Workforce Analytics in South Africa: how fast is the take-up?

Workforce analytics holds such benefits for the human resources industry that one would expect the adoption to be rapid. Companies should be investing in programs that will allow them to make the best use of data for recruitment and talent management, as well as salary and succession management.

Industries that have responded with the most alacrity to this innovative technology are finance and legal, while manufacturing and construction remain low. Finance has long been reliant on the use of analytics, so the quick adoption of this program is not surprising. Likewise, the legal industry is constantly under regulatory scrutiny and changes, and therefore needs a steady, stable workforce in place for creating confidence and sound future prospects.

The benefits

However, for those companies still contemplating the application of workforce analytics, the benefits across HR strategies and decision-making are significant.

  • The use of HR analytics in attracting and retaining top talent is crucial. There is ever-growing competition in this area, and companies need to realise that the sooner they can plan their future workforce needs efficiently and effectively, the better the future prospects of the company will be.
  • Key skills considered essential for the future workplace include: technical business expertise, problem-solving, creativity, and leadership qualities. These are skills that are hard to measure, and data analytics works specifically to help companies find and retain the right people. Over the last five years, the adoption of technology has moved from static HR management solutions to more dynamic, real-time cloud-and mobile-based tools and platforms.
  • Workforce analytics can help with questions such as diversity, location decisions, hiring, benchmarking, employer branding, etc. It also shows where the organisation needs specific attention with regard to both processes and people.
  • The system identifies future needs through analysis of size, structure and the types of talent the organisation should be searching for in order to remain competitive well into the future. And being able to more accurately forecast the future is crucial to maximising returns and remaining relevant.
  • The model is particularly useful in creating a happy workforce. It highlights where there might be low productivity or workforce dysfunction and avails an employer the opportunity to intervene timeously and solve grievances before they become problematic to the company. It also shows where acknowledgement of excellence is required, thus ensuring greater self and job satisfaction for employees.
  • The increasing trend is for continued organisational learning and skills development. Workforce analytics helps a company to define exactly where this is needed and what learning may be required.

Points to ponder

Since 2016, the adoption of workforce analytics has been increasing in pace among South African companies. In many instances, there is still a fear of digitalization taking jobs off the map. However, more companies are seeing that the advantages far outweigh the concerns.

And while there is still a fair percentage who have no effective measurement systems for data such as absenteeism and staff turnover, many are anxious to learn about the value of the program because the future is closer than we think, and unstoppable.

  • Recording and interpreting your workforce data means you can optimise HR management in a variety of tasks, such as: accurately predicting future technological needs and training; evaluating and retaining top talent; recruiting the best candidates; motivating the workforce through good rewards, healthcare and focused performance management.
  • Workforce analytics benefits employees by allowing them to visualise and plan for growth within the company, clearly defining all career paths available. This emphasizes the skills required and the opportunities to obtain these skills. Employees can register their goals and engage in constructive conversations on how their would like their career to develop within the company. Communication improves mood, motivation and attitude – which is all good for the business as a whole.
  • If you are not optimally managing: workforce planning; talent management; succession planning; learning and development through utilising the latest HR management tools, then you may be seriously endangering your business goals.

The new value of Human Resources

At the HR Analytics Institute we believe there is a smarter way to get the best out of your staff and improve your business. Not only do we clearly see the potential to improve business through better relationships, but we are passionate about training HR practitioners to understand the value of their interface role between staff and management. Our practical courses will enable you to play a far greater role in strategic decision-making within the business as a whole.

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