How to use people analytics to influence C-suite decisions

Jess Fuhl
Published on 31st October 2018
4 min read

‘How much are we spending and how much are we making?’

Traditionally the C-suite has focussed on finances.

However, the thinking has begun to shift. Progressive companies who value their people – People Companies, as we call them – put their people first because when they do this, long-term business success follows. They know that managing their people as well as they manage their money is vital.

This is where people analytics comes in.

HR and People teams can use HR analytics and People Science as a secret weapon to influence C-suite decisions, demonstrating themselves as a key strategic ally in every aspect of workforce planning and future business growth.

Effectively, it can help alleviate worries keeping the CEO and C-suite up at night.

What is People Science?

People Science means applying data-driven approaches to improve workforce visibility.

It means generating more actionable insights to help you make better business decisions in terms of managing and engaging your workforce.

Recruitment, retainment, productivity, engagement, quality of work and security are all issues that keep the C-suite up at night.

They are also issues that People Science can tackle effectively and efficiently with actionable insights.

What are the top concerns for the C-suite and how can People Science help?

The global talent crisis

How do we find the right people for the job and how do we keep them?

Low unemployment and the war for talent have given people choice. This is magnified by a culture of employee mobility, especially among millennials—meaning retention is more important than ever.

HR and People teams can use People Science to manage the talent pipeline.

By analyzing data on current as well as future workforce needs, HR leaders can identify the skills and attributes needed to hire the right workers for the job.

They can identify skills gaps within the business quickly and effectively, therefore providing training to existing staff or recruiting managers.

They can also identify workers who are a flight risk, and provide incentives for them to stay.

People Science also plays an important role in identifying future leaders for succession planning.

Look at the metrics for staff turnover. What kind of workers are leaving and why? Is it your top performers or your lower level employees? Is it an issue with salary, training, job prospects or maybe a difficult manager?

If one team has a lower employee turnover rate than another, you can analyze the data to identify why this is, and apply lessons learnt to other departments.

Engagement and productivity

How do we know if our employees are working to their full potential? Our research discovered that over a third of employees admitted they’re productive for less than 30 hours a week. That’s a waste of a whole day each week.

Understanding your workforce is vital. This is more difficult now than at any time before as companies need to manage five and soon to be six generations, as well as a mix of permanent and temporary or contract workers.

HR and People teams can use People Science to understand what motivates people within the organization and provide a working environment that suits them, therefore boosting engagement and productivity levels.

Conduct regular pulse surveys to understand the mood of your workforce, and what needs to be addressed.

Are they unsatisfied or disgruntled?  Are the problems easily rectified or do you need to implement a more long-term strategy?

The digital transformation of the workplace

How do we provide the workforce with the on-demand technology they have become accustomed to in their every day life?

Advances in cloud and work-based technology have led to an increasing dependence on digital technology.

People Science can drill into data to see how people within your organization are using technology and how you can help them to be more productive and more connected.

Improve productivity and make life easier for HR and People teams as well as employees through automation of key tasks and on-demand access, so they can spend more time focusing on improving the quality of their work rather than waste time on administrative tasks.

Monitor how automation is being used and how it can be enhanced to shift focus from time-consuming administrative tasks to innovative strategies and business models that support growth.

Cyber security

How do we keep our business safe from cyber attacks or leaks?

As the workforce becomes more blended with permanent employees and gig workers, there is a need for security to be tight. 

GDPR also means that there will be hefty fines on businesses if there is a security leak.

HR and People teams can use People Science to understand how people are using data and how to mitigate risks such as providing cyber security training.

Perform a risk assessment on your people data. Know exactly where your weaknesses are. Couple this with other data patterns. Could you identify a group of people who might be unintentionally reckless with data – perhaps they are remote workers?

In this way you can provide tailored cyber training, implement security clearances and restrict certain data to individuals depending on their job titles.

Workforce visibility

How do we really know how our workforce is performing? Is the data really up to date or are we always one step behind?

Often HR leaders have to create ‘board packs’ of data for board meetings.

The problem is that the data is old as soon as it is printed out. People Science means moving away from static data packs to interactive dashboards that don’t just show data, but enable you to solve business problems.

HR and People teams can do so much more than report on workforce numbers. They can be far more forward looking, providing actionable insights based on current data.

Use your people data to analyze absence rates across the company, per department, per job function and per month. You may find patterns emerging.

Perhaps you need to provide for employee well being better. Or you might find that departments with fewer absences have better support and coaching opportunities. Perhaps you need to roll this out to other departments.

What are the advantages of People Science?

Only 34% of companies are currently using data and analytics for making people decisions, according to our recent research report.

Understanding the data and how it can be used requires a different mindset. HR and People professionals’ role is to look beyond people management and see how people affect the business as a whole.

This is not always easy, and some training may be required but it is important so that HR and People teams can turn data into useable insights that can truly drive business results.

Ultimately, People Science is focused on actionable data – everything else is just noise.

People Companies that really embrace People Science and new people processes understand that success comes from the visibility and actionable insights to really know their people, just as well as they know their customers.

They look beyond the noise.

Browse more topics from this article

HR Strategy Workforce Visibility
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