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Developing the HR skills required for tomorrow

Managing people

Developing the HR skills required for tomorrow

Have you improved your HR skills recently?

With seismic changes in the world and workplaces lately, it’s no surprise that HR and People leaders have been challenged in new and extraordinary ways.

From moving to a 100% remote workforce and responding to real-time events to find new ways to keep employees healthy, happy and engaged, there’s no doubt that HR is under pressure to step up.

Now is the time to take stock. Sage’s research report, The Changing Face of HR, found that massive changes were afoot even before COVID-19, and HR was playing a crucial role in leading change in organisations while also evolving as a function.

Ultimately, the research found that HR is changing. In the 1980s, it was Personnel. Then Human Resources. Now, it’s evolving into a People function, with new responsibilities and opportunities for HR leaders in today’s transformative world of work.

This article uncovers what these changes mean for HR leaders, what skills are required to get ahead, and what tomorrow’s People leader looks like today.

How People analytics is changing HR

Seventy-six percent of HR leaders identified People analytics as a vital skill for the future.

Analytics has become critical to People leaders as they navigate uncertainty while enabling HR to become a valued, insight-driven leader in the boardroom.

From adapting to shifting priorities to using workforce visibility for resource planning, HR teams who have had People analytics at their fingertips have provided immeasurable value at a time when leaders need it most.

Before the pandemic, only 26% of HR leaders were using People analytics, despite widespread recognition of its importance in decision-making and directing strategy. Effective People analytics goes far beyond simple analytics; it’s a way to gain actionable insights to identify solutions to People challenges.

Effective People analytics solutions apply data-driven approaches to improving how you manage and engage your workforce. It’s about understanding the people in your company and creating actionable insights to make better, evidence-based decisions for your business.

Currently, sales, marketing, and operations use data to plan and measure objectives and to show the value of their contribution to the business. It needn’t be any different for HR and its People team. They are, after all, responsible for the company’s biggest asset – its people. The C-suite expects insightful decision-making, and the People leader of tomorrow can provide this confidently and seamlessly.

What does the future of People analytics look like?

There are five steps to better workforce visibility that form the basis of most organisations’ People analytics journey:

  • People data collection,
  • People analytics reporting,
  • Data analysis,
  • Insights from analytics, and
  • Using these insights to identify problems and make informed business decisions proactively.

Best-in-class People teams are further along in their People analytics journey, and the People team of tomorrow will be at full analytics maturity. In practice, this means CHROs can access up-to-the-minute data from a single, reliable source of truth, providing credible recommendations with interactive dashboards that can be shared across the C-suite to make informed business decisions in real-time.

It allows for ‘SMART’ HR KPIs aligned to business objectives. People analytics uses ‘leading’ metrics to look beyond the KPI to understand why it needs to be in place.

People analytics has grown up – it is now an established discipline in businesses. Data and analytics literacy have become imperative for HR professionals.

Upskilling for future People analytics

Forward-thinking People leaders hire people like data scientists, economists, analysts from other fields, and other non-traditional roles to get ahead.

Upskilling goes deeper than that, though. Here are some tips:

  • Build a solid relationship with the CFO and between the HR and Finance teams. As data experts already, they can support HR teams on their People analytics journeys and allow both teams to benefit from better alignment.
  • Upskill the C-suite. Present this as mission-critical for your organisation and highlight the advantages of analytics maturity, so they can better understand the challenges and benefits that lie ahead.
  • Build capacity for analytics in your team. Create data-driven roles and recruit from different fields. Making a business case for this headcount is vital.
  • Find the right technology to back up your improved People analytics skills. A cloud HR system with comprehensive People analytics functionality is essential. Look for a system that enables you to visualise people data in dashboards. These should be easily shareable, with the ability to drill down into data and run ‘what-if’ analyses. Your HR system should give you the ability to create reports to notify managers of exceptions, such as high absence rates.

Work with your vendors to understand your system capabilities and the next steps in your people analytics journey. Can you leverage ideas from other customers? What are your priorities, and how can you build dashboards to dig into the relevant data?

Where to now?

Get the right technology to build your team of tomorrow.

SageHR is a cloud HR and People solution that enables businesses to attract, manage, engage, develop, and retain their biggest asset: their people. Implemented quickly and simple to use. The award-winning system increases workforce visibility, HR productivity and provides better experiences across the entire workforce.

Download the eBook and take the next steps to build a compelling business case and gain effective buy-in for HR technology investments.

Agility in HR: 4 ways you can drive agile ways of working

This eBook explores how HR and People leaders can achieve success in uncertain times.

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Agility in HR: 4 ways you can drive agile ways of working

This eBook explores how HR and People leaders can achieve success in uncertain times.

Download your free guide

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