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Accenture Outlook | How Well Do You Know Your Workforce?

Accenture Outlook | How Well Do You Know Your Workforce?

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Published by Accenture
When contemplating key decisions about a workforce, there is often more there than meets the eye. Talent analytics, which uses advanced technologies to process billions of data points to discern previously unseen patterns of potential value, shows the promise of basing decisions—about hiring, training, improving productivity, retaining talent—on hard numbers—and even delivering insights that can make a company more competitive.
When contemplating key decisions about a workforce, there is often more there than meets the eye. Talent analytics, which uses advanced technologies to process billions of data points to discern previously unseen patterns of potential value, shows the promise of basing decisions—about hiring, training, improving productivity, retaining talent—on hard numbers—and even delivering insights that can make a company more competitive.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Accenture on Sep 30, 2013
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10/22/2013

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The journal of high-performance businessThis article appears inthe 2013, No. 3, issue of 
Talent & Organization | Analytics
How well do youknow your workforce?
 By Maureen L. Brosnan, Catherine S. Farley, David Gartside and Himanshu Tambe
When contemplating key decisions about a workorce,there is oten more there than meets the eye. Talent analytics,which uses advanced technologies to process billions o datapoints to discern previously unseen patterns o potentialvalue, shows the promise o basing decisions—about hiring,training, improving productivity, retaining talent—on hardnumbers—and even delivering insights that can make acompany more competitive.
accenture.com/outlook
 
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Still another analyzed how to improvecustomer satisaction and workorceperormance in its retail channeland was able to achieve double-digitgrowth in sales productivity. In eachcase, the companies were able to avoidother remedies that would have beenmore costly and less productive.How did these organizations do it?Through talent analytics—a precise,science-based analysis o employeeperormance and how a workorce issupported. This ability to process literally millions o data points can helpexecutives make decisions based onobjective data rather than hunches andintuition. And by giving organizationsnew insights into the patterns in work-orce and HR perormance that spur innovation and improve business peror-mance, talent analytics can also providethem with a real talent advantage.In addition to oering signicantorganizational improvements, talentanalytics is giving HR executives not just a seat at the table but the basis or strategic discussions with the C-suitebased on the substantive insightsprovided by hard numbers and theability to more accurately predict thelikely business outcomes o dierentkinds o talent initiatives. It is alsohelping companies prioritize and ocuson those initiatives that are more likely to have a signicant impact onproductivity, customer experience andcost management. Furthermore, it isimproving hiring and retention by identiying the actors and capabilitiesthat are best matched to a particular  job. And it’s supporting businessstrategy in more substantive ways, suchas increasing topline productivity.
The journey to better ROI
Not surprisingly, companies are atdierent points along the journey toa better return on their talent analyticsinvestments. Where they are is aunction o not only the maturity o the organization’s data environmentbut also the analytics tools beingused, level o available analyticsskills, and the ability to push insightsinto key processes and decisions(see sidebar, page 6).Companies can begin by improvingtheir basic reporting capabilities; thenwork on improving such unctions asrecruiting, training and retention;and nally move into broader areas,such as workorce planning andorganizational change. Ultimately,the goal is to develop more advancedanalytics capabilities that enablecompanies to optimize perormanceand even predict which workorcechanges and investments are likely toproduce the best results.
One company, aced with high attrition among itsmanagers, was able to discover the root cause, addressthe issues and improve retention. Another successully perormed a diagnostic o its enterprise learningcapabilities to determine which orms o trainingwould have the greatest impact on perormance.
Improving HR reporting
Many companies are still struggling just to get basic reporting right. Insome instances, they may not evenknow exactly how many peoplework or them, in what jobs and inwhat regions. And many still rely on rst-generation spreadsheets tomanage HR data.
 
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This problem could be rooted inhaving disparate inormation systemswhere data is in incompatible ormats,or even in something as simple ashaving two parts o the company using dierent titles or the same job.These companies ace a longer-termchallenge: to consolidate HR inorma-tion systems and to develop, acrossunits and locations, an intelligentand consistent “datamart”—an archivethat organizes data in ways that arerelevant to specic business needsand easily accessible to users needinginormation. These steps coulddramatically advance the companies’ability to perorm meaningul talentanalytics. But in the meantime, anumber o actions can be taken.For example, companies can designpilot analytics projects that involvecleaning up only some o the dataand running limited sets o numbers.Developing sound talent analyticscapabilities is a longer-term journey,but pilots can help companies acquirethe skills they need (or identiy where those skills could be sourcedexternally) while demonstratingthe business case or analytics andimproving the reporting environmentrom an HR perspective.There are a number o tools in themarketplace that can help organizationsachieve what is oten reerred to as“intelligent reporting” and can aidthem in improving their overall dataenvironment. Such tools can providealerts about anomalies in businesstransactions, identiy locations or units that are underperorming on key metrics, and also track perormancetrends on key business activities. Analytics capabilities built intosotware-as-a-service (SaaS) HRapplications oer another option or  jump-starting talent analytics capabilities.SaaS solutions can enable organizationsto correlate multiple data streams (suchas HR nancial and CRM data) andanalyze them in light o business goals. Administrators at one technology university knew that a high percentageo the academic workorce would beretiring soon. The analytics embeddedin the school’s SaaS HR solution enabledthe administrators to develop a proactiveHR strategy, working in a global talentmarketplace, to identiy promisingprospective hires. When HR proessionalscan deliver analytics-based inorma-tion it increases the respect conerredto them by administrators and thenance department. As an organization’s data environmentimproves, analysts can look or patterns in HR data that can helpcompanies improve areas related tohiring or attrition, or pinpoint areaswhere labor-related savings canbe ound. Improving perormancein specic areas o the employeeliecycle can produce impressivenancial results, considering thatthe cost o replacing a worker wholeaves can be as high as 150 percentto 300 percent o the employee’s annualcompensation. At the leadership level,the cost o correcting a bad hiringdecision and replacing an executivecan run into the millions o dollars. Applying analytics to specic HR areascan yield impressive results. Take thecase o a communications company that set out to understand the driverso employee absenteeism at its callcenters as a means o improvingoverall call center productivity. Onehypothesis was that a major cause o absenteeism was the distance betweenan employee’s home and the center. As it turned out, a much moreimportant actor was the employeesamily obligations, including caringor aging parents or young children.The nding was critical. I the company had based changes in hiring policies
Finding patterns

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