New research from HR software company Fairsail has found that 38% of senior business and HR leaders still lack knowledge of workforce analytics and how they can translate it into informed strategic decisions.
The research found that only 13% of business leaders felt that their team understood how workforce analytics could improve business performance. In contrast, 42% were not confident in this.
Only 14% said that they used workforce analytics to make strategic decisions whilst 69% restricted this to simply provide insights and reporting functions.
Despite this, 41% of those questioned said they believe workforce analytics to be increasingly critical to a business’s success, and 43% think they are important already.
The survey found that a lack of budget was mostly to blame for organisations not investing in analytics tools, with 62% having no plans for investment in the technology in 2015.
This is despite 49% stating that they struggle with their current HR system’s reporting and analytics features.
Over-reliance on spreadsheets
Adam Hale, CEO at Fairsail said it is concerning that organisations are failing to make workforce analytics a high priority, especially at a time when many are reporting skills shortages and lower levels of employee engagement.
In particular he highlighted the fact that the tendency to rely on manual processes, such as spreadsheets, for managing business-critical workforce data has a detrimental impact on employee engagement.
He said: “Despite the focus and discussions around intelligent data and analytics there is a worrying gap between the possible and the actual.”
Cloud-based workforce management solutions provide managers with the workforce analytics they require to drive strategic direction and improve employee engagement.
Driving your strategy with workforce analytics
It’s no secret that staff costs represent most organisations largest controllable expense.
But what managers often overlook is that your workforce is not just a cost but a valuable strategic asset that shapes your success and competitive edge.
Every business outcome is linked in one way or another by the performance of your workforce, so why not optimise it?
Sceptics often perceive workforce management systems as merely capturing start and finish times. But, trust me, that’s just scratching the surface.
Beyond this, they provide on-demand access to workforce analytics which can be turned into actionable intelligence to drive operational efficiency and improve business performance through integration with other business systems, such as payroll, accounting, CRM and ERP.
Take a second to imagine what you could achieve with real-time visibility of all workforce matters.
You can analyse trends, solve problems and make better-informed decisions based on audited data rather than guesswork.
This enables you to measure employee performance, demonstrate adherence to employment regulations, anticipate future risks on the bottom line, allocate staff to meet forecasted demand and optimise service levels, and control labour costs in real-time so they can measure the profitability of contracts.
And that’s not all. Workforce management systems also encourage employee engagement through self-service portals, which enable them to manage to their own working time.
Analytics in action
So how are organisations benefitting from workforce analytics?
Leading contractors in the Construction industry are utilising workforce analytics to ensure projects are carried out on time and within budget. By gaining an insight into labour costs for each project, contractors can estimate future projects with far greater precision to improve profit margins.
Employment agencies in the recruitment industry have been quick off the mark too, installing systems on client sites as part of managed service agreements to consolidate the invoice process, measure KPIs and provide complete transparency of workforce attendance.
Meanwhile contractors in the cleaning industry are harnessing workforce analytics to demonstrate to clients that service agreements have been fulfilled. Transparency of workforce activity also enables them to demonstrate duty of care and improve the health and safety of remote workers.
At a time when organisations are looking to retain key staff, optimise service levels and increase profitability, workforce analytics will provide the results you need to align your workforce for both short and long term success.