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Which People Metrics Matter Most to Modern Enterprise and Why?
Today’s business leaders are required to make decisions and take risks. That has, and always will be the case. They must also strike the right balance when it comes to managing individuals, achieving targets and complying with legislation. It’s not easy. That’s why it takes a certain type of person to successfully spin all of these plates. People metrics can help in accessing the right information to make the right decisions.
Recent years have seen a boom in the acceptance and implementation of people metrics in workforces across the globe. But questions are now being asked about whether the information available is being used in the most productive manner.
In the 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey conducted by Deloitte, 97% of respondents acknowledged the need for additional information on some aspects of their workforce. This information is available via people metrics. So why is it not more widely used especially with the year 2020 having normalized distributed workforce?
Those organizations which are more mature in workforce metrics have been proven to be up to 15% more likely to sense and react to external changes and trends, and up to 18% more prepared to deal with internal changes. This is no coincidence. It is a result of those organizations putting effort into understanding their structure, their workforce and their market. With greater understanding comes more accurate forecasting. With more accurate forecasting comes improved preparation. And with improved preparation comes greater success.
Prior to the digital transformation of business it was widely accepted that business leaders were required to work on historic data. The inability to produce reports in real-time forced leaders to look at what had previously happened and to make educated predictions of what might happen moving forward. People analytics changed all that. In the modern business world, AI is able to more accurately predict the future of work and of the workforce. But many businesses have failed to keep up with this advancement and are still working with out of date data. The challenge for modern leaders is to start asking new questions about their data. Questions which could not previously be answered, but can now help to shape the future of work in all manner of sectors right across the world.
Understanding the value of individuals is the future of work
Every individual in every organization needs to feel valued. It is incumbent on leaders to ensure they do. But that can only happen if leaders understand what each individual is contributing, where their role fits into the overall company objective and, crucially, how the individuals’ role is likely to change. Standing still is a sure fire way to failure, so leaders need to be looking ahead at creative ways to adapt their workforce to the changing landscape of their industry. This means understanding how the workforce is feeling, what motivates them and what skills they will need as the future of work continues to roll on. People analytics can provide the answers. Leaders just need to ask the right questions.
Fairness and equality in the workplace
True equality in the workplace is the only way to maintain a happy, motivated team. It is also a regulatory requirement. Beyond that, it helps define the culture of the organization. The workforce is a representative of the brand, and with more social networking than ever before, inside and outside of work, how individuals convey their opinions, good or bad, reflects on the organization. It is vital that leaders understand the mindset of their teams and act to nurture it.
Evolution of roles
No job role ever changed overnight. They either develop organically into something different or they change because a strategic or regulatory change is made. Leaders need to be able to predict how changes will affect both the day-to-day role and the overall outlook of the individuals concerned. Metrics which measure agility and adaptability will help organizations prepare for these changes. The pace at which jobs are changing can be an indication of whether organizations are integrating new technology into their working practices appropriately. Where technology is being used, people analytics can help to identify potential knowledge gaps or areas where upskilling or reskilling will be required.
Metrics which offer a logical assessment of the future of work provide leaders with a framework upon which to base their predictions on how to prepare for the future in terms of their investment in infrastructure and the workforce.
Understanding the internal talent market
Metrics which evaluate the internal talent market of an organization help leaders to understand how well placed they are to meet new challenges. Those with the healthiest internal talent markets are in the best position to adapt. Those who can quickly identify gaps or potential weaknesses in their internal talent pool put themselves in a position to plug gaps early. Not only will this help prepare the existing workforce for the future, it will also improve workforce productivity and retention.
In the same way that individual job roles are subject to change, leadership roles, and indeed organizational structures must adapt to a changing world. It is therefore crucial for leaders to honestly evaluate their own capabilities against the backdrop of operational changes. People metrics can help. Since data helps us paint an unbiased picture, people metrics will be playing the same crucial role in the leadership assessment as we move forward as with the rest of the workforce.
The paradox of workforce metrics is that organizations are least likely to collect data on those areas which are most critical to the future of work. The chart above shows that just 14% of organizations understand their upskilling status. And these are organizations who are obtaining data on this metric. Only 2% more collate data on new workforce initiatives and less than a third have reliable real-time data on talent mobility within their organization. Descriptive data, while useful, often just confirms what leaders already know in statistical form. Predictive data provides an insight into the future of work and provides leadership teams with the tools to successfully plan for inevitable changes to market conditions.
Yet it is this predictive data that should allow business leaders to understand the future of their workforce and take action to address gaps before the need to plug them arises.
Looking back at the 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Survey, 52% of respondents said they lack the systems to provide accurate, real-time people metrics data. But this should not be a barrier for any organization. The people analytics software is out there. So, the first change on the agenda for many leaders simply needs to be looking at whether they are asking the right questions, accessing the right data and using the data to accurately predict future changes. Because, once you get those three things right, the rest will fall into place.
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