This week North Highland continued our client breakfast series by inviting workforce analytics experts Jamie Garner and Simon Haines to our offices in London for a session on performance improvement. Simon and Jamie make up GarnerHaines, a consulting practice that serves HR and business leaders, using workforce analytics to improve business performance.
During the breakfast the promise was to improve your business performance by 5% through people data. Sounds simple enough, but why are we not already doing it?
“People Data” – it can feel like overload…
The amount of data we have is daunting. We have data coming out of our ears due to the rise in mobile devices and technology advances, but we just don’t know how to use it. However through harnessing this data and knowing what to do with it, we are opening up a potential gold mine. In fact, organisations that are competing on analytics substantially out perform their peers, with some studies showing a 220% difference!
…whereas, in actual fact, it’s your own Gold Mine…
It is often overlooked, however it is our data about people that has some of the best opportunities for potential savings and can deliver some of the greatest impacts in business performance improvement. People costs make up about half the costs of your organisation so can be some of the biggest sources of value on your balance sheet. We are already seeing pioneering companies proving exceptional performance through workforce analytics – so why are we not all jumping on board?
The reason is simple, the perceived obstacles around people being hard to measure, the ethical concerns of ‘measuring people’ and no one knowing whose job it actually is – are real barriers for leaders.
…where the returns can be spectacular
Workforce analytics can deliver a truly spectacular return on investment if done right. With our people data, it is important to note that what gets measured, gets managed. By being able to measure something you can precisely quantify how it contributes to business performance and identify quick wins and longer term improvement plans – plus it gives you a clear benchmark to show your trajectory. Your people data holds the key to business improvement!
First: Be Clear on Your Business Goals
But before ploughing into your data, you must confirm what’s the most important business outcome for you to deliver. Next you need to identify the relationships between the people and the desired business outcome. Most corporate targets are a combination of cost, growth and change. So you need to think about how your people relate to those 3 buckets in order to identify the most compelling interventions you can deliver.
Then: Get Clarity And Control as…
What we are seeing time and time again is that clarity and control of people cost is lacking. Despite people being typically half of business costs, this spend is poorly understood. So it is about gaining control of this by having visible segmentation of your spend on people, then identifying the range and scale of savings opportunities.
…You put Workforce Analytics into practice
For example, just think of the amount you spend on absence management. The amount of money that it costs for desks to lie empty, the impact on those workers who are long term absentees, and the effect on morale for the non-absent employees can be measured in the millions for many companies. There are simple management steps that can be taken and programmes that can be put in place to reduce this. This is just one lever of people costs we can look at; GarnerHaines have built workforce analytics from the ‘best of the best’ of what has worked for over 50 major organisations across industries. They push people data – literally overnight – through their algorithms to present an organisation’s personal ‘top 10 opportunities’ associated with each cost, growth and change. So your starting point is ‘the best of the best’, and your opportunity is to be ‘even better’.
The Results – seeing is believing!
Identifying improvement opportunities of 10-25% are very common when looking at people costs in your business. Getting clarity, capability and control over your people data enables leaders to take control of their business, reduce risk and better manage their growth. It’s not about just improving your costs though – it’s about a better understanding of your data and your people.