Cloud based systems are disrupting traditional HR: Every good business owner says that their people are their greatest asset. It’s a phrase that we do hear a lot and I think most organisations do believe it to be true.
But have you ever stopped and asked yourself how you actually bring that to life within your organisation? What are you really doing to show your staff that they are not only valued but that they are your number one priority to business success? I’m talking about how you are actually empowering your staff to be the best they can be at work? They should be able to use the tools which you supply them to demonstrate their functional capabilities and take the business to new heights. If you’re not investing in the right tools for your people then how do you expect them to the best job they can?
A passionate, engaged and content workforce is one of the most powerful drivers of an organisations success. And yet, historically data on ‘human capital’ has rarely been used during strategic decision-making – mainly because this data has been difficult to translate into metrics.
Think about it: staffing data has traditionally been captured manually and stored physically. For many organisations, HR has long been focused around administration and compliance. It’s important to remember however that a human being can only input and process so much data in a work week. It’s impossible for our people to be able to manually sift through every piece of data entered into a system without the help of any data analytics tools. Technological advancements in the HR industry now allows us to generate meaningful data with the click of a button. Of course, HR people still have a vital role to play in the analysis of that data, but we can do more in less time. We can effectively free up our people, so they can be more focused on performance management and less worried about administrative tasks.
Historically, data was generally kept for legislative and record keeping purposes and to manually sift through every file and analyse the data was inconceivably tedious and futile. But today, thanks to cloud based platforms and real-time reporting capabilities, we find ourselves in a position where human capital metrics can be captured instantaneously and then used to inform, influence and determine strategic-direction for the company. Gone are the days when our data had no choice but to sit in a manila folder inside our filing cabinets.
The most important factor in this equation is time – ‘real-time’.
Volatile economic conditions coupled with the extraordinarily fast pace of the world that we now live in means that disruption is constant and frighteningly, the speed of change is intensifying.
Savvy HR professionals know that they can provide business leaders with great insight and as a result, can have an enormous influence on business performance. They just need to be able to bring meaningful data to the table. And this is where ‘real-time’ information on human capital is fast becoming a valuable commodity. In fact, it has already begun disrupting the whole HR industry.
Most businesses already have the people management practices down pat, but they lack the access to real-time data and analytics to be able to determine the impacts of those management practices on the company’s bottom line. This is where the real gold can be found.
Measuring capacity is another key real-time analytics focus and understanding this can have a huge impact on performance and productivity. There is an endless list of activities relating to people management that have a huge impact on reducing capacity such as planned and unplanned leave. Another important one is training, nobody really quantifies what our people are actually getting out of training – is it proving valuable?
Every one of these activities affects staff members capacity. If data was to demonstrate that staff are spending 50 per cent of their time on people management duties, there would be serious concern amongst management and it would need to be strategically addressed. At a strategic level, people need to be able to understand these decisions and the impact that they are having on the business.
Similarly, imagine the financial metric when a cost of employment is applied to the time of all parties involved in a formal discipline issue. The value of being able to segment issues by type, time and dollar value allows the building of business cases to fund investment to implement preventative measures.
Safety, health and wellbeing is another key business area in which proactive management safety controls could be achieved by embedding activity based management tools and applied intelligence.
In small businesses, HR has full visibility and can directly see everyone and everything in real-time. But as businesses grow, they lose sight of real-time, because it is harder to keep control as the line of sight becomes difficult to maintain.
Being able to make decisions that are driven by data is a more transparent and powerful way to manage a business. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.