Building a Data-Driven Approach to People Practices

By Gaurav Chaubey, Co-founder, Mesh

Today, data analytics is a valuable asset to drive any business. It has become imperative to measure the accuracy of impact. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology across industries enabling data analytics and fueling growth in an ever-evolving market.

Optimal decision-making in the current ecosystem requires evidence-based and data-backed decisions. This is especially true for driving the right people management practices. According to Google’s Project Oxygen study, 70 percent of companies place a high priority on the people analytics function. Today, large conglomerates and hyper-growth enterprises are focusing on eradicating the prejudices and cognitive biases by implementing data-driven people management industry best practices.

Evidence-based management is the need of the hour
An age-old dictum, ‘What can be measured can be managed’ is followed by successful practitioners across industries. It emphasizes the importance of data analytics. The crux, however, is to objectively measure and support it with numbers.

For long, organizations have struggled with poor people management execution. They have traditionally relied on gut-instinct based performance ratings, and subjective employee responses. This data neither paints a clear picture of the employee’s contributions, nor helps them progress and develop. With the help of workforce analytics, organizations can improve the effectiveness of HR activities without relying on anecdotal observations or guesswork.

People data can now be measured and reported to help better understand an organization’s workforce efficiency.
The benefits of data backed decision making is clear. Workforce analytics can better analyze and understand employee performance. In a 2017 study, Deloitte reported that 71% of companies considered people analytics a high priority for their organization, with 31% rating it “very important.”

Technology is enabling real-time workforce management decisions
Organizations are proactively investing in new technologies to bring efficiency in various HR practices. These facets include recruitment, attrition, and retention, learning and development (L&D), task management, and even performance appraisals amongst others.

A growing number of organizations are also adopting sophisticated HR metrics to make data-driven decisions. The aim is that these will benefit employees throughout their career in the company. Artificial Intelligence (AI) analytics gather and analyze data in real time to make data-driven and informed decisions. This combined with SaaS-based platforms can improve productivity allowing for individuals or teams to manage themselves more efficiently ultimately eliminating any inherent biases. Moreover, organizations are also looking at innovative technologies such as blockchain to keep employee information safe and secure. The intuitive and simple UI offered by these AI-powered solutions allow teams to have an upgraded social and cognitive experience.

Analytics is driving an improved work culture
Managers can cultivate happier, more creative employees if they showcase behaviors related to emotional intelligence, according to a study by Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Receiving non-biased and objective feedback drives people to perform better and they strive to take the feedback in a positive manner. Furthermore, reliable, and authentic data brings transparency in the decision-making system. This is very crucial during appraisal cycles and can impact an employee’s career progression within the organization.

Imagine future discussions between supervisors and subordinates based on actionable information and evidence rather than he/she-seems-to-be-getting-along-with- or the-team-and-doesn’t-create-any-nuisance approach. That’s what workforce analytics will help leaders enable in the organization, a scientific and analytics facet to work and delivering measurable results across multiple HR practices.

Creating a positive impact for businesses and employees
Leaders are tasked with the responsibility of tracking the efficiency of their teams which has already been eased because of the accurate and objective data available. The evidence-based approach further enables the management to focus on the SWOT analysis of their teams, recognize their strengths and strategically mentor them by enhancing their opportunities. This will in turn motivate the teams to take up bigger tasks and gain confidence. According to a study, 71% of employees can feel engaged and energized by their work if they believe their managers can name their strengths. This also helps maximize their potential and assign tasks that best fit their skills. Moreover, employees are 78% more likely to feel their work is valued and appreciated if their managers discuss their strengths.

The evidence-based approach has become indispensable for people’s analytics, especially as remote-hybrid work environment has emerged as a preferred work arrangement among employees. Thus, to create an efficient people’s management practice, it is imperative to use real-time data for insights driven decision-making, while integrating technologies and data across platforms to drive growth and optimize feedback.

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