What are workforce analytics and why do you need them?

Your Human Resources department most likely gathers and analyzes workforce data on a daily basis but you may not even realize that’s what you’re doing or how you can make the most of it. If you’re like one of the hundreds of thousands of companies that have upgraded their technology in the last several years, you probably have a wealthy of data about both past and current employees that you could be utilizing for more than just informational purposes. Though it does require some investment to establish criteria and additional databases, most companies have the beginnings of a fruitful workforce analytics system right under their noses.

What are workforce analytics?


Workforce analytics are simply data gathered from your workforce that is analyzed and studied. It can be used to make overarching statements about the organization’s workforce, sharpen recruiting efforts, predict and forecast outcomes, guide decisions and hone in on certain employee groups. It can be as simple as using the data gathered through onboarding to measure the organization’s diversity or as complex as utilizing data gained from crowdsourcing salary information in making compensation decisions.

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Why you need them

Holding data about your workforce and not utilizing it as workforce analytics is like knowing you’re missing an important piece of the puzzle and not even bothering to look for it. If you’re of the school of thought that considers conventional wisdom and experience to be the only considerations when it comes to decision-making, it can be hard to adapt to utilizing these analytics. One of the best things I can tell you is that nothing will ever replace your conventional wisdom and experience, but workforce analytics can significantly enhance them.

In fact, workforce analytics can take what you already know, or your hunches, and use it to make educated predictions and forecasts about everything from recruiting to turnover. You can use it to predict employees’ future success, find the best structure for management, focus recruiting efforts to a very specific type of employee based on what analytics show works best in area and proactively address risk and areas that can be improved. In short, it’s the secret weapon that capitalizes on what you already know.

Launching your workforce analytics

It’s completely up to you and your organization as to what level you will utilize workforce analytics. Here are a few things to consider when making this decision: How much time can you invest in gathering additional data? How and when will you begin gathering data? Will you invest in additional tools to process and analyze data? Which areas could benefit most from it?

Whether you decide to take the data you currently have and get the most out of it or launch a full-scale analytics campaign to discover new factors about your workforce for forecasting purposes, there is a workforce analytics solution for each organization.

What kind of data do you have on hand today that you could turn into workforce analytics? Tell us where you’ll start in the comments section below.

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