Although organizations must make decisions based on a variety of factors and perspectives, few are as important as human resources when it comes to taking decisive action during a crisis. A company’s workforce is vitally important and one of the most complex aspects of operating a business. Instead of clean, hard data, employees can present a variety of qualitative factors that are hard to put into numbers that work for analytics.

Even so, an organization’s human capital is perhaps its most important asset. Building an in-depth understanding of your staff can help you come up with better solutions and improve your competitive edge. Workforce analytics — sometimes called people analytics — can empower your team by providing better insights as to what works and doesn’t. Furthermore, it can help uncover tools that employees need to succeed. Let’s begin by breaking down the meaning of workforce analytics.

What are workforce analytics?

Workforce analytics, a part of HR analytics, track and measure employee-related data and help HR teams optimize their organizations’ human resources. The field focuses on much more than hiring and firing by also concentrating on the return on value for every hire. Moreover, it highlights more specific data that assists with identifying workplace trends such as potential risk factors, satisfaction with decisions, and more.

Additionally, workforce analytics can evaluate more than just existing staff by also analyzing the overall employment trends. For instance, companies can see which periods of the year have a higher number of applicants and adjust their recruitment efforts, or measure diversity efforts as well as employee engagement without having to resort to more invasive or subjective methods that may provide false positives.


What are some key benefits of workforce analytics?

More so than tracking the number of employees and what they’re making, workforce analytics provides a comprehensive view of your organization’s workers designed to interpret historic trends and create predictive models that lead to insights and better decisions in the future. Some of the key benefits of workforce analytics include:

  • Find areas where efficiency can be improved with automation – While workers are an asset to a company, sometimes the tasks they do can reduce their productivity or provide minimal returns. Workforce analytics can discover areas where tasks can be relegated to machines via automation, allowing workers to instead dedicate their efforts to more important and valuable activities.
  • Improve workers’ engagement by understanding their needs and satisfaction – More than simply looking for firing and hiring information, workforce and people analytics can help a company understand why their employees are not performing their best, and the factors that are impacting productivity. This is more to maintain the current workforce instead of replacing it. The goal is to uncover those factors affecting performance and engagement and to overcome them by fostering better conditions.
  • Create better criteria for hiring new staff and provide a better hiring process – Finding new talent is always complex regardless of a company’s size or scope. Workforce analytics can shed light exactly on what is needed from a new hire by a department based on previous applicants, their success, and the company’s needs. More importantly, they can understand new candidates based on this historical data to determine whether they would be a good fit or not. For instance, a company seeking to hire a new developer may think twice about hiring a server-side programmer after several previous hires with similar experience didn’t work out.

What key metrics should workforce analytics track?

  • Employee productivity – We still talk about the 9 to 5 work day, but the current reality for many employees dictates that work hours tend to be more flexible and variable. As such, measuring productivity by the number of hours worked is no longer fully accurate. Instead, creating a productivity index which includes a few different data points will give a much better idea of how employees are performing.
  • Early turnover – Another important area that is often neglected when measuring satisfaction is how quickly employees are leaving on their own. A high early turnover rate is an indicator that things are not working both in terms of meeting expectations and employee satisfaction.
  • Engagement – This may seem superfluous, but employees who are engaged with their work are more likely to be productive. Measuring engagement includes tracking employee satisfaction, stress levels, and employees’ belief in the company’s ideals. High engagement is a great sign that HR is doing its job.


Focusing your data gathering internally can help you improve your company’s productivity. By honing in on your human resources and finding ways to empower your team, people analytics can boost your company’s efficiency, leading to happier and more productive colleagues.

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