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How to use real-time HR data to prepare for workforce change

Written by Prajna Shettigar

Prajna, Navigo's Marketing Coordinator, is passionate about HR Technology and all things digital. She is always looking for creative solutions to help organisations turn their HR data into meaningful information.

May 19, 2021

In 2020, we saw a growing need for organisations to review and adapt their structure. Lots of companies needed to figure out how to respond to change, some even forced to design a completely new business model. This is when real-time data helps organisations make critical decisions and the reason agile workforce modelling has become more important than ever. This blog will cover the following key topics – 

Part One 

Part Two 

Why is workforce modelling important

During our 20+ years in the HR tech industry, we’ve often seen that workforce modelling is the missing piece in workforce management. Many HR professionals tend to use the terms workforce modelling and workforce planning interchangeably, this is where things go wrong. While these concepts are closely related, they’re not the same.

Workforce planning is about alignment of the workforce and business goals. This is achieved by adopting the correct operating model. However to do this effectively, you need a firm analytical understanding of your workforce characteristics, strengths and challenges, and this comes from detailed workforce modelling.

Whilst workforce planning enables a company to have the right people, skills and roles to meet changing needs, workforce modelling plays an important role in achieving this. With the correct workforce operating model, a company is better placed in terms of the resilience of its business model. 

Workforce modelling improves overall business resilience through:

  1. Expanding the understanding of what can be done with the workforce
  2. Enabling the examination of assumptions and developing predictions of outcomes

Armed with insights, businesses can create well-informed response plans – enabling a more resilient business model. 

A recent workforce planning study by PWC indicated that there is room for improvement in the ability of companies to understand and predict workforce outcomes. The need to understand your organisation’s workforce is critical to the success of workforce planning. Here’s a snapshot of their survey’s results:

57% of respondents also said they were at an operations level of maturity which means they used basic HR analytics, tools, metrics etc. compared to only 1% of respondents who were at the strategic level. Based on our experience with clients, often times the project managers or the strategic thinkers get pulled into the operational admin of gathering historical data and creating visuals, when they should be exploring how to future-proof their organisation.

Using a dedicated tool that readily converts your existing HRIS data into meaningful reports allows you to eliminate lots of manual admin and focus on strategic decision making. 

Many organisations focus on workforce planning as a top priority, but lack the tools and intel for workforce modelling to back up their plans. While the process of detailed workforce modelling can seem incredibly hard, investing in the right tools can make it a whole lot easier.

Benefits of using a tool for workforce modelling

  • Improve efficiency, allowing your HR team to focus on high level strategic plans rather than painful manual admin
  • Impact of each choice becomes readily visible and cross-department collaboration becomes much easier. This allows for better decision making with real-time supporting data on hand
  • Become business agile; workforce modelling tools allow organisations to maintain ongoing self-assessment of workforce change readiness at any time

All of this provides an enhanced HR ecosystem, leveraging the existing investment in your HRIS and enables clients to quickly define, design and deliver the workforce model that suits their strategy.

org.manager workforce modelling use cases

Whether you’re involved in workforce planning or modelling, the goal is to always align your workforce to business goals and figure out what works best.

 Here are a few ways org.manager can assist you with workforce modelling: 

  1. Restructuring – Changes in headcount, costs, make up of the departments.
  2. Employee retention – Identify and focus on people who have a higher flight risk. Use training and succession planning to mitigate those risks.
  3. Utilising charts instead of spreadsheets – Use visual charts and dashboards to visualise and highlight what’s going on so managers can immediately see what’s happening in their department. Avoid sending another spreadsheet attachment that forces the reader to do the heavy lifting in trying to understand the data.
  4.  Single source of truth – org.manager uses the information from your payroll system and displays it in a visual format with role based security. This lets your managers and senior managers collaborate using a single data source. That data source is also used by your payroll department who implement any org changes, therefore creating a better process for data hygiene.

Webinar: How workforce modelling helps businesses prepare for change

Part 2 

Leveraging real-time HR analytics to understand your workforce

In part 2 of this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of having real-time data and what is relevant to develop a ongoing understanding of your workforce.

Let’s start with the definition. Real time means having workforce data that is instant, automated, on demand across the organisation and shared securely with appropriate access protocols, so that sensitive information is always safe.

What we’ve often seen is that data is usually ‘one time’, this means gathered for a specific purpose, project or report. Point-in-time data doesn’t give an accurate picture of the organisation, any change made to your business after extraction will not be reflected in the analysis.

Most HR professionals would say they need access to real-time information that would –

  • Give broader insight into their workforce
  • Provide analytics that can be easily shared across the organisation
  • Visualise HR metrics to better understand the workforce

However, research indicates that only 25% of organisations feel their HR reporting meets the above capabilities. Why is this the case?

Based on our experience, this can happen because of 3 reasons –

  • Organisations can’t find the right tool set
  • Workforce transformation can be seen as too hard. Project managers often don’t know where or how to start, so quickly move on to the next idea
  • Project leaders tend to rely on ‘gut feel’ rather than data-driven analysis

In the following section, we’ll provide you with an example of how a dedicated tool (org.manager), can help you leverage real-time data to gain useful insights into your workforce. This tool also visualises HR metrics so you can make better decisions and reduce manual admin work. We’ll also provided real-life examples.

Visualising real-time analytics

org.manager is an org design tool that enables you and your team to – 

1.Make use of one data set in a whole lot of different ways in real time to visualise HR metrics, both simple and complex.

2.Emphasise strongly on visualisation, rather than reports and tables. Even the simplest and easiest to understand workforce visualisation, an org chart, can become very powerful. Such charts draw attention to content, drive up engagement, understanding and exploration of answers. We all know that powerful visuals work, and studies have shown that visuals prompt our brains to make decisions.

Below we have an example of the humble org chart. It includes different visualisation rules that allow you to highlight important HR metrics and it’s agile in that it’s fed real time:

 

At the other end of the powerful visuals spectrum, is the ‘big-data’ visuals. Again, these are fully automated charts with real time data and you won’t need a data scientists to make sense of these visuals. Below is a sunburst chart, that responds to filters, rules and formatting to drive instant, on demand easily accessible, and shareable, metrics and analytics.

org.manager real-life customer story

The people & culture team at a well-established Australian water company recently completed a process optimisation review of their HR Technology. When they realised hours could be saved every week by automating their utilities org charts, the business case almost wrote itself and quickly became a priority.

Before exploring an org charting solution, this organisation managed their org charts manually using PowerPoint. When their team began assessing potential vendors, they consulted their project team for recommendations.

Navigo was chosen mainly because of the track record of successful implementations, agile working style and org.manager’s chart design flexibility. The key drivers for fast delivery were the clear direction around requirements, IT being highly engaged and great collaboration across all teams. Real-time org charts had a positive impacts across the entire business, the key users being HR, payroll, managers, contractors and all employees.

Click here to read the full story.

Webinar: Understanding your workforce in changing times

To learn more about how an org design solution can help your organisation with workforce modelling or real-time data visualisation, reach out to our friendly team or call +61 3 9879 4060 today.

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