Early this year, UNLEASH (formerly HR Tech World) and IBM Smarter Workforce Institute investigated exactly how ready European organizations are for workforce analytics. Meaning, do companies have what it takes to nail down the purpose of using this analytics and the tools necessary to appropriately use them? We’re excited to take you through the results and provide suggestions on making workforce analytics a success for your company.

Making sure your team is prepared

Results from the study show that though there are examples of organizations using workforce analytics appropriately, HR departments in Europe actually feel less prepared to deliver workforce analytics projects successfully than their counterparts in other parts of the world.

Moreover, the largest difference in European HR departments’ workforce analytics readiness and the rest of the world relates to having the right mix of skills. Twenty-seven percent of European respondents reported possessing the right skill set in their company. This is in contrast to the rest of world’s 49 percent. Even though respondents indicated that they had the same support from their Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and stakeholders, European respondents still felt they did not have what it takes to correctly use these data.

Workforce analytics are a vital tool in understanding your employees as well as reaching optimal performance in your organization. These analytics can be used to improve workforce productivity, enhance employee experience and wellbeing, and increase the impact of HR overall. Though there are studies that show and explain the importance of workforce analytics, this data indicates that perhaps not enough is known about how to implement these projects. This is where we come in.

Workforce analytics is obviously a hot topic in the world of work, and it’s hard to miss the subject if you’re in the HR field. However, in the rush to join the popular crowd, strategic planning may be missing. As our reach shows, momentum is helpful in the early phases of these projects, but HR analytics must be a strategic undertaking.

Foundational planning is extremely important if you want to get workforce analytics projects right. Without them, your company can be pulled in myriad different directions, which can result in confusion over using the data in necessary and useful ways, and the data not being a tool to influence decision-making.

While you begin this journey, make sure there are a clear vision and mission behind why you are even considering a workforce analytics project. Have a vision that defines what your goal is and why it’s important for your team to have these analytics. Then, ensure you have your mission describing the process. Only forty-eight percent of respondents discussed having a vision and mission for workforce analytics in Europe compared to 57 percent elsewhere.

When it comes to the actual data, providing a strategy on governance, accountability, and privacy standards is crucial. Correct safeguards mean that the data your company collects will be beneficially used and will protect your employees’ information. In Europe, there was a lower response to having these safeguards in place than in non-European countries. Having the correct guidelines in place will allow for a smooth transition from planning to collecting and implementation.

There is also the need for support. In both Europe and other parts of the world, there is a consensus that leadership wants to implement this project. Having the support on the senior level can make a significant difference in the success of these projects because time and resources can then be allocated to make the most of the project.

Finally, a strategy is only useful if you prioritize it. Unfortunately, only 36 percent of European organizations reported having plans to prioritize workforce analytics. Workforce analytics professionals may then be in reactive positions that might not be aligned with the mission and vision of the team.

Are you ready for it?

To succeed in your workforce analytics project, a priority on the organization of the project is paramount. Since the research we conducted indicates there is a common understanding of the importance of workforce analytics, the interest in the data needs to translate to action around building the project and investing the needed time and resources. With the foundations in place, your team can be ready to reap the benefits of investing project while discovering exciting and helpful information about your employees that’ll take your organization to the next level.