In photo: Jill Goldstein, HR BPO offering lead, Accenture
Jill Goldstein of Accenture looks at workforce data analytics.
For one national consumer goods company, the difference between the performances of its sales regions presented a puzzle for the executive team. They saw a consistent and significant gap between the productivity metrics across the four sales regions – particularly between its highest and lowest performers, in the West and North-East respectively – and needed to know why.
To determine the reasons for the disparity, and to design a plan to remedy the situation, the company turned to its outsourcing provider. While on the surface the workforces in both regions appeared to have the right skill sets for the job and the sales leadership teams were meeting objectives, the service provider used its workforce analytics capabilities to dig deeper.
Drilling into the data on performance ratings revealed that approximately 25% of managers in the North-East region fell below or significantly below expectations, far more than in the West. Further, it was found that exceptions had been made in the hiring process for a high percentage of managers in the North-East, with many lacking the required level of education.
The outsourcing provider next looked at the perception of the support the sales workforce in the two regions received from their managers and found that there was a huge discrepancy, specifically in the areas of communication, executive presence and industry acumen.
Extrapolating this information led the outsourcing provider to make the following recommendations:
- Assess the North-East region’s leadership to ensure their skills match the role;
- Update the enterprise’s recruiting/job profile to match characteristics of higher-performing sales personnel in the West;
- Allow fewer exceptions to hiring criteria; and
- Consider a rotational assignment to infuse skills and model behaviours within the North-East.
This case illustrates how analytics can help an organisation make the workforce changes needed to impact the bottom line.
Given the economic climate, some enterprises are finding it a challenge to figure out how best to grow their organisations. They need to move out of the cost-cutting mindset and yet, when going to the HR team for help with these workplace insights, they often find that HR was just as much a victim of the recent downsizing activities as anyone else.
Additionally, while HR management systems contain a wealth of data, many organisations are faced with poor data quality. An underinvestment in the HR IT infrastructure over the years has resulted in data that is incomplete and inconsistent due to numerous sources of information from manual processes. Finally, organisations often have limited access to analytic skills and resources internally.
For these reasons, outsourcing providers are perfectly poised to address these challenges and help organisations add value with analytics. Often sitting on a gold mine of data, outsourcing providers can help move from information to insight in a journey that can identify opportunities for improvement and enable better business outcomes not commonly associated with business process outsourcing (BPO). Spanning from traditional operational efficiency and effectiveness through to workforce performance and productivity, these outcomes can deliver quantified results to the business.