Corporate leaders recognise that HR has the potential to elevate business strategies. Yet, only slightly more than half of the companies surveyed bring HR to the table when developing business strategy - 59 per cent in India, 53 per cent in Australia, 51 per cent in Malaysia and 50 per cent in Singapore, according to our recent Workforce Agility Barometer[i] report.
While C-suite leaders ranked their HR departments better in areas such as talent acquisition, talent retention, and operational excellence, there remains a lack of HR capabilities in strategic business advisory. Only 37% of businesses in the region believe their HR function is fully capable of providing strategic workforce insights.
To be able to contribute to the conversation on strategy, HR must be able to demonstrate business impact and one clear way is to use data to deliver insights on talent.
Data analytics have become mainstream in many parts of high performance businesses supporting everything from operations, management and financial performance. In the same way, people analytics has a crucial role to play in managing the talent supply chain.
The problem is, most organisations do not have reliable and usable data on its workforce.
According to a Deloitte report, I find it lamentable that only 8% of companies report they have usable data while only 9% believe they have a good understanding of the talent factors that drive performance[ii].
Despite its importance, few firms have reached the state where their use of talent analytics is predictive, with almost all firms stuck at the basic reporting, correlations and cause/effect analyses stages[iii].
To raise the capabilities of HR, 66% of companies turn to training, certification and conferences. 56% adopt workforce analytics tools, 51% look to talent industry insights and trend reports, while only 41% engage external HR consultants to provide insights to inform their strategic workforce planning[iv].
It is common for Marketing and IT functions to engage external consultants to up their game. Doing so brings in external expertise who have the benefit of serving many firms in the industry and the knowledge to raise performance through introducing best practices and methods to elevate your organisation’s strategies.
HR can do likewise, by partnering with consultants to develop talent supply chain insights and initiate the practice of using data to power its understanding of its workforce.
While the results of KellyOCG’s Workforce Agility Barometer suggests that HR is behind the curve in capability building, I believe this represents a opportunity to reap low hanging fruits, by stepping up the use of people data analytics and consultants. HR can then play a more pivotal role in supporting business strategies and driving results.
[i] The study surveyed 210 C-suite level executives across Singapore, Australia, India and Malaysia. They span industries including banking, financial services, life sciences, healthcare, medical services and manufacturing.
[ii] Deloitte (2017), “Global Human Capital Trends”
[iii] Mercer (2017), “Global Study: Empowerment in a Disrupted World”
[iv] KellyOCG (2017), “APAC Workforce Agility Barometer”