To thrive in a digital future, financial services (FS) firms need an adaptive, agile workforce. Access to workforce data and strategic use of HR analytics can help them reinvent the employee experience and build such a workforce.

Let’s start with how data and analytics can help decode the ‘employee genome’.

Decoding the employee genome

FS firms must reinvent their employee experience if they are to fight back in the war for talent. In much the same way as marketing departments work to personalize the customer experience, HR departments must personalize the employee experience to maximize employee performance and productivity.

The human genome, our genetic fingerprint, contains rich biological information that holds the promise of personalized medical insights and treatments. Similarly, decoding the employee genome will enable organizations to move from intuition-based mass-management of the workforce to creating and managing individual experiences that attract the best talent and get the best out of every employee.

For example, HR analytics can identify employees who are underperforming (and why) as well as those who are in danger of leaving. This can help the organization respond appropriately, addressing skills or capability gaps to improve performance, or increasing engagement to understand and reduce attrition.

Leading organizations are already using HR analytics to decode the employee genome and deliver personalized experiences. This is helping them raise employee performance, generate more useful HR metrics, and improve HR performance across all functions. According to the HR Systems Survey from Sierra-Cedar, companies using workforce analytics had a 79 percent higher return on equity.

It’s easy to shift to a personalized EX

Today’s cloud, big data, AI and advanced analytics technology makes it possible for nearly any company to shift from mass management of HR to personalized employee experiences. Equipped with the right technology, FS companies can get closer to employees, creating individual profiles, services and experiences. These will support employees in the ‘moments that matter’, maximize motivation and productivity, and make the firm a preferred employer.

Employees are on board to share their data. Of the 10,000 workers surveyed for the same research, 92 percent are open to allowing companies to collect data about them and their work, but only if it improves their performance or wellbeing or provides other personal benefits.

Trust is going to be an important requirement if employers want access to employee data, however.

Trust is critical

Collecting data (via wearables, online activity and workplace applications) is risky. Misuse of data could compromise privacy or other individual rights, prompt incorrect decisions or a misapplication of skills and, ultimately, drive a very consequential loss of employee trust in the organization.

Our research reveals that 62 percent of businesses are using new technologies and sources of workforce data extensively. But only 30 percent of business leaders are very confident that their organization is using the data in a highly responsible way.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018, prescribes the data rights of European citizens, such as the right to be forgotten and a requirement for unambiguous consent for their data to be used. It covers employee and customer data alike.

GDPR is just the beginning of a worldwide shift to tighter regulation of how organizations manage and protect the personal data they gather. To meet the demands and opportunities of regulations such as the GDPR, HR organizations need an approach that covers the acquisition, management, storage, transmission, usage, retention and deletion of information or data from employees, job candidates, former employees and other stakeholders.

Trust is the currency of the digital age, and transparency builds trust. Accenture identifies three actions to take:

  • Give to get: Communicate how data will be used and the benefits employees will receive. For example, BMC Software tracks productivity on an opt-in basis. Employees get personalized feedback on how to improve their time management in exchange for sharing their data. The company benefits by receiving anonymous and aggregated data on the time spent for each project and task.
  • Co-own data with employees: 73 percent of workers want to own their personal work-related data and take it with them when they leave. Technologies like blockchain can enable people to see what data has been collected about them, how it is being used and where it has gone. It could also let people specify who can (or cannot) have access to their data.
  • Protect privacy—together: Preventing security breaches of employee data is one non-negotiable, but it is also crucial to keep employee data private within the organization—58 percent of employees we surveyed said they would refuse data-collection activities if their personal data was not kept private when the expectation was for the company to do so.

Get this right and access to workforce data for HR analytics can be yours. There are huge benefits to be had.

The benefits of HR analytics

HR analytics can help employees realize their potential and help employers fully leverage that potential. It can also help employers plan and recruit with greater accuracy to achieve their unique goals.

HR analytics for financial services talent and organizationa 60-second Accenture view.

Here are just some of the ways HR analytics can drive improvements across the talent lifecycle:

  • Planning and recruitment: Understand workforce demographics, costs and mix, and forecast talent requirements.
  • Learning, performance and rewards: Understand training costs; measure employee productivity and compare to KPIs; understand the link between capabilities and performance, and how to close the gap; ensure employees have access to the tools, information and assets they need, when they need them; track an employee’s readiness for promotion; profile high performers and put them in ‘A’ roles; understand pay parity and link it to performance.
  • Engagement and retention: Analyze engagement levels and drivers of engagement; determine the financial value of lost work days; predict optimal interventions to reduce the loss of individual employees.

A superior employee experience drives employee engagement and productivity, which is good for business. But HR analytics can do much more than just deliver tailored services based on employees’ individual needs.

Used strategically, advanced HR analytics can be used to drive change programs and cultural transformation. It can be combined in different ways to provide new insights that can increase competitive advantage. And, importantly, it can be used for talent management, helping the organization build a future-fit workforce that can grow the bottom line.

Join me next week as I take a look at how these benefits can be achieved, easily and inexpensively.

Meantime, for more on this topic, click through to the following resources: Cracking the workforce genome, Decoding organizational DNA, Becoming a data-driven enterprise, and Supercharging HR data management.


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