How to drive employee productivity using HR analytics

Michelle Leung, Head of HR, Cigna International Markets, shares how leveraging analytics is much more than just systems or IT.

The expert

Michelle Leung

Michelle Leung, Head of HR, Cigna International Markets

Leung is the currently the HR officer for Cigna International Markets, and has over 20 years of international business and HR experience. 

In today’s competitive business world, the most successful companies are integrating big data and analytics into nearly every facet of their operations. Many people tend to jump straight into predictive analytics without understanding the differences between data, analytics, and insights.

To put it simply: Data is the information we obtain from our employees and customers, such as demographic information and behaviour. But data is more or less useless without analytics.

Analytics is how we make sense of the data and uncover meaningful trends. Insights are the values obtained through the use of analytics. The insights gained through analytics are incredibly powerful, and are used to drive business growth or engage with our employees while identifying areas of opportunity.

Leveraging analytics is more than just systems or IT. It is also about awareness, mindset change, and a shift towards data-driven decision-making process.

Internally, we provide a variety of online training and webinars for employees on the importance of analytics and insights. Introduction to Business Analytics; Insights That Matter; and for our own HR team Telling Better HR Stories though Analytics are just two examples. 

I believe we have more to do in the HR analytics area. A recent Bersin study found that only 14% of companies have used HR analytics in any meaningful way. HR analytics provide a wealth of information to companies about their new hires, existing workforce, what motivates people, and why employees leave. This goes way beyond the traditional—and often anecdotal—monitoring of recruiting and retention into a deep, data-driven analysis of the true success of company’s HR management.

In terms of behavioural change, business partnership is absolutely key to success with analytics because the ultimate goal of analytics is to support and empower the business. If we are working in a silo and just throwing information over the fence, our ability to empower the business is incredibly diminished.

We have invested in very strong talents in our HR analytics team in the past two years because we believe that HR analytics are more than facts and figures—they’re the new business reality.

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