Industry Viewpoints

Three Ways to Use Data to Drive a More Strategic Approach to People In 2023

Headshot of blog author Tom Ricks wearing a dark blue suit jacket with a white dress shirt

Tom Ricks

5 min read

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Business priorities, and therefore people priorities, are shifting at a pace like never before thanks to increasing interest rates, energy prices, political uncertainty, global supply constraints, and issues finding and funding expensive talent.

People and HR leaders are going to be under considerable pressure to adapt and evolve quickly throughout 2023 in order to support their CEO’s much bigger focus on the workforce. Leaders have really woken up to the value that people bring to their organizations, in part due to the pressure that 2022’s ‘great resignation’ and ‘quiet quitting’ put on many.

With so much going on, it might be hard to know where to prioritise efforts and how to ensure a competitive edge, so I’ve listed three ways HR teams can use data to drive a more strategic approach in 2023.

  1. Use predictive engagement models to overcome change fatigue: Life for most has been a rollercoaster of change since early 2020 when COVID-19 really took hold around the world. Research from Gartner shows that in 2016 74% of employees were willing to change work behaviours to support organizational changes, but that number has dipped to just 38% in 2022. This is a worry given that over half of HR leaders know change management is a huge priority for the year ahead. So how can people teams help reinvigorate employees? I work with lots of organizations to use their people data to create Predictive Attrition models and I love the idea of reversing this to create a Predictive Engagement model. Crunching the numbers to calculate what you’re already doing well – and to do them even better can help keep your workforce motivated, engaged and feeling part of your broader business. Think of it as the Great Retention, and avoid the recruitment need as much as possible.

  2. Collate and analyze data to make leaders more effective: Leaders and people managers play a vital role in navigating an organisation through any period of rapid change and uncertainty. People teams know this, with 60% of HR leaders saying they plan to focus on improving leader and management effectiveness over the next 12 months. Data can help considerably turn the dial up on this. By collating and analyzing data about individual core skills, strengths and performance, people teams can more efficiently and effectively spot gaps to better prioritize learning and development and progression pathways. Empowering senior leaders with accurate, real-time macro-people data and trends will give them the power to manage and make timely business decisions far more effectively. There’s also value to be gained from being able to analyse this people data against other core metrics from other functions to predict and prevent issues before they even occur.

  3. Turbo-charge information to make a talent acquisition strategy smarter: Taking an intelligence-based approach to recruitment can create a competitive edge, as data analytics can play a positive role in almost every aspect of the talent acquisition process. Analyzing the quantity and quality of applicants from different sources can help avoid wasting time and money on those that don’t bring in the best people for the business, which, in turn, improves average time and cost per hire. Data can also improve a team’s ability to benchmark candidates, set key performance indicators, reduce hiring bias, and build a more cost-and-time effective strategy.

This year is certain to be a challenging year for people and HR experts. The great power that comes with workforce issues being a bigger priority for CEOs comes hand-in-hand with great responsibility. History has taught us that smart organizations that move quickly are the best placed to make it through difficult economic times unscathed. And thankfully, thanks to the rise in HR software, data and automation, a market due reach $35.13bn by 2023, people professionals are better placed to offer better informed strategic insight than ever before.

Becoming strategic with data will help HR leaders and their teams add critical value to the business in 2023. @tom_ricks

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