In the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study, How CEOs and CHROs Can Connect People to Business Strategy, researchers found that:
Although most large enterprises collect a variety of workforce data, many CEOs currently are not using human capital metrics or analysis to make strategic business decisions. CEOs don’t ask for the metrics, HR does not deliver them effectively, or the CHRO is not using them to help connect people strategy with business strategy.
This has led many organizations to find a CHRO who can be a full partner – and even serve as a guide – towards using workforce data to make decisions that drive both business and people outcomes.
As such, it is more important than ever that the CHRO play an active role in selecting, enabling, and modeling usage of people analytics. If CHROs don’t possess the knowledge and experience described below, they must start taking steps now to upskill themselves and continue being relevant in the future of business.
The CHRO’s role in analytics success
The CHRO is most often the buyer for people analytics. Others – the people analytics leader or HR business partner manager – will be involved in delivering the day-to-day strategic and operational activities involved in using and implementing analytics, but without the support of the CHRO, this will all be more difficult. Ultimately, the CHRO is responsible for the success of technology solution enablement.
As such, there are some primary CHRO responsibilities when it comes to people analytics:
1. Drive the vision for success
The CHRO must be a stalwart champion for fact-based focus when making decisions. She must be able to communicate why data and insights are important for people leaders, and emphasize the value of using analytics to help diagnose workforce issues (and their impact on the business). As such, she must also be able to prioritize top issues based on data and act strategically to improve on HR and business outcomes. Here are some words of wisdom from Mark Berry, CHRO at Indiana Packers, who has driven success at several organizations:
I think about vision as the future – where are we going? We are trying to create an organization that makes better decisions using people analytics. It will be an ongoing journey that I expect to take several years. The science of the people analytics function is so new and how to get from A to B changes in every organization. It will be a trial and error situation to educate and sophisticate our staff to make better decisions.
2. Model the usage of fact-based tools for people decisions
We see a range of CHRO involvement in the use of people analytics. On one end of the spectrum the CHRO simply has a general awareness of it, while on the other end she is a super user of analytics. And somewhere in the middle is the CHRO who understands people analytics (and its importance), even at a high level, and uses it periodically.
Regardless of where this leader falls on the line, at the very minimum, she should advocate for other members of the executive team to use facts and analyses to support their people decisions.
After using people analytics to view incentive pay and performance, the CEO of a commercial bank with over 500 branches realized that pay and performance were out of sync. As a result, he began to require all his direct reports to review performance prior to even putting in a request for a pay raise.
3. Coach leaders on value and outcomes
The first aspect of coaching is to upskill the organization’s business leaders on the benefits and the costs of using analytics tools to identify, analyze, and solve workforce issues.
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