patterns before. It’s more subjective and less bias. The hard facts drive our decisions and we rely on those gut feelings less, not more.
Establish your analytics
Access to the analytics and data at key moments in time is more important than ever before. Decisions are made in the now just as the data presented to make those same decisions is freshly squeezed. Analytics are viewed quickly and on a moment’s notice via a mobile device, tablet or laptop computer instead of that clunky, dusty old desktop monitor and hard drive.
Aside from access, it’s equally important to establish and prioritize the workforce metrics most important to you, your boss, and the senior leaders within your organization. Be prepared to speak to each and monitor those analytics that are important not only to you but key stakeholders across the organization. It’s important to have supporters, cheerleaders and supportive relationships with organizational leaders outside of the HR. Human capital as we know touches everything. Really everything.
Now that you’ve established the initial analytics for your workforce, it’s important to be consistent in how and when you evaluate in the future. The most important step is to create a process and flow in which to use the analytics. Be consistent and make a commitment to use the information and data you’ve collected. Discuss it openly with your business leaders and partners. Listen, learn and understand their points of view in order to better align your own decisions with that of the entire organization and not just your own division, department or location’s business strategies and intentions.