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Creating Strategic HR Leaders    [Date Added : 08/16/2017 ]
Human resource leaders are becoming aware of the growing importance of using data analytics to increase business impact, attract and retain talent, and strengthen company culture. Yet, many executives are not as comfortable as they should be when it comes to managing and interacting with the data. They seem to lack the skills to understand complex numbers in order to draw useful business insights. In fact, a recent study reported that 75% of respondents stated that human capital analytics (HCA) are important, yet only 8% rated themselves as strong in knowing how to apply HCA.

HCA should be seen as a solution, not a problem. Analytics are here to simplify this data problem and create personalized, easily digestible data-based insights and answers.

The emergence of smart devices and proliferation of digital technologies have created an exponential growth pattern in the amount of data that describes the world. Specifically, estimates by Oracle and others indicate a roughly thousand-fold increase in the amount of data globally from 2012 to 2020. The use of data analytic technologies in enterprises is also contributing to the spike in overall data.

HCA can easily quantify business transactions, decisions and influence company culture. Organizations can use this aggregated data to not only answer questions about their workforce, but also partner these tools with insights from internal HR leaders. This insight can help guide what makes for a satisfying employee experience and helps identify more opportunities for creativity and productivity within the workplace.

The emergence of megatrends has also contributed to the amount of data HR leaders are able to leverage in order to mentor and guide their workforce:

- Artificial Intelligence: In some cases, artificial intelligence, (AI) is being used in HR departments to aggregate and automate huge amounts of information needed to answer everyday questions, such as what is my vacation leave balance or where can I update my personal information? While AI automates this data, and provides easily managed and actionable reports, HR leaders still need to apply their intuition and expertise to address each point on a case-by-case basis. It is HR's responsibility to ensure they are taking the right steps to have meaningful data-supported conversations with employees and know what factors are affecting and motivating their workforce.

- Predictive Analytics: With automated data, HR leaders are able to leverage predictive analytics to forecast business performance and pinpoint areas in the business process that can be more efficient. Implementing predictive analytics enables HR leaders to more quickly and effectively analyze data to provide key takeaways that inform decision-making across the board.

A recent global employee engagement study found that only 44% of employees have the confidence in their company's leadership, creating a concern for HR in the areas of employee retention and company culture. With the ability to harness all employee data, HR professionals can begin to understand each employee's mindset - what training they have completed, what teams they have led, what projects they have excelled at, what performance goals they have met - and equip managers with personalized information that will help facilitate a more open and productive dialogue. HCA has helped bridge the manager and employee relationship, instilling more trust and transparency between both parties.

With the ever-changing work landscape, forward-thinking HR leaders are harnessing the latest technologies in HCA and data analytics to help them make informed decisions about their existing workforce as well as about the future hires they’re looking to make. Powerful data analytics can provide critical information about employees and candidates to better attract and retain the right talent. However, while computers may be able to pull out data, HR professionals must layer in their expertise to ultimately develop the best workforce strategies to drive their overall business forward.

("Human Capital Analytics: Creating Strategic HR Leaders," by Bertrand Dusset, hrtechnologist.com, July 25, 2017. Copyright 2017 HRTechnologist)
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