How do you get the most from your employees? It’s a question every employer in history has asked – few, if any, have found the answer.
Human performance is still largely a mystery. The factors that motivate or demotivate are hard to pin down, and initiatives with good intentions can have negative effects. Complicating everything is the fact that no two people are exactly alike. What works for some never works for all.
For most of human history employers have had to accept employees who tried hard but never achieved perfection. Thanks to people analytics that is no longer the case.
People analytics is simply looking for insights inside of employee performance data. Instead of making assumptions about where, when, and how people work, companies study these issues in detail. By relying on empirical data, they are able to separate fact from fiction. Companies can then take meaningful steps to improve performance, morale, retention, and lots of other talent issues.
On the whole, people analytics make workplaces more appealing to work at and more effective to work in. These examples illustrate how:
- Hire the Talent You Need and Want – People analytics reveals what kind of talent you need on your team, both in terms of skills and character. By studying your best and worst employees from the past you can create a profile of the ideal candidate. Recruiting becomes a lot more impactful when you know exactly who you want.
- Upgrade the Employee Experience – Employees don’t just want salary and benefits, they also want to work in a positive environment. People analytics dives into the details of the employee experience, highlighting what people love and what they hate about where they work. Improving the environment helps a lot with recruitment and retention.
- Improve the Training Process – Training is incredibly important for employee development. Companies can get more for the process by studying past training methods. If there are opportunities to improve, change, or eliminate certain training protocols, analytics uncovers them.
- Adjusting Compensation Packages – Most people would prefer to have their compensation linked to their performance, at least to a certain degree. Since people analytics lets you track performance in depth, you can adjust how you pay people to better reflect their full contribution.
- Root Out Biases – We strive to treat people equally and fairly, but unconscious biases often creep into out judgments. Bias is hard to spot and even harder to own up to, which is why it often goes uncorrected. Since analytics is clinically objective it does not have that same problem.
- Maximize Output – Lots of things inhibit efficiency and productivity, many related to how employees are organized and incentivized. The issues are probably small and subtle, but as they accumulate, they drag organizations down. People analytics can show you where preventable problems are limiting opportunities.
- Understand Success – What does a happy and productive employee look like at your company? What do new hires need in their first months on the job? How can you keep the long-running employee motivated? None of these questions have easy answers unless you have people analytics to work with. Once you understand what employee success actually looks like it’s much easier to engineer it.
You understand your employees better than any computer ever could. But that doesn’t mean you understand your employees perfectly. All of us have gaps in our perception and limits to our understanding. People analytics is a way to compensate for those blind spots and prevent everything from bad hires to high turnover rates. It provides insight and oversight into things that were invisible before.