As employers explored new workforce models and arrangements the past three years, members of i4cp’s People Analytics Board can attest that people analytics (PA) has stepped into the role of lead investigator of this great experiment. Analysts have big questions to answer and more than a few hypotheses to test as they seek to understand how hybrid and remote work affects varying industries, populations, roles, and workforce outcomes.
They are doing so as people analytics gains increased attention from the C-suite. Demand for analytical capabilities to improve workforce planning and business outcomes is at an all-time high, primarily due to a hypercompetitive labor market. Increasingly, regulators and investors also demand more disclosure of human capital data from public, but also some private, companies.
In response, organizations are building analytical capability for HR stakeholders through purpose-driven dashboards, integrating data from across the enterprise, and delivering insights, not just reports. To accomplish this, organizations must keep a finger on the pulse of the exploding HR tech market—a field in which competitors feel little compulsion to share lessons learned.
Members of i4cp’s People Analytics Board arrived at the following four priorities for 2023:
- Determining the impact and return on investment of emerging work arrangements
- Enhancing organizations’ workforce planning capabilities
- Increasing speed and agility to turn data into insights to support business strategy
- Scale analytical capabilities across HR and the organization
As organizations experiment with novel approaches to find the right mix of flexibility and connectivity across their workforces, PA leaders are concentrating on understanding how these approaches impact people and performance. This isn’t an easy task. The top leaders in this field are sometimes negotiating executives’ interests in monitoring individual employee productivity, while balancing privacy regulations and employees’ real concerns about how and what is monitored when they work.
PA leaders are also prioritizing optimized and more accurate approaches to workforce planning to help attract and retain talent. This need has pushed workforce planning to evolve from an art to a science. Having an accurate and up-to-date skills inventory is only part of the equation. Analysts will rely more on predictive analytics to understand what skills will be needed, what the labor market will yield, and what can be developed internally. They are also using historic data to forecast labor shortages or gaps in coverage.
PA leaders will continue to be relied upon to provide managers with the data they need to understand how their leadership influences attrition, engagement, productivity, and employee well-being (among other workforce outcomes). This data also helps to produce innovative ways for organizations to hold leaders accountable for those talent outcomes.
Lawmakers and organizational stakeholders are increasingly calling for the disclosure of human capital data on everything from culture to turnover, compensation, and contingent worker expenses. PA is working closely with executives and HR leaders to understand expected forthcoming regulations and numerous human capital reporting frameworks to collect and share the most accurate data. The good news is that this effort will improve HR’s ability to connect talent strategies to revenue, market share, profitability, and customer satisfaction, among other business outcomes, and further elevate the importance of HR in the organization.
Due in part to the expanded role and elevated profile of HR the past few years, i4cp found that 75% of large organizations worldwide (those employing >1,000 people) have recently or are in the process of restructuring HR. Much of this transformation is due to technological advancements that allow shared services to take on much of the administrative and transactional work that has historically been done by HR business partners. While this frees HR business partners to be more strategic, i4cp’s research has found that analytical capability—an important component of strategic thinking—is HR’s weakest link, and the top competency they need to build in the next three years. PA leaders understand this and are working with HR and business leaders to create intuitive dashboards and other data visualization products that clearly tell the story behind the data. This is being accomplished through the deployment of new platforms and greater partnerships with finance, general managers, and other HR functions to understand their data needs and develop solutions that work.
For our four predictions and priorities for other human capital functions including Total Rewards, Talent Acquisition, and more, download the full 2023 Priorities & Predictions report.