The Rise of People Analytics

After several years of industry buzz about the HR possibilities that lie within data analytics, little progress was made in implementation. Business Leaders seemed to like the concept, but weren’t ready to buy in. This year, however, is shaping up to be the year that we get beyond the discussion and into People Analytics.

People analyticsPeople Analytics is a growing area of Business Intelligence that uses a data-driven approach to solving problems and making decisions using people-related data. The concept isn’t new, but its popularity is.

According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report for 2016, the percentage of companies that believe they are ready or somewhat ready for analytics increased from less than 25% to almost a third. A full 77% of the companies surveyed acknowledged the importance of people analytics for decision making and strategic planning. Deloitte reports that, due to competitive pressures and the greater availability of systems, organizations are aggressively building analytics teams and developing solutions.

Most businesses have the need to determine where to find the best employees, why employees are attracted to their organization, why they stay or leave; who will likely find success or be promoted, or who will be the best leaders. People Analytics can help. As explained in an article last week in Computer Weekly, in terms of recruitment, analytics can help to improve process efficiencies and optimize costs by determining the best candidates and the best recruitment channels for specific roles.

People Analytics is not just confined to HR decisions, however, as companies are using people-related data to provide guidance for many types of business decisions. Banks are using people analytics as a tool to analyze behaviors that can lead to fraud, noncompliance or unethical behavior. Healthcare organizations are using it to drive clinical and operational improvements.

People-related data should not be thought of as HR data. In fact, people related data can come from across the organization as well as outside of the organization. Deloitte’s 2016 report mentions a pharmaceutical company that is collecting data from social media sources to predict who the “high-flight-risk” candidates are among their current employees.

The growing popularity of People Analytics is not all related to its capabilities. Some of it has to do with Cloud Computing. As more and more analytics providers are offering cloud based services, which minimize administrative, infrastructure and equipment costs, it is easier and more cost effective for businesses to adopt.

If your organization isn’t quite ready to hire an analytics staff or invest in data analytics software, you are not alone. That doesn’t mean you can’t start with some basics, however. The 2016 version of Excel comes with a built-in capability to collect data from a variety of sources, such as corporate databases and public websites, and transform this data into something valuable. Download the Power BI Desktop to go with it for more robust capabilities, and you will have more than enough analytics power to get started.

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2016: It’s (Past) Time for a Social Media Policy

Say what you want about social media, but you can’t manage a business without addressing it in one way or another. Many, if not most, businesses have accepted social media as an important marketing tool. Others may still be in denial about its virtues. Whether you’ve embraced it as part of your business strategy or are still hoping it’s a passing fad, there is no doubt that you should adopt a social media policy.

social-mediaThere are numerous factors that can’t be ignored related to social media – productivity, privacy, legal issues, the reputation of your organization – just to name a few. HR Professionals should know that workplace culture is largely driven by conversations taking place on social networking sites, not at the water cooler. Encouraging employees to interact on networking sites can improve workplace culture and the image of the entire company. The plan should be to use social media to your advantage.

Regardless of the size of your organization, developing a social media policy is likely in order. If nothing else, a formal policy will serve as a reminder that social media activities can have both expectations and consequences and at the very least a policy will alert folks to use a little common sense when it comes to using social media.

So what should your social media policy include? Well, first and foremost is must be readable by your employees. Beyond that, you should consider including:

  • Who can speak as a representative of your organization. This is especially important for those wanting to respond to negative comments, media requests, etc.
  • The responsibilities of the employee. Specifically mention personal responsibility regarding what they post and the consequences of improper posts. While you don’t want to get into the argument over free speech, you can easily point out that posts that can be considered as harassment or bullying of other employees will not be tolerated.
  • Privacy. Be clear about information that cannot be disclosed for privacy or confidentiality reasons. Keep in mind that sharing information about compensation, working conditions and manager performance may be considered protected speech that cannot be restricted.
  • Productivity expectations. Don’t be fooled into thinking that restricting social media use would improve productivity. That plan would likely backfire. Trying to prohibit social media is not a reasonable way to address productivity issues, but your policy should state that social media should not interfere with meeting productivity or performance requirements.
  • Policy Enforcement. Explained how you plan to enforce the policy and the consequences for not following the policy.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects the rights of employees to act together to address conditions at work. According to The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), this protection extends to certain work-related conversations conducted on social media. A few years ago the NLRB issued a report on social media policies with the two main points being:

  1. Employer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.
  2. An employee’s comments on social media are generally not protected if they are mere gripes not made in relation to group activity among employees.

You can visit the NLRB fact sheet on the subject by clicking here.

Social media is not going away anytime soon. If you haven’t already established a policy, include this as part of your plan for the coming year.

Happy New Year!

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