Insight builds impact, HR Indaba delegates told

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Sage’s Gerhard Hartman says people analytics is key to futureproofing HR.

The British mathematician Lord Calvin was right when he said, “If you can’t measure something, you can’t improve it,” and with the future of work already here, HR professionals can no longer ignore the fact that being able to effectively measure employee data ultimately enhances business strategy.

This is according to Gerhard Hartman, vice president of medium business for Sage in Africa AND the Middle East, where he provided an insightful presentation to a packed venue on the power of people analytics.

Gerhard emphasised to delegates that the role of HR is evolving. The pandemic accelerated the need for HR professionals to act quickly, rethink the employee experience, and lead from the front with agility and adaptability, but this could only be made possible by using the right technology.

The right technology, he added, is “the secret sauce” to meeting business objectives and to becoming a more effective HR leader. It’s a critical enabler not only for better organisational insight, but also to help HR professionals make intelligent choices through faster analytics that drive actionable insights.

However, Gerhard pointed out that many HR professionals are still not yet leveraging a veritable goldmine of organisational and employee data, as 94 percent of business leaders now have access to some form of people data, but 62 percent say they aren’t able to use it to spot trends. That’s why, no matter the technology that’s used, it’s critical to get the fundamentals right by deciding what needs to be measured, and why it’s being measured in the first place.

When leveraged effectively, people analytics can empower HR professionals to understand everything from absenteeism to overtime trends, and compliance to decision-making. It also means driving the HR agenda based on data, not “a gut feel”, which is a game-changer.

Tracking the employee lifecycle

From when they first become aware of your organisation’s brand, to the day they do the exit interview, it’s crucial to have insightful data to track every phase of the employee lifecycle, says Gerhard. “How long does it take to fill positions, what's the cost to hire, how long does it take for an employee to accept an offer? You can deep dive on anything and everything with data and use it to inform your decision-making,” added Gerhard.

How to leverage digital

The right digital tools can also reduce unnecessary administration tasks so HR professionals can be more proactive and less reactive. “There are huge benefits when using the right tools and tech; a study that Sage undertook last year involving HR and payroll experts found that 86 percent linked the increased use of cloud technology to the organisation’s ability to easily adapt to a remote or hybrid environment, for example,” said Gerhard.
He added that the right reporting tools and software are critical not only for streamlining processes, but to make life easier. “That way, HR professionals can spend more time on what makes the most business impact, like tracking EE targets and driving business strategy.”

So, what should HR leaders do next?

Gerhard wrapped up the presentation with the following advice to those present: first, align your HR objectives with business goals, but make sure you can turn these objectives into a reality and run them on a day-to-day basis. With the right data you can focus on metrics, engage the C-Suite, and ultimately “talk language of data across the business” to enable the right insights to make the biggest impact.

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