In our last blog we shared our perspective (or should we say our conviction) that for workforce analytics to be purposeful and valuable it needs to be situated in a business context – that is, flanked by business objectives at the one end and outcomes at the other. To bring that idea to life we thought it would be good to illustrate how one of our own clients is putting workforce analytics to work to achieve objectives and realize outcomes.
So let’s look at one of our healthcare clients. This client is involved in delivering patient care both in hospitals and in residence, conducting research in its particular field of healthcare, and providing education programs for healthcare providers, patients, residents and families.
Like most organizations, this one has a lot of moving parts on the people side of things – with over 2000 employees there are categories of full-time, part-time, and contract employees, unionized and non-unionized employees, and hundreds of volunteers. Being in healthcare, the organization is no stranger to data and metrics but the Director of HR wanted to take understanding of the people data to the next level. To do this, the Director embarked on a free trial of a workforce analytics solution.
As a first step, the workforce analytics partner facilitated a session with the HR team focused on ‘Articulating Objectives and Outcomes’. At this meeting, the HR director assembled key stakeholders including the VP of HR, and the group worked together to identify and articulate key priorities that would shape the initial focus of the workforce analytics approach.
Four of the key objectives were:
- First Year Turnover / Retention: The group wanted to obtain a precise understanding of turnover by segment, to slice/dice the data across the myriad of variables. (age, gender, tenure, location, hiring manager, recruitment source, experience, training, qualifications, performance, etc.).
- Absenteeism / Sick Leave: There was a need to understand where the organization stood in terms of absenteeism and sick leave, and to compare the results to benchmarks, assessing whether internal assumptions hold true or not.
- Talent Management / Succession Planning: Identifying and developing leaders was recognized as a top of mind issue at the Board level. Given the aging workforce and the large pool of eligible retirees, the Board voiced concern over succession for Executives and two levels down. A priority is to develop a view of succession, including key positions, % of successors identified, and % ready now.
- Communicating with Executives, Clients and Partners: HR was looking for a way to communicate more effectively, with information that mattered, and in a language/format that resonates with each audience. There was a desire to change the perception of HR being operational to one of being a strategic partner. Workforce analytics were seen as a means to visually tell the people story so that the story would stick at the same time as generate an approach of shared ownership and collective problem solving.
Once the objectives were laid down, the next step involved asking the questions, for each objective:
- What data do we have now
- What additional data/metrics do we need to fully understand this area
- Who currently owns the data/metrics we need
- What connections can we make across data sets to achieve clarity and insight around the objectives
Let’s take 2 of these objectives – First Year Turnover and Succession Planning – and see how workforce analytics immediately enhanced understanding and continues to motivate data-driven decision-making.
First Year Turnover / Retention: With HR data uploaded and connected, HR now has the ability to slice and dice data and identify, with precision, the segments where first year turnover is an issue. The inclusion of recruitment data and compensation data also means the group now has the ability to call out the costs associated with first year turnover. Sharing this with Executives and key stakeholders has meant that a shared ownership of problems has emerged – there is a more collective viewpoint and turnover is no longer perceived to be solely an HR issue. HR is now folding in additional data – performance, employee satisfaction survey, learning, and absenteeism/sick leave data to further bolster understanding of the first year experience. The automation of a 30-day recruitment and on-boarding survey as well as a 90-day check-in with new hires is also being developed. With First Year Turnover Dashboards that highlight the key information and business challenges, HR is able to communicate in a compelling way the first year turnover story to Executives and other stakeholders, and to make the case for targeted action to reduce turnover among the affected groups.
Talent Management / Succession Planning: Recognized as a top priority at the Board level, HR wanted to be able to speak with confidence about plans and actions within the realm of Talent Management and Succession Planning. By uploading succession, learning and development data, and connecting this with other data, HR now has access to important dashboard views that could simply not be accessed before. Having the information in one place is of immense value to the team. The dashboards present critical information visually and in a way that is clear and concise, making it easy for key messages to stick. Using the dashboards as a springboard to discussion, HR is able to keep communications focused on objectives and can drive business-focused discussions and outcomes. Some of the key dashboards being leveraged include:
- Retirement eligibility dashboard (age-driven)
- Dashboards focused on key jobs and impacts of current eligible retirees and upcoming eligible retirees
- Dashboards highlighting Learning investments and Leadership programs (link programs to outcomes such as turnover, satisfaction, performance, etc.)
- Succession Planning dashboard with critical positions, successors and readiness level clearly illustrated – for clear and credible communication and action planning
An example of a Succession Summary Dashboard looks like this:
By clearly articulating objectives and outcomes at the outset and focusing the efforts of workforce analytics towards these, HR Leaders are continuing to demonstrate their value to the business. With data-driven insights and visually impactful dashboards, HR has the confidence and the means to drive meaningful conversations focused around imperative business objectives and outcomes.