The Power of Prediction: Leveraging Data to Enhance Your HR Department

An effective HR team will serve as the first and last line of defense against Covid-19 both in the workplace and surrounding it.

HR teams have been put under substantial pressure over the course of the last year and with its capabilities brought into question, it’s high time to invest in the tools that can revitalize its efficacy.

Disruption has been felt keenly by most businesses since 2020 and for the contemporary Human Resources division, this period has been especially difficult. Much has been written about ‘the New Normal’, what it is, who it affects and how, but the extent to which HR has accelerated the progression made at this time cannot go understated.

An effective Human Resources division serves as the first and last line of defense against black swan events both in the workplace and surrounding it, as such, executives in this space are well placed to reach out to their employees and provide assistance in these trying times. As Kelly Steven-Waiss, CHRO of Here Technologies suggests, “as a key advisor to the CEO, the CHRO must not only be able to understand the external threats and drivers but translate those into strategies to mitigate risk and leverage opportunities.”

The Power of Prediction: Leveraging People Analytics to Enhance Your HR Department

Skills, Culture, Retention, Recruitment and Recognition – these are the five areas of focus for the modern HR leader, but they are as nothing if these executives do not first build off of a base of actionable information and insight. Data and analytics have always been the tools by which HR measures its success and now, more than ever, executives should be using it to enhance their systems.

Data and Analytics

HR teams are sitting on a powerful resource, but often aren’t using them as effectively as they could be. Data, analytics, statistics; this readable information is generated constantly through the day-to-day activities of individuals and by meaningfully drawing patterns and conclusions from them we can see new ways of improving business as well as the internal processes of any organization.


Driven by widespread adoption of cloud services within HR, companies have long since began their substantial investment in the programs, platforms and tools that use data to drive workforce planning, talent management and operational improvements, however there is still work to be done, particularly with the reality of remote work rearing its head.

No organization can become fully data-driven without technological support, it’s the process of doing so that has been made more difficult over the last year. For example, earlier this year Gartner reported that 62% of HR leaders have no explicit future of work strategy, it is vital then that organizations begin to buy into the technology that helps to extract the value from their data.

Perhaps the most pertinent area of technological investment for HR in 2021 is in the heightened focus on the remote worker. Recent research indicates that in the post-pandemic, at least 48% of employees plan to work remotely during their work week, the culture surrounding office work has changed and so too must the technical means of generating and collating employee data to aid in their daily potential.

Throughout the course of the pandemic we’ve seen companies double-down on Data and Analytics tech in several key ways. Employee Listening Tools such as Glint & CultureAmp have risen in popularity as they allow teams to understand employee engagement in real-time.

Additionally, HR leaders have required a regular stream of data to assess both the mental and physical well-being of their staff, all of which have seen wearables, chatbots and ‘track and trace’ applications become an increasingly common means of gathering the data to support a more successful people analytics model.

People Analytics

Human Resources expert Jonathan Ferrar describes People Analytics as “the discovery, interpretation and communication of meaningful patterns in workforce related data to inform decision making and improve performance”.

During their ‘High-Impact People Analytics’ study in 2017, Forbes found that 69% of the companies that they examined were integrating their data to build a People Analytics database. In the intervening years, it’s become an obvious advantage in business with Wharton reporting that more than 70% of companies state that they consider people analytics to be a high priority for incorporation.

It’s not difficult to see why, for example McKinsey recently discovered that in companies with an effective people analytics resource, there was an 80% increase in the efficiency of the recruiting process, a 25% rise in business productivity and a 50% decrease in attrition rates.

As remote work opportunities continue to increase throughout 2021 and beyond so too will our need for data with real utility. As such, we can expect HR leaders to pay great attention to the ways in which they integrate data analytics into their strategic planning, and for them to prioritize more seamless means of monitoring employee experience to help train and retain talent. Data is the both the barrier and the key to progression in the HR division, but by investing in the tools that help to collate, parse and utilize it, any organization is well placed to protect, prepare and empower their employees.

To learn more, continue the debate at the HR Insight Summit NA, a GDS Summit, where we bring together senior Human Resources executives who are actively seeking to share, learn, engage, and find the best technology solutions.
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