It’s Time for Workforce Analytics

People are the heart of every organization. Executives that want to help the people in their organizations should anonymously apply to work there every few years and go through the interview and hiring process. Many who recently were hired or have done hiring know it needs to get better, for many reasons:
• Most job postings receive several hundred applicants
• Job seekers need to fill out at least 10 applications to get at least one interview
• Job seekers need at least three interviews to get one job offer
• Filling a position often requires vetting 75 or more qualified applicants

Hiring represents only the first step. Next comes onboarding, benefits, compensation, retention, diversity, and inclusion, for example. The list for workforce planning is quite long. Our most recent data rank workforce planning 28th out of 51 strategic initiatives for business intelligence (BI). Yet only 46 percent of respondents consider workforce planning a top priority. Not surprisingly, most see workforce analytics as the job of human resources (HR); yet HR is the least data-literate function and least likely to use analytics.

The lack of interest in workforce analytics suggests that although a majority of organizations see it as a problem, it does not represent a high priority. This perception and failure to apply workforce analytics likely will result in higher turnover rates in employees and a lack of retention, which in turn reduce productivity and employee engagement—at the same time that economic factors continue to strain a majority of organizations to do more with less (see the Research Insight “Mitigate Short-Term Negative Economic Impacts and Pivot for Growth by Investing in BI and Analytics”). Data leaders not already doing so need to view workforce analytics as an important part of their BI plans, and evaluate and expand workforce analytics initiatives.

Tools exist to accomplish the workforce analytics tasks. Respondents’ top workforce planning needs are in the areas of:
• Compensation
• Headcount and core demographics
• Year-end projections and forecasting
• Retention
• Engagement and recognition

When surveyed, vendors list these as capabilities existing or expected in the next 12 months, with only one not present in the majority of vendor’s products:
• Compensation (all surveyed vendor’s products)
• Headcount and core demographics (all surveyed vendor’s products)
• Year-end projections and forecasting (all surveyed vendor’s products)
• Retention (73 percent of vendor’s products)
• Engagement and recognition (27 percent of vendor’s products)

Executive management, sales and marketing, and finance functions all often highly perceive the importance of workforce planning, while HR, operations, and other functional areas do so less frequently. If executive management and the C-suite champion workforce analytics initiatives and promote the use of workforce analytics, the return on investment likely will be higher in these organizations.

For a more detailed view into workforce planning, read the Dresner Advisory Services 2024 Workforce Planning and Analysis Market Study report.

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