People Analytics for Mid-Market Companies: How to Get Started

No matter your company size, HR faces increasing pressure to leverage data in response to business questions. And to make timely and relevant workforce decisions. HR now knows that using workforce data can lead to more impactful conversations and contributions to the business. For this to happen however, HR needs to develop its analytics capabilities.

Capabilities of a Mid-Market Company

If you’re an HR Leader in a mid-sized company, one with 500 to 5000 employees, you face unique challenges getting started with workforce analytics. You have a large enough workforce and multiple systems and sources of data that warrant a more sophisticated approach than the do-it-yourself spreadsheet solutions smaller companies can get away with. However, unlike large-scale enterprises that can invest large quantities of time, money and internal resources to build an analytics solution, as a mid-market company, you don’t have endless budgets or a sizable and dedicated analytics team to call upon.

In mid-sized companies those with responsibilities in analytics and reporting typically spend too much time manipulating spreadsheets and trying to connect disparate data. More often than not, the resulting information is static, even stale. With disconnected data it is difficult to get to foundational analytics, let alone handle ad-hoc or changing business questions.

The bottom line is, in mid-market companies, pulling together information is time-consuming and labour-intensive and the results don’t match up with what is needed. This constrains the conversations HR Leaders can have with the business. To get ahead, you need to re-purpose your team to higher value activities and you need a repeatable process and a foundation of analytics on which to build.

The question is… how can mid-market companies get there?

People Analytics for Mid-Market Companies

Karen O’Leonard of Bersin by Deloitte suggests one way mid-market companies can get ahead is to partner with an outside expert in workforce or talent analytics. In the Bersin Research Bulletin “A Hop, Skip and a Jump: How to Accelerate your Talent Analytics Capabilities”, O’Leonard explores how mid-market firms can recognize value from analytics – without a huge investment in time, resources or money. She showcases JOEY Restaurant Group and how this organization is leveraging a partnership with HireRoad Workforce Analytics to advance executive decision-making and programs within the organization.

Working with an external workforce analytics partner, HR Leaders in mid-market companies can quickly realize 3 main benefits:

  1. Out of the box workforce analytics – pre-packaged key metrics and analytics at your fingertips, eliminating the need for team members to spend hours in spreadsheets and rebuild the analytics from scratch each time. Providing click-of-a-button access to all the metrics needed to demonstrate the state of the workforce (now, in the past, trending) and the impact and effectiveness of HR programs.
  2. Connections across data sources – your workforce analytics partner does all the heavy lifting to seamlessly connect data across sources.  Making connections across HR, Talent, Learning, Performance and other business systems.  Getting to insight not possible before.
  3. Ongoing expertise and guidance – delivering advice and expertise on how to best address business questions with data and analytics.  Building a partnership that evolves with the needs of HR and the business. Ensuring HR teams are keeping pace with best practice analytics and insight.

Numbers 1 and 2 may seem the most obvious since they are related specifically to data, metrics and analytics, but #3 is just as important and deserves special mention.

When partnering with an analytics provider it’s key that the relationship is collaborative. It should never be a typical software-buy where you plug-and-play and only reconnect with the provider at renewal time or when you need support. You need a partner who will address your immediate need for must-have metrics that will make an impact today, but you also need to be sure you are partnering with a solution provider who is agile, who is consultative, who has expertise in HR and analytics and who will ensure your analytics keep pace with your unique and hanging business needs.

To be successful, a third-party analytics solution is dependent on working closely with your team. In no way, is it designed to replace any of your staff. What it will do however, is dramatically change the way your team works. It will elevate the activities of team members – enabling them to migrate from manipulating and pivoting in spreadsheets to analysing and interpreting data, and making timely and relevant recommendations. Team members will spend time collaborating with your analytics partner in areas of data collection, data quality, and data integrity. They will spend time understanding business priorities and ensuring the analytics and reports line up to support these. They will focus on providing evidence-based insight to highlight successes and solve problems. Working together, your HR team and your analytics partner will deliver the right analytics, presented in the right way, for the right audiences, at the right time.

The bottom line is, if you’re in a mid-sized company you have unique needs. You’re big enough to need a comprehensive solution but not so large that you can build a solution in-house. One powerful way forward is to enlist the help of an outside expert in workforce analytics. Partner with an expert and you can accelerate to new levels of insight, influence and action.