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Commonly recognized as the holy grail for the Human Resources community, people analytics is used by more than 70% of companies to improve business outcomes and drive high-performance. This number is expected to have risen significantly with the onset of remote work culture, where assessing the behavior of your people and keeping a pulse-check on your organization requires more than just gut feelings and instincts.
Take Best Buy, the American multinational consumer electronics retailer, for example. They used people analytics to find that the value of a 0.1% increase in engagement among employees at a particular store can amount to a performance boost worth $100,000 in the store’s annual operating income! Talk about high performance! This motivated them to drastically increase the frequency of employee engagement surveys from annual to quarterly, saving them millions in revenue.
From acquisition to onboarding to development to retention—people analytics is the key to creating a culture of high performance in your organization. It’s how you bring out the best in your people and maximize the number of high performers in your organization to support your business goals.
How to Use The 9-box Grid to Drive High Performance
The 9-box grid is a framework for talent management that maps the various kinds of individuals in your organization with respect to their potential as well as their performance. It is a simple 3x3 grid with potential along the y-axis and performance along the x-axis. This grid serves as an assessment tool to evaluate a person’s potential contribution to the organization as well as where they need improvement. It is primarily used in succession planning to identify future leaders.
“Without the right succession planning put to play in human resources, we build for the future without a future.”
– Mmanti Umoh, Management Consultant
Individuals with the highest performance and potential are the best candidates for leadership positions in the organization. They are found at the top right corner of the grid where the maximum potential and performance intersect. They are self-motivated stellar performers who consistently perform well in most projects.
Conversely, those with the lowest potential and performance are found at the bottom left corner of the grid. They are usually demoted to lower positions or terminated from the organization.
The objective of this grid is to identify the performance and potential of your employees and to determine how to help them strive for the right-most columns of the grid. There are several ways this can be done—encouraging team work and collaboration, developing criticala and strategic thinking, and providing the necessary training they need. People analytics facilitate a faster trajectory towards high performance by leveraging data analytics and AI-based intelligence. Let’s understand how.
How To Use People Analytics To Drive High Performance
1. Get Employee Engagement Right—Use Actual Data and Eliminate Guesswork
British international shoe manufacturer and retailer Clark ran a study using 450 business performance data points to find the correlation between engagement and business performance in their organization. They found that for every 1% improvement in engagement, there’s a 0.4% improvement in business performance. They also used their people analytics insights to create a blueprint for high-performing stores as well as an engagement toolkit for managers to use to improve performance.
Okay, so now that we know employee engagement is a must for high performance, how do we measure it? How do you know if your people leave work satisfied at the end of the day or loathe the idea of having to clock back in the next day? There are two ways for top-level executives to go find out—rely on your own subjective experiences about what engagement means to you or rely on people analytics to find out what engagement actually means to your people.
“In order to build a rewarding employee experience, you need to understand what matters most to your people.”
– Julie Bevacqua, President at Rise People
Rather than relying on subjective inputs, people analytics provides you with the actual numbers, patterns, and trends among your people through data. This way, employee engagement is driven by the people’s needs and not by the subjective experiences of senior management.
When employee engagement is driven by actual data from your people themselves, you can rest assured knowing that you’re providing them what they need and not what you think they need. An engaged workforce is one of the key ingredients for a high-performance culture.
2. Improve Employee Retention With The Help of Timely Warnings
People analytics can improve your employee retention by analyzing and predicting employee resignations before they occur. Replacing employees can get incredibly expensive. Replacing someone in a technical position can cost you anywhere between 100-150% of their annual salary. This can go up to 213% for those in C-suite positions! Disturbing numbers, but what’s the solution?
Predictive analytics is the part of people analytics that analyzes historical data and produces forecasts or “predictions” for the future. They are the fortune tellers of people analytics—the only difference being that people analytics is based on real data! Predictive analytics can analyze the behavior of employees and forecast who’s leaving soon with shocking accuracy. Take IBM, for example, They used predictive analytics to predict who’s about to quit with 95% accuracy!
With timely intervention, people analytics can help you keep employee turnover in check and work on retaining those employees that are likely to quit. Understanding what your people are unhappy with or giving them the motive to leave, and working on solving those factors to retain them and keep them engaged drives their loyalty and performance by a long shot.
3. Tweak Your Learning & Development Programs
Learning and Development programs are one of the most obvious and effective methods of increasing performance among employees. Yet, only 12% of employees actually apply the new skills learned from these programs. So where are companies going wrong? We’ve explored this in detail in our blog on L&D programs.
People Analytics can help you tweak your L&D programs further to perfection by leveraging data and analytics to find the best way to deliver training to your people. It helps you discover the actual impact of your programs on business outcomes rather than measuring earned CPE credits.
The applications of people analytics to L&D programs are distributed between descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics. Descriptive analytics helps you identify where exactly your programs are lacking and predictive analytics tell you what potential issues this may create for business outcomes in the future. You can then use prescriptive analytics to understand the necessary course of action to optimize your L&D programs for the best results.
4. Establish Better Data Practices For More Accurate Outcomes
What’s the one thing without which people analytics cannot work? Data! Accurate data is the key to healthy people analytics. If you feed people analytics with incorrect data, it’ll give you pointless suggestions, or even worse—counterproductive courses of action that could plummet performance.
To leverage people analytics properly, you need a better data strategy. To ensure data accuracy, collect data from as many touchpoints as possible in real-time. This ensures that you’re getting the full picture and not overlooking any crucial data points that may have a significant impact on your business outcomes.
5. Optimize Recruitment & Talent Acquisition to Bring In High-Performing Candidates
People analytics has proven to be useful time again in the fields of recruitment and talent acquisition. Data is immensely valuable when it comes to acquiring and hiring talent and people analytics helps you use this data to predict positions that may need filling soon, set recruitment goals, identify skills gaps, etc.
That said, the most important application of people analytics that drives high performance is identifying the candidate with the highest potential to excel in the required position. Hiring analytics is the branch of people analytics that analyzes information from job candidates to shortlist the best potential candidates based on their applications and resumes.
People analytics ultimately helps drive a high-performance culture by selecting the best candidates and reducing hiring and recruitment costs. An AI-based hiring and recruitment system also removes any biases or discriminatory prejudices that affect the diversity of the organization, especially in senior management positions.
Establish a Data-Driven Company Culture to Drive High-Performance
Data lies at the heart of people analytics and establishing a data-driven culture is the key to high performance in an organization. Encourage your people to prioritize factual data and numbers over gut instincts and subjective opinions. When decisions in your organization are made with the help of data-driven people analytics, your chances of achieving the desired business outcomes increase tenfold.
The more the work culture is data-driven, and the more senior managers communicate effectively with team members, the more likely an organization is to produce more high performers. Ultimately, high-performance work culture can be achieved simply by striving towards making your organization a great place to work.