Past, Present and Future Trends in HR Analytics

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Traditional management approach no longer suffices in addressing the challenges and complexities of current scenario of competitive advantage. Organizations nowadays are not reliant on the sustenance of the conventional way of working only, since growth and development has become the reality of modern business scenario. In the contemporary scenario, business is becoming competitive, and the only way to survive is to keep pace with the existing swiftness and high growth.

An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. – Jack Welch

In current business environment where climate is forcing the management to take complicated decisions on how to maximize the productivity and effectiveness of various assets,  the aims is to make right decisions while sustaining competitive advantage. Business analytics in this context has emerged as an important tool to address these goals. Analytics, as a discipline has been developed at the intersection of engineering, computer science, decision making and quantitative methods to organise, analyse and make sense of the increasing amounts of data being generated in the environment. It is becoming the concept of leading edges for innovation, competition, productivity and better decision making.

I am not an expert on analytics and but have always pondered that how we can take advantage of analytics in optimally utilizing the resources available and better reporting in HR. The ultimate goal of any HR profession al would be to find means and ways to effectively manage employees so that business objectives can be achieved efficiently and within the defined deadlines.

Past

The recent interest of subject matter experts in HR analytics reflects the growing use of big data. According to a report of CIPD (2013), analytics has been described as a mandatory capability for a HR professional and is defined as a tool for creating value from people and a path to broaden the strategic influence of the HR function on the business. Wherein, by means of data right HR business problems like talent acquisition, retention, rewards, and training etc. can be resolved. On one side where, HR analytics is an emerging trend in context with Human Resource, on the other side the research literature, reports and other information also, suggest that application of analytics to manage human resources (HR) in an organisation is marginal.

Present

That being said, HR Analytics is a newly added buzzword, wherein the concept rests strongly on processes, ideas and practices that have existed in the HR domain for a long time. 1970s was the era when metrics and measurements were discussed in HR and in 1990s, the focus shifted towards viewing people as a valuable intangible resource that can create competitive advantage. And this was the time when human and intellectual capital became important aspects and in the years that followed the focus shifted to return on human and intellectual capital and concepts like HR Scorecard etc. got popular.

  • In recent past, the focus has moved to HR Analytics and big data, that makes it possible to use large amounts of data to support HR-related decision making processes.
  • The agenda of subject matter experts is to develop ways on how to use HRA as a decision support tool predict future actions so as to effectively manage and improve performance.
  • To improve performance, it is vital to analyse the existing data in a way, that organisations can develop and maintain key talent pools, and address retention issues or forthcoming cavities in desirable competencies.
  • In the present times, implementation of HR Analytics is to make organizational decision making more evidence-based and making better decisions through better insights.

Organisations nowadays have the ability to access and process a diversity of data as compared to few years ago, acknowledgements to the developments made in information technology.

Future

In the face of these advances in technology over the years, HR managers has not been very adaptive to analytics.

  • To argue, first of all, analytics is not being implemented broadly due to failing on the part of the HR managers combined with limitations in human resources information systems (HRIS).
  • Secondly, it also get a delayed response due to limited understanding of analytical thinking by my HR professionals and added to this is that the HR analytics solution providers are offering merely products and services  which at times fails to  offer comprehensive tool to HR professionals to create strategic value for data available.
  • Unless the HR professionals are able to advance their conceptual intelligibility towards the promises and downsides of the analytics, it will not be able to accomplish the expected outcomes.
  • One important point to understand is that, the way data is presented has a major effect on the decision-making processes and one should be able to draft a data-driven storytelling, where the focus is directed towards presentation of the data analytics, not just the analytics itself.

For the HR professional it is required that alongside understanding the analytics ecosystem, they should also be able to convert this information into insights and present it in a way that will draw attention of the management. Management at the same time should realize that HR Analytics has to be driven by a team, which is able to not only collect the data but also knowing how to use the data. The HR teams have to be backed up by strong IT tools.

Scope for Future

Besides the practitioners and the corporate ecosphere focusing on the analytics, the academician also have their share to contribute.

  • To ensure that the analytics are executed well and the performance and delivery is as per the expectations; it is important that the analytical thinking should be deep rooted in the academic courses.
  • Collaboration of the industry with academic institutions will lead to a higher appreciation towards the concepts of data – big – data – analytics – its successes and misses. This will offer a productive way forward to the industry and also to the academician   by opening doors for new researches.

Conclusion

To conclude, we should understand that everything cannot be measured and everything that is measured cannot be managed. It is equally important to understand that while predicting the future, the past is not always a guarantee of the future. And the data analytics is an enabler to make better decisions and should not be assumed as a replacement to human thinking and a balance between human thinking and analytics have to be achieved for desired outcomes and gain competitive advantages.

HR Analytics is not the destination it is a journey, it can be our way of life for better outputs…

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