How data analytics could help your HR department operate more effectively in 2021

Using technology to engage more effectively with employees can help to boost morale and productivity, writes Sailakshmi Baskaran, Product Consultant, ManageEngine.

The past year has been a torrid one for many businesses – and HR professionals have been in the thick of it. They have helped employers implement remote working policies and kept communication channels open at a time of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty. And, as the economic downturn has continued to bite, they have tackled the difficult task of letting good people go.

Great employee engagement makes tough assignments like these easier. It can also boost productivity and improve morale across an organisation. Both will be critical for Australian enterprises this year as they collectively tackle the challenge of rebuilding markets and profitability in the wake of the COVID downturn.

There is no hard-and-fast definition of “skill gap”; however, it can be described as deficiencies in performance caused by lack of prowess.

There is plenty of work to do. Australia’s GDP plunged a record 7 per cent in the June quarter of 2020 and although it is since rebounded, Australia’s Reserve Bank governor has warned businesses and individuals to expect an “uneven and drawn out” recovery.

Data analytics – the process of collecting and analysing raw data to produce conclusions and actionable insights – can be a valuable tool for HR departments as they galvanise employees for the battle and keep them focused on growing revenue and profitability.

Here are a few ways local HR departments can put analytics to use.

Make it easy for employees to seek help
Regardless of the touchpoint used, employees should be able to raise requests easily. Ensure your help forms are comprehensive, concise, and well-organised to collect all necessary information from employees so that service reps can provide speedy, satisfactory resolutions. Review the number of back-and-forth conversations between service reps and employees to understand if your help forms are truly helpful. Too many back-and-forth conversations indicate that your support forms do not collect necessary information, so your service reps have to reach out to employees several times.

Data analytics – the process of collecting and analysing raw data to produce conclusions and actionable insights – can be a valuable tool for HR departments as they galvanise employees for the battle and keep them focused on growing revenue and profitability.

Use first contact to keep employees informed
For employees, nothing is worse than raising a request and waiting endlessly for it to be resolved. One way to manage employee expectations is to set them on first contact, providing clear and realistic deadlines for resolution—especially when the request cannot be resolved on first contact. This will help employees prioritise and schedule their activities, and ensure they remain productive even as they wait for their requests to be completed. Use AI-enabled predictions to understand the time taken to complete requests and convey projected turnaround times to your employees.

Empower employees with effective self-service options
According to Gartner, 70 per cent of users prefer self-service technical support to working with a support rep. Unfortunately, only nine percent of users are able to resolve their issues using self-service. Even so, do not hesitate to invest time and money in creating self-service options for employees—it empowers employees to resolve their own issues and cuts down your workload. Once you’ve created enough self-service manuals, be sure to evaluate them periodically to ensure they’re effective and efficient.

Identify and troubleshoot process bottlenecks
Process bottlenecks are the silent killers of productivity. Analyse your processes thoroughly and see if requests are getting held up in the pipeline or bouncing among HR staff due to excessive workload, lack of skill, high demand of services, or other discernible factors such as unavailability of resources. With the issues identified, take steps to resolve them at the earliest.

Promote healthy competition within the team
Always encourage HR personnel to go the extra mile and provide personalised solutions to employees. Create dashboards to track HR performance and foster a healthy spirit of competition. Provide non-monetary rewards, send out thank-you emails, set up brainstorming sessions, create team-based activities, and encourage your staff to resolve employee problems as a team when the situation calls for it. Reward star performers and encourage the others to be more creative and innovative in their roles.

Identify skill gaps early on and train staff to close those gaps
There is no hard-and-fast definition of “skill gap”; however, it can be described as deficiencies in performance caused by lack of prowess. So how do you identify skill gaps? Build key performance indicators to determine how your HR staff contribute to your team or the business. Use employee reviews, 360-degree performance evaluations, peer observations, and performance benchmarks to identify star performers and those who need training. Then provide training to help your staff improve their skill set.

Regardless of the touchpoint used, employees should be able to raise requests easily. Ensure your help forms are comprehensive, concise, and well-organised to collect all necessary information from employees so that service reps can provide speedy, satisfactory resolutions.

Helping steer your organisation towards a stronger future
A company is only as good as its people and, in tough times, a top team can mean the difference between sinking and swimming. Data analytics can be deployed to help your people management division function more efficiently and get your workforce at large working more effectively. In 2021, it’s an investment that may pay for itself many times over.

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