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Workforce Analytics – Addressing the Execution Gap

27 June 2017
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Business leaders have come to accept that workforce analytics and planning are important to internal communications and the future success of their companies. At the same time however, those who believe their companies are good at it are a small minority. Most C-suite executives acknowledge an execution gap between what workforce analytics can do for them and what they currently get from analytics and planning.

One approach to closing this workplace analytics and internal communications gap comes from Mick Collins, VP, Workforce Analytics and Planning, SAP Success Factors. Mick has been in HR research and consulting for more than 15 years. Of that, he spent 12 years in analytics and planning. He has led literally hundreds of executive education sessions dedicated to closing the workplace analytics execution gap, and he has come up with a 12-step program (he regrets the term) that is a how-to manual to reduce the HR data complexity. The 12 steps are broken down into four categories:


1) What can analytics do for a specific firm

2) Who can influence the implementation of analytics in a firm

3) What does SWOT analysis say?


Adopt a crawl, walk run model that:

4) informs managers, then

5) educates them so that eventually

6) they can act.


7) Human Resources capacity (how much can be done) versus capability (what things are within execution limitations)

8) Who produces the data?

9) How do you overlay analytics on the team structure?


10) You need measurement of impact 11) events and 12) processes to which data can be applied and which groups should receive the data and insights.

Mick also says that budgetary constraints affect the 12 steps – so maybe he doesn't have a 12-step program after all.

He has synthesized the keys for success down to three basic themes. HR must win the vision and the role it is going to play. HR must build an analytics agenda that gets management to focus on high-priority issues that pushes them to decisions; ideas and conversations aren't good enough to be effective. The “crawl, walk, run” approach makes the learning curve easiest. It allows you to inform internal customers, educate them on trends, and deliver insights that influence talent decisions.

The biggest impact workforce analytics has is in banishing the urban legends of a company, unproven ideas that masquerade as facts allowing managers to make better-informed decisions.

What impresses me most about Mick's views is that he accepts that management won't always make the decision the data point to. He says that's OK, too. Analytics is there to facilitate decision-making, not become the black box that makes the decisions.

For more about Mick's perspective visit:

Jeff Myhre

Jeff is a writer and editor with 35 years’ experience in business, economics and politics. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and a BA from the University of Colorado.

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