It’s a critical time for Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs). To provide the business with the agility it needs to remain relevant in a digital environment, forward-thinking CHROs are leaning on analytics – hard! They are also honing their ability to integrate workforce-related insights with business objectives.

The success of any business strategy or initiative depends on the abilities and commitment of the people carrying it out. In a world shifting to ‘truly human’, where the employee experience is as important as the customer experience to drive performance, service levels and innovation, CHROs need the right data—insight into workforce capabilities, behaviours and performance, as well as market dynamics, what the business needs, and how to empower its people—to guide strategic workforce transformation and create an environment that is supportive and growth oriented.

Accenture Strategy research indicates that 80 percent of HR and other business leaders are convinced HR should shift its mandate to become a driver of workforce performance. With data-driven insights, HR leaders can tie workforce-related decisions directly to tangible business outcomes.

Advances in analytics and access to real-time workforce, market and other data enable HR leaders to proactively anticipate the needs of the business and determine the best talent strategies going forward. They also enable HR to present valuable insights and shape strategic discussions with the business on a variety of topics, from the workforce development  (eg, the technologies that augment people’s capabilities, workforce management, succession planning and leadership development) to wider workforce strategies not wholly owned by HR, to drive business strategies, such as how to target customers or exploit new channels.

Want a tangible example?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts relies on its 43,000 employees to deliver public services to state residents. It faced a number of challenges: an aging workforce, constrained budgets and a demand for more services with better outcomes. To drive efficiencies and reposition HR as a high-value talent and decision support function, it implemented a world-class HR analytics program. The data obtained informed the creation of standard reports and on-demand analytics to answer a range of critical HR and business questions across five HR domains: workforce profile, absenteeism, recruitment, retention and compensation. The outcome: a wealth of HR data to better inform workforce-related decision making.

Better insights are helping leaders attract, develop and retain talent while supporting higher employee productivity and satisfaction. Ultimately, state workers are empowered to deliver better and more enduring outcomes to the people they serve.

Says Ron Arigo, CHRO at Commonwealth of Massachusetts: “The investment in HR analytics isn’t only an investment in technology, but equally an investment in the capability of the HR team, allowing them to be more strategic by problem-solving with facts rather than anecdotes while influencing decisions with their respective business partners.”

Innovating to stay ahead

One of Accenture’s key offerings is helping clients develop and enable a workforce of the future.

At the Accenture incubation hub in Dublin, the Dock, clients are reshaping their future workforce by using a variety of technologies—from artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, to the Internet of Things (IoT)—keeping people at the core. By combining industry benchmarks and market trends with unique company data, leadership teams engage in scenario planning to address the immediate and longer-term workforce implications of strategic business decisions, such as reconfiguring global manufacturing capabilities or expanding into new markets.

Science and art—it takes both

Analytics is just one of a three-part investment focus for CHROs, however. Data alone will not drive change and transformation of the workforce. To elevate the value HR can deliver across the enterprise, CHROs must combine the science of data analytics with the art of managing talent and the overall employee experience.

Join me next week as I look at the second area CHROs are investing in: designing and enabling employee experiences that engage and empower.

Until then, for more insight on this topic, read Accenture’s recent point of view, HR Sparks Change Reaction.

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