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Depending on who you ask, you can come to a different conclusion as to what the terms workforce analytics and HR analytics mean.

For some, it’s a simple case of semantics: HR and workforce analytics are one and the same and can be used interchangeably.

For others, there’s more nuance to it, and a case can be made for the two forms of analysis serving different purposes.

For the purpose of this guide, we’re going to fall into the latter camp and analyze the subtle differences that define both workforce and HR analytics. 

We’ll provide real-life examples of both in action, and show you how you can use them to evaluate both the individuals and the collective workforce that define your organization.

HR Analytics (With Practical Examples)

HR analytics, in short, uses a wealth of tools and systems to help with HR operations. That may sound overly simplistic, but this is the primary purpose of HR analytics.

With the right HR analytics tools, HR reps can more easily execute their day-to-day responsibilities and oversee high-level operations. 

Here are a few of the key areas in which HR analytics can be useful:

  • Talent acquisition
  • Recruitment interviews
  • Employee wellbeing checks
  • Employee retention and turnover

With HR analytics, employees can easily pull and analyze relevant data which can help them paint a clear picture of the work landscape as it pertains to individual employees. Individual is the operative word here, as HR analytics focuses on each employee and their contributions as opposed to the more holistic approach with workforce analytics.

A common misconception is that the use of HR analytics is reserved for those who work within the HR department, but this isn’t always the case. It’s more accurate to say that the analytics are used by anyone to refine HR processes and execution.

To illustrate exactly what we’re talking about when we refer to HR analytics, let’s look at a few relevant use cases and the tools you can use to support them:

Employee Information Storage

For an HR department to operate effectively, there needs to be a digital data storage hub that keeps files on every employee. That way, the team can access individual’s files quickly and easily from wherever they are. 

HR Analytics Tool:

HRIS (Human Resource Information System)

HRIS software is ubiquitous in HR departments in companies both big and small.

In a nutshell, this software serves as a centralized storage solution for employee data. It’s most often a core pillar of a company’s HR department, and forms an integral part of any analytics. 

Here are a few features you can expect with HRIS tools:

  •  Applicant tracking (we’ll cover this shortly) 
  •  Payroll calculation
  •  Attendance information
  •  Employee benefits administration
  •  Training tools

Recruitment Process

One of the most important responsibilities of any HR team is to find and interview candidates for open vacancies and ultimately make hires.

The recruitment process can be incredibly tricky without candidate data at your fingertips though.

Typically HR teams will use a digital system of tracking candidates to keep track of important information.

HR Analytics Tool:

ATS (Applicant Tracking System)

An ATS, which is usually a feature of an HRIS, will filter all candidate applications according to various keywords. They can speed up the candidate screening process and make sure the top talent doesn’t fall through the cracks even if they aren’t the right fit for the current vacancy.

Individual Evaluation

An HR function that’s becoming more prevalent with the rise of employee burnout and other workplace issues is that of wellbeing and work-life balance.

Nobody underestimates the importance of tracking productivity and measuring performance, but what about stressors that impact an employee’s mental health and difficult home situations that make remote work challenging?

HR Analytics Tool:

Employee Satisfaction Surveys

While it might seem rudimentary, sometimes a survey is the best way to get a clear indication of where an employee’s head is at. It can help you figure out if the employee is content in their current situation at work, and whether anything is affecting their wellbeing.

An employee satisfaction survey can include questions such as:

  •  Do you feel supported by your team?
  •  Do you feel as if your time is valued?
  •  Do you know who to reach out to if you have an issue?
  •  How often do you feel stressed at work?

Workforce Analytics (With Practical Examples)

If HR analytics focuses on the individual behind the desktop, workforce analytics takes a more holistic approach and centers around the workforce as a collective. Instead of informing HR processes and procedures, workforce analytics is more concerned with employee data and productivity metrics.

As such, you could say it’s about analyzing the work employees do rather than the employees themselves.

There are several important roles that workforce analytics fulfills, such as the following:

Identify Productivity Trends

If you want your business to make meaningful progress towards its strategic goals, you need to implement a workforce optimization system. 

You need a reliable, robust way of identifying productivity trends so you can determine who the top performers are and who’s struggling. This data will also help you know when to course-correct as it’ll show you if there’s a sustained lull in output.

The benefits of workforce optimization are simple: spot trends – both positive and negative – and act on them to streamline your day-to-day operations.

Workforce Analytics Tool:

Time Tracking 

With time tracking, you can collect valuable time data for individual employees, teams, and even entire departments. With this data you can assess how much time each employee is putting in every day, and whether there’s cause for concern. 

Accurate Future Planning 

Planning for the future is key if you want to stay ahead of the curve and serve your clients well. Whether it’s knowing how much time to allocate to a project or understanding which employees are best utilized in which roles, it’s essential to have a clear grasp of what’s going on in your workforce.

Workforce Analytics Tool:

Worker Monitoring Software

With activity monitoring solutions, time tracking can become a core building block for establishing a clear picture of productivity and performance. 

In addition to being able to track your employees by measuring the time they spend on various tasks, web tracking software Insightful goes a step further and offers features such as:

  •  A granular view of time spent for employees review including specific apps, websites visited, and idle time
  •  Labels such as ‘productive’ and ‘unproductive’ for workforce monitoring and evaluating day-to-day time usage
  •  Shift scheduling to understand when employees show up late for work

Boost Employee Engagement

If you want to reduce the risk of quiet quitting and burnout in your workforce, it’s in your interest to find ways to boost employee engagement.

Engagement is all about how connected employees feel with their work, and as such, is a powerful motivator.

Workforce Analytics Tool:

Employee Output Dashboard

With some workforce analytics tools you can see every employee’s output in a snapshot with a chart or report. As a result of monitoring and measuring their daily productivity, you can step in when you notice red flags such as wavering productivity sustained over the course of several days.

When you can identify burnout before it happens, you can be proactive and have a one-to-one meeting where you actively listen to the employee and get to the bottom of the issue.

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