Andrea Derler, Principal of Research and Value, Visier
It was reported that British business confidence was much worse than expected in January, hitting a two-year low. The findings which were revealed in the S&P/Cips global flash UK composite purchasing managers’ index are likely influenced by ongoing fears of an impending UK recession. This, coupled with the latest data from the Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) serves as a stark reminder that as confidence has fallen again to a very low level by past standards, financial challenges are going to continue to have a big impact on certain sectors, and businesses long-term growth plans.
For businesses now tackling growth challenges, the rising cost of living and rapidly evolving expectations from employees, adopting the right technology practices is going to be critical to business continuity and success over the course of the next 12 months. This can seem like an overwhelming challenge. And the road ahead may not feel simple. But, focusing on continuity, improving cost management and talent retention will all be important priorities for organisations wanting to progress with innovation, business transformation, culture and productivity.
The solution to this problem lies in data; or more specifically, people data.
Powered by people data
Navigating change is no new feat for businesses. And, many businesses have already reaped the reward of investing in people data throughout the course of the pandemic. For those businesses who have invested the time, resource and money in people analytics, and in learning how to maximise the potential it has, it’s become easier for them to get the most out of their teams.
We’re already seeing businesses do this across different business functions. For example, in sales, people analytics data is helping managers to identify key sales leaders, build diverse and effective teams, and refine tactics for shifting those teams to new playbooks.
Elsewhere, finance department leaders are making data-driven people decisions to identify opportunities for reskilling, all the while staying nimble with one of the biggest items in the budget – their employees.
Whether working in finance, sales or elsewhere within a business, there are a number of key questions that need to be answered with data before businesses can reap the benefits of stability, and most importantly consistency.
What changes are on the horizon and how will they impact the organisation? Who do we need to engage across the organisation to ensure they understand the reasons for the change? Which employees are at highest risk of exiting the organisation? How will this impact our ability to execute this change? Are there pockets of resistance that need to be addressed? Where are the ambassadors who can help to get this change implemented?
Being able to answer these questions will support businesses in leveraging their people data for more informed decision making.
Business continuity through data lead decision making
There is progress to be made when educating leaders on the benefits of people analytics. Our recent data found that only 50% of businesses use people analytics projects for business continuity and cost focus goals. This would suggest that a significant portion of workplaces are making decisions without their most important asset – their people – at the heart of them.
For businesses looking to improve business continuity and cost focus goals, it is important to combine technology and human behaviour. But what does this mean in practice? Well,when people analytics professionals describe the things that made their collaborative data projects successful, they talk about strategic planning based on dialog amongst stakeholders, constructive working relationships characterised by trust, and a constant learning mindset. This highlights that human engagement is what drives the most usual data for decision making.
It’s clear from our research, as well as our continued work with customers, that successful collaboration happens when people analytics is linked directly to business goals. So, leaders will need to work with a variety of stakeholders to ensure meaningful business impact.
This is why leaders need to place a renewed focus on empowering employees at all levels of the business with people data. This can be done by educating the team in its benefits, and presenting real life examples of how it can support decision making, whilst predicting problems before they arise.
We can expect 2023 to be another year impacted by uncertainty. Within this context, business continuity – through people data – should be a top priority to enable organisational changes to be developed and initiated more smoothly.
With the right technological capabilities in place, companies can bridge any gaps between people and business outcomes, determining whether decisions made are having the desired impact and where they can correct their course.
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