In the fourth of our series of 2020 Global Human Capital Trends webinars, Hamish Wilson (Deloitte Partner) facilitated a discussion of the chapter - ‘Governing Workforce Strategies: New Questions for Better Results’. While the trend is underpinned by a focus on People Analytics (the 9th time this topic has appeared in 10 reports), our discussion in the webinar looked predominantly at the disconnect between the types of questions organisations are asking, and the information they need to make good workforce decisions.

In our HC Trends Survey, we found that New Zealand organisations outperformed the global averages for collection of basic people data – nearly all Kiwi respondents collect data on metrics like headcount, staff turnover, recruitment costs and salary costs. Despite this, we aren’t seeing the majority of our organisations asking the right questions of the data. Many HR departments will be familiar with requests for reporting and executive dashboards to track key metrics, but fewer are conducting analysis on the data they have to look for insights that can improve performance.

In the webinar, we were joined by Deloitte Workforce Strategy and People Analytics expert Craig Renshaw, and Natasha Smith, who leads the People Analytics programme for the Canterbury and West Coast DHBs. The key message echoed by both? ‘People Analytics is a journey’.

While we discussed the potential to invest in high-tech systems and how to better use data to reinvent your Workforce Strategies and Plans, we also discussed the real value of using the data and technology you already have to make step-change improvements on key business issues. The DHBs have used data to provide better visibility to their managers around some of the top challenges for any workforce, which are even more prominent in a health environment. A good proof of concept for the DHBs’ investment in analytics was to create simple dashboards for supervisors, showing use of sick leave compared to balances of annual leave, helping identify when staff might be at risk of falling ill. The DHBs are also exploring the ability to use the data they already have through records and timesheets to provide insights into how they might optimise workforce rostering.

Once your organisation has proven the power of People Analytics to find operational efficiencies, you can look to tackle more strategic challenges. In our new COVID-19 world, organisations are becoming increasingly strategic about their workforce needs, wanting to know how to deploy the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time. In Deloitte’s position, we have a good view into how effective this pivot towards workforce as the cornerstone of future thinking has been. We are seeing organisations ask the right questions, and make reasoned commitments to how their work, workers, and workplaces will adapt in the future.

The significant hurdle which many have reached, or are approaching, is how to monitor the effectiveness of these workforce strategies, and refine their workforce planning accordingly. In the webinar, Craig discussed some of the new technologies and frameworks which organisations are using, alongside improvements in the more operational-level data we capture from workforce planning and management, to gain the best value from their workforce. Slide 28 from the webinar available here provided some tangible suggestions for the things your organisation may want to consider in using data modelling to optimise workforce planning, including scenario modelling for the use of alternative talent sources, and incorporating supply/demand of capability as opposed to a pure focus on numbers of people.

In New Zealand, our collective analytics journey is still in its infancy. Only 56% of our survey respondents felt that their organisation has made progress in this area in the past decade. But while we believe technology is an enabler, a lack of technology is not an excuse to ignore the power of data. The overarching call to action from both Craig and Natasha was ‘start somewhere’. Whether you’re ready to make the business case for advanced analytics in your people function, or just ready to hire a high school student with a clipboard to count how many people are in your store at different times throughout the day, it’s time to make a start!

Find out more about the 2020 Global Human Capital Trends here, and reach out to the Deloitte New Zealand team if you would like to talk about how we can support your journey to fostering belonging and workforce contribution to drive high business performance.

Finally, you can register for our upcoming webinars to hear more from our Deloitte leaders and guests on actionable strategies and stories at the forefront of reinventing the future of work.

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