While businesses claim to put people first, many still leave people metrics low on the priority list in their business transformation programs. This was a key theme arising out of our recent Outsmart 2022 conference. We sat down with Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Leader, Yves Van Durme, to discuss the pitfalls of placing employees low on the business transformation priority list.
The ‘workquake’ over the past two years, propagated by continuing global economic uncertainty—as well as a pressing need for business transformation in response—brought the People Impact Gap into sharp relief. Businesses must close this gap to remain competitive.
What is the People Impact Gap?
The People Impact Gap refers to the gap between the crucial answers that business leaders need and the raw data that is contained between the people transactional systems. The amount of people data within businesses has greatly increased. But this increase hasn’t yet meaningfully translated into commercial impacts on the business: from profits, productivity, and agility to customer success, resilience, and growth. It’s not possible to navigate the future of work without closing this gap.
Transformation in today’s world requires a radical overhaul of how business leaders view people data and how they utilize it. It’s not possible to navigate the future of work without closing this gap.
Solving people problems generates revenue
Transformations fall flat for a few reasons—and a legacy approach to people analytics (PA) is one of them. In the past, many organizations looked at people data as one-off science projects. PA professionals were presented with data, given questions, and asked to go away for six months to find an answer. But this is not a sustainable way to run a business. There is no line in the sand between generating revenue and solving people problems. The two are intertwined. The business is its people.
A recent survey of C-Suite executives and tech leaders showed which actions resulted in the most effective digital transformations. Companies that have focused on how they train, attract, and retain tech talent have generated the most business impact. Yet despite the close link with value creation, people-focused considerations need to be higher up executives’ priority lists for businesses to achieve transformation success.
Three people centric steps to business transformation
Here’s how the right approaches to retention, talent acquisition, and reward and compensation can power growth and better align HR and business. These tips are from our People Powered Transformation: Bridging The Impact Gap white paper, which gives transformation project and program leaders—within and outside of HR—the tools they need to support management conversations, along with actions that will help your organization succeed in the next phase of the digital age.
Poor performance on retention will sink your technology implementation and lose the business top talent. Like all aspects of HR, when it comes to why people are leaving, “there’s a lot of opinion-based communication from leaders and workers,” says Yves. “We need to enrich that conversation with insights and data points.”
Resignations disrupt and can slow down or even derail key elements of your business operations. Retention needs constant monitoring, action, and reaction. First, gain a detailed understanding of the working population that’s affected by the transformation: the demographic patterns, historical resignation rates, internal mobility and promotion rates, and so on. Consider how each of these factors is linked to each workers’ unique contributions. Then identify key people risks, establish mitigation strategies, and find ways to motivate the relevant stakeholders to take the actions needed to engage (and keep) their people.
Taking this approach, HR leaders, managers, and senior leaders at Pitney Bowes are making more strategic and data-driven people decisions based on a full view of the employee lifecycle. As a result of HR interventions, the company has reduced its truck driver turnover by 10%.
2. Talent acquisition
Once you’ve identified who to retain, you’re in a position to assess how to level up your talent acquisition with people metrics. Organizations must know which people they have, and with which skills. If your organization lacks the skills it needs, talent acquisition will need to find them. “If you don’t have the right talent, with the right capabilities, then you won’t be putting out the right output, regardless of new facilities or systems,” says Yves. “You have to find the right people, motivate them, and invest in them.”
For successful transformation, HR and business leaders must work together to build on existing skills identified in the organization (including transferable ones). And they must analyze the market availability of the skills they require. It’s then a matter of implementing data-backed sourcing approaches to ensure you stand out to ideal candidates and build a talent acquisition advantage over the competition.
This is how government contractors, NCI Systems Inc, get ahead of their hiring and redeployment needs throughout the year to support their multi-year projects.
3. Strategic compensation and reward
Incentives are one of the most powerful means of influence that an organization has. For business transformation to a people-metric centered organization, this is where project and program leaders must engage with their HR colleagues. Understand the current compensation structure, how that aligns with the market and work expectations, and what will be different with the roles that are anticipated in the future. Even if the result is that compensations and rewards doesn’t change, the compensation structure needs to be transparent to employees. Effective communication and communications planning are important parts of successful transformations.
Take a strategic approach to compensation and reward. Build a plan that outlines how people’s roles will change. Understand what this means in terms of compensation expectations. And, outline whether this aligns with existing budgetary expectations. Look at understanding how compensation and rewards can be used to encourage people throughout the transition, both in terms of retention and in adopting new work habits.
Closing the People Impact Gap for business transformation
Closing the impact gap is the next great challenge for HR, workforce managers, and business and transformation leaders. While we’ve highlighted the key levers here, it’s important to think about the bigger picture here, too. “You can’t look at things like recruiting, engagement, and retention as individual pieces,” says Andrew Gold, Vice President of Total Rewards and HR Technology, Pitney Bowes Inc. “They’re part of one big employee lifecycle—you have to look at it holistically.”
This strategic approach will help companies get ahead of the curve on the people decisions they need to make to drive successful transformation. It removes the risk of businesses having to row back from big statements and promises that weren’t underpinned by insight but rather beliefs and aspirations.
To find out more about the People Impact Gap and recommended strategies for closing it, download our white paper, People Powered Transformation: Bridging The Impact Gap.
Interested in learning more about Visier? Get in touch with us for a demo!
About the author: Ian Cook
Ian is an advocate for the crucial role that people play in helping companies thrive. His career has focused on enabling people, teams and companies to perform at their best. For the last 15 years Ian has been helping leaders elevate their HR strategies and programs through the effective use of people analytics. At Visier, Ian led the development of our market leading solution and is now focused on the overall strategy for the people analytics business.
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