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The Role of People Analytics in the Workplace

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David Green joined IBM about a year ago to help IBM customers grow their people analytics and technology. He has been involved with HR since the late 90’s and also writes and speaks about data driven HR.

Historically, HR decisions used ‘gut and intuition’ to drive decisions. Now the use of data in the form of people analytics is providing value, allowing better decisions to be made.

One example is a large, global company that was looking at building in China. However, the head of the analytics looked at the data and discovered that it was not an ideal place to locate the company. It was found that the talent in the region was very ‘thin’. The completion for this work group was high in the area, creating additional shortages. This would have made it difficult to not only hire the initially needed workers but then it would have also limited their planned expansion. This company did not open there – saving money and other possible difficulties.

Though there are examples such as this, there remain three areas of skepticism currently seen in the use of people analytics within the business community. The first is whether the business can adequately analyze the data. Secondly, they are often concerned about the cost of its use. Can they afford to invest in it? Finally, does the HR staff need to be ‘experts’ in data?

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