Workforce analytics is one of those things that has been around for a long time, and is crucial for business growth and longevity – yet isn’t used as much as it should.
A Deloitte survey found that 71% of companies consider workforce analytics to be a high organizational priority, and 31% even rate it as “highly important.” But actually executing on these analytics programs involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting employee data, which can be intimidating for organizations – particularly deskless ones, where they’re looking to collect data from thousands of workers. There’s a lot involved, which admittedly makes it difficult to see the tangible benefits from such an endeavor.
Part of the issue is that organizations often pigeonhole workforce analytics as a purely HR tool, used to inform recruitment and retention tactics. That’s just one component of a much wider spectrum of benefits that workforce analytics can provide to deskless organizations, particularly in the operations realm and other related areas of the business. In fact, this valuable data provides business-wide ROI that can’t be overlooked.
In other words: it’s not just an HR play anymore. Here are 4 ways workforce analytics can drive better business outcomes across your entire organization.
1. Workforce analytics allow you to make informed decisions to drive performance and productivity
Executives need information in order to make effective decisions. And when they don’t have that information, it can lead to worries and insecurity. That’s what The Predictive Index found in their recent report, where employee performance and productivity topped a poll of issues that kept executives up at night.
This same report showed that only 55% of companies regularly diagnose their employee engagement data. Which means they just don’t have the data to drive performance at scale – and that creates uncertainty and stunts growth.
Using workforce analytics allows you to answer the questions that can inform these crucial decisions around performance:
- How confident are my teams in executing a program or promotion?
- How consistent are locations in implementing SOPs and protocols?
- How reachable is my team in uncertain times?
- How at-risk is my workforce for mass turnover?
These employee metrics give leaders the insights they need to take action more confidently and with greater effectiveness. From there, organizations can tweak policies, implement new processes, and identify worrisome locations or regions quickly and easily – in short, you can support your frontline at scale.
2. Workforce analytics help you identify key knowledge gaps
Knowledge gaps that cause money loss and safety issues, particularly among frontline and deskless employees that are at greater risk due to less robust training, poor employee communication, and inconsistent processes (fun fact: ineffective on-the-job training can cost businesses up to $13.5 million per 1000 employees per year).
Employees are starting from a more difficult position as well, with less than 40% of millennials and 30% of Gen Z workers feeling like they have the skills necessary to succeed. This makes effective training programs an even more crucial, albeit costly, investment.
But with proper workforce analytics, companies can get far more strategic with their training. Through execution metrics, surveys, knowledge quizzes and other data, analytics can identify knowledge gaps, protocol confusion, and other red flags. From there, organizations can triage their training to address the most urgent needs, then fill out the rest of the program as resources become available.
Want to dive even deeper into the world of people analytics? Read our Guide to Making Data-Driven Decisions to help you understand what data-driven decisions are and why they’re important. You’ll learn what data to collect, how to harvest the metrics, and learn what to do with data.
3. Workforce analytics can provide insights to mitigate disengagement to avoid turnover and productivity loss
Pop quiz: Do you know whether or not your employees are engaged?
If you answered “yes,” then the follow up question to that is: “how can you be sure?”
Fact of the matter is, only 16% of companies use technology to measure and track employee progress and engagement. Those who don’t rely on a combination of observation, anecdotal evidence, gut feel, and wishful thinking.
This means that you don’t know for sure whether or not your frontline and deskless employees – the ones who are in the most stressful positions – are burnt out or not. And seeing as burnout is responsible for up to half of workforce turnover, this is definitely an area that organizations can’t ignore.
Data from mental health surveys, feedback forums, and other communication channels can help you establish your workforce’s level of burnout and disengagement. Performance and engagement analytics can further inform the potential business impact of your situation.
With these tools in place, you’ll have an early-warning system and be able to act accordingly with disengagement strikes. You’ll be able to take measures to address employee burnout and other critical turnover risks – before they turn into costly employee turnover.
4. Workforce analytics identify the trends that lead to better business outcomes
Workforce analytics data goes far beyond the basic employee metrics – it has the potential to transform your organization.
Here’s an example: data analysis might discover that one branch of a retail franchise has consistently better sales, higher employee engagement scores, and lower turnover. You might then discover that this branch’s manager has initiated a few new policies that have completely transformed the location. The organization scales these policies company-wide, and numbers across all branches show significant improvement. You would never have detected that outlier branch without looking at the data.
This may seem like a somewhat extreme example, but it’s not that far-fetched. That’s the power of best practice-sharing, and analytics is the channel to capture these valuable ideas at scale.
The key to all of this, though, is capitalizing on it.
According to LinkedIn, only 29% of companies consider themselves good at capitalizing on workforce analytics insights, while 37% admit they do a poor job.
Granted, analytics isn’t always easy. It is not a plug-and-play program. It requires time, effort, and forethought in order to set up and execute. But depending on the communication channels you have in place, it can be as simple as clicking on a dashboard to learn all sorts of valuable insights about your workforce – and your organization as a whole.