Technology, data, and analytics have become important items in the strategic decision-making toolkit. One of the reasons for this is that the drivers of business value have changed dramatically. In the past, business value was tangible – warehouse stock, money in the bank, real estate, etc., and they were accounted for on the balance sheet. Business value today is often closely related to having a highly talented workforce that can disrupt markets and bring radical innovation. Amazon, for example, has a skyrocketing valuation but is that because of their warehouse operations or is the real value of its talented workforce?

With the emergence of human capital as critical to value creation, it makes sense that data analytics has reached the HR world. Companies are actively looking for good measures to capture workforce value as a key intangible asset and drive talent solutions that mirror their human resource recruitment needs. As companies become more aware of the value and potential of their workforce, they are searching for metrics and methods to maximize the effectiveness to optimize business outcomes. This is exactly what HR Analytics, People Analytics & Workforce Analytics are all about and why companies are actively exploring how to implement and embrace them as part of their overall talent assessment and talent recruitment strategies.

It is important to clear up misunderstandings around the terminologies HR analytics, people analytics and workforce analytics. HR analytics captures and measures the functioning of the HR team itself – for example, analyzing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as employee turnover, time to hire, etc. Such analytics are relevant to the HR team’s accountabilities

People analytics has a much broader scope. True people analytics aims to encompass HR, the entire workforce, and customer insights to improve decision making and business performance. Workforce analytics encompasses all a company’s workers (not just full-time employees) and allows for the future inclusion of AI and robots that will potentially replace current jobs within an organization.

For the business to prosper with people analytics, it is important to have a well-thought-out strategy that focuses on what really matters to the overall business; this should ultimately align with people actions and behaviors. Therefore, people analytics should enable a business to not only measure and track progress in relation to the business strategy but also assist HR to manage the overall people strategy by prescribing future actions to ultimately reach strategic business objectives.

This intersection between HR and Analytics makes the recruitment and selection of HR leaders critical and more complex. It has moved HR from a service function to a critical strategic partner to the rest of the C-Suite. In today’s business climate, finding the right Human Resources leaders to build organizational capabilities, is critical for a company’s gaining and sustaining competitive advantage.

According to a study by CIPD, HR professionals are using people data to tackle significant business challenges their organizations are facing and that companies who do this are significantly more productive. CIPD found that three-quarters of HR professionals globally are tackling workforce performance and productivity issues using people data, illustrating the importance of this information for strategic workforce issues. Research has shown that companies that track and manage factors such as attracting and retaining high performance and talented individuals, understanding workforce culture and behaviors, understanding the impact of modern and future working practices on the workforce, and understanding workforce performance and productivity.

These factors indicate that recruiting high performing human capital leaders will make an impact on organizational results. A top HR recruiter will leverage deep and broad relationships in the HR community and years of executive search experience in order to connect clients to talent that can lead in an evolving environment.

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