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Exit Interview by David Ortiz – Newsletter #77

By: Patrick Donegan, David Ortiz

For some time, I’ve been looking for one “source” that curates modern takes on HR Tech, perspectives from the people who build it, and its impact on enterprise — something that’s tailor-made by professionals for decision-makers.

I never found it — so I decided to build it.

Every week, I’ll be sharing fresh insights on tech platforms, design, data, and the future of work — straight to your inbox.

This week, we have a guest contributor: David Ortiz.

My Thoughts

My name is David Ortiz. I am the managing director of the SEI Miami office, along with being the Executive Sponsor of our Data & Analytics Community of Practice (CoP).

In this Exit Interview, I’ll be doing a bit of a deep dive into the value of people analytics programs. The concept goes by several aliases, including workforce analytics, people data, and HR analytics. Regardless of what you call it, the goal is the same: using data to inform and drive strategies that create a happier, more diverse, more fulfilling workplace.  

Why people analytics? It combines two of my favorite topics: data and DE&I. Data is gold; it’s the hidden currency that shapes and moves our modern economy. I am a firm believer in data as the key to business growth and strategy today, both internally and externally. Internally, data will provide insights for creating the best workplaces, helping organizations stay responsive to evolving employee desires and, ultimately, be more competitive in the fight for talent.

As a Hispanic American, DE&I is always very top of mind for me. I’m so proud to work for an organization that places so much value on diversity as an element of organizational culture. One of the ways SEI is able to accomplish this is by using data from employee engagement to drive growth. It’s an endlessly positive feedback loop.

I couldn’t think of a better time to be writing about this topic. Last year, US venture capitalists poured more than $12.3 billion into HR tech, the biggest funding year to date. The money has continued to flow over into 2022, with $4 billion raised in Q1 alone. We are experiencing one of the largest disruptions in the American workforce to date. It’s an inspiring thought that I hope stays with you long after the end of this newsletter.

Tech Innovation at Work

Let’s take a step back and quickly explore a more practical definition of people analytics. Like most things in the world of business, “people analytics” is nothing more than a fancy way of describing how leaders use available data in an organization. This includes basic demographics like age, gender, and education. Successful people analytics programs, though, go one step further and monitor how employees interact with their workplace.

Here are some common data points organizations use in their people analytics initiatives:

  • In the recruitment process: offer acceptance rate, recruitment channels, cost per hire, new hire turnover, and time to productivity
  • In professional development: employee promotion history, number of employees that participate in training programs, and ratio of external hires to internal advancements
  • In the daily workplace: absenteeism, utilization of PTO, satisfaction with company programs, and cost of HR per employee 

Effective people analytics programs start collecting data when an applicant first applies and continue until the day they leave the company — but that’s easier said than done. Usually, leaders need to implement a strategic software stack, typically comprised of three tiers: 

  • An applicant tracking software (ATS): ATSes and recruiting software isn’t just for keeping resumes in order. They can offer insights into where applicants are applying from and solicit feedback from candidates about their interview experience. 
  • An HR Information Systems software: Human capital management tools are at the core of a sturdy tech stack. These support standard employee management tasks, payroll, and compensation and benefits.
  • An employee experience software (HRIS): Of the three tiers, employee experience is the oft-forgotten element of modern HR. It’s ironic, considering one of its primary purposes is to help leaders understand whether HR investments are effective. The many layers of employee experience software can include performance management, learning management systems, and employee voice tools like pulse surveys. The best employee experience software is one that integrates smoothly with your chosen ATS and HRIS tools, providing the deepest insights with the least headaches.

The Changing Workplace

At the root of any people analytics program is the availability of data. Unless employees are comfortable sharing their personal information, any initiative is at risk of being hampered by biases and or disproportionate representation — even if you have the greatest software in the world.

The solution, as it almost always is, is positive culture. Data privacy is a lesser-known area of employee experience, but it’s one of the first steps in implementing data-driven strategies. In researching privacy segmentation for organizations, Forrester found that 72% of employees do not want their data shared as a part of workforce analytics without their consent. The study also found that roughly half of employees wish they had more protection over their data at work or took steps to actively limit the amount of personal data they share with their employer. 

These concerns should be, well, concerning. Employees who don’t feel they can trust their employer with personal data may also be hesitant to provide honest feedback about their experience or needs, especially members of minority groups

The key to launching a people analytics program is creating a culture of data security, where employees feel that their employers treat personal data as carefully as they do. I’ll leave you to start the work towards your own people analytics programs with one of the best pieces I’ve found on the pillars of data security, Do’s and Don’ts of Using Employee Data by Gartner.

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Patrick Donegan Chief Strategy Officer

Patrick Donegan

Chief Strategy Officer

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David Ortiz

Managing Director

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