Scaling Small But Mighty Teams: How SMBs Can Run HR Like Enterprises With Visier Embedded Analytics
People analytics can help HR leaders make better decisions in every area of operations—as long as they can access the data. Here, Visier and Zenefits discuss how.
Samantha Yacobucci, TriNet Zenefit’s Senior Product Manager, spoke with Visier’s VP of Research and Strategy, Ian Cook, about how businesses can make stronger decisions—and adapt to a changing business environment—through people data.
TriNet Zenefits is a leading HR, payroll, and benefit solution for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), and a Visier Embedded Analytics partner. By adding Visier-powered analytics into their product, their goal is to level the playing field and give SMBs access to the kind of advanced, data-driven decision-making that has historically been reserved for large firms and enterprises.
Cook and Yacobucci discuss how people analytics can help HR leaders make better decisions in every area of operations—but particularly as they address the interconnected challenges of retaining talent, meeting diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, and navigating the current economic landscape.
Building strong workforces with people data
“The onus is on employers to attract and retain talent,” says Yacobucci. “There’s a greater expectation on the employer to deliver the best experience, from recruiting right through to retention.”
After the COVID-19 pandemic, many women, and older workers dropped out of the labor market entirely. Businesses are scrambling to fill positions—and keep them filled—from a tighter pool than ever.
But within your own workforce, the picture might look different. For example, are you losing mostly women employees, or are new hires not sticking around? Is the issue being driven by people in a specific department, or role?
“People need to get access to their own particular patterns, and one of those is understanding who’s leaving,” adds Ian Cook. “Just the range of assumptions people can bring is really high.”
It takes data to understand how these attrition and turnover trends are playing out at your individual organization—and to get away from assumptions. Once you’ve seen the situation objectively, you can take appropriate action, and track whether it’s actually fixing the problem.
“I'm reminded of a story from quite a while back where an organization shared that they needed Visier, because their overall resignation rate was 7%,” Cook explains.
“But when they drilled down, they had a 35% resignation rate in their customer service group!” he continues. “So in terms of the whole business, the sky's not falling at 7%. But when you realize that three in ten people are leaving from the customer experience function, it's clear that’s where you’ll be taking action.”
Diversity, equity, and inclusion action that works
It’s no longer up for debate that the DEI landscape has shifted. “Culture and representation matter to people,” says Yacobucci. “Since the pandemic, it’s really entered into the marketplace from the employee's perspective.”
DEI is no longer an area of focus that makes your workplace special or different. Nor is it a compliance event, reported on once a year and checked off the to-do list. “Today, it’s a different world, where your employees care,” says Cook. “ For example, we have a diversity report, and we just reran it, and shared it with our whole company.”
In the past, it was all too common for companies to let a lack of knowledge keep them from making progress toward DEI goals. “You can’t say, we didn’t know when you have this much data,” says Yacobucci. “If somebody says they don’t think there’s an issue with pay equity, you can say, think again, unfortunately."
Data also helps leaders see what progress looks like, in specific and quantified terms. “It’s so hard to make change because it seems easy,” explains Cook. “Maybe you want to increase diversity by 1%. But when your organization is 500 people, 1% is five different hires. If you're only making 10 hires in that month, that's a big proportion.”
“If you have data, you can see that you’re not making the kind of change that you’re looking for, and you need to bring in more resources,” he continues. “The data starts to inform, shape, and actually drive change.”
Evidence-based choices in an uncertain economic landscape
“Recession is a scary word,” says Yacobucci. “But this time around, it’s different. Many people are seeing the word ‘recession’ and thinking of layoffs… but that’s not true. When you look at the data, there are still more jobs than there are people. Unemployment is at a historical low.”
As we head into a new economic downturn, businesses are faced with both record inflation and an ongoing labor shortage. Organizations are trying to do more with less—not just smaller budgets, but fewer people, too.
“Especially if you’re a small or mid-sized business, the assumptions you might have been operating on won’t hold true through this next wave,” Yacobucci continues. “That makes data even more important.”
How much are you actually paying people, compared to what you budgeted for? If you’re a distributed workforce, how does geographic location enter into the picture?
By using analytics to answer questions like these, organizations can get a clearer understanding of who they employ, and how they’re being compensated. They also provide pay transparency for employees and candidates, tying back to retention and DEI goals.
Today, leaders are walking a tightrope between paying enough to retain talent and keep up with inflation, while still keeping their businesses viable. Questions around compensation—and answering them with data—matter more than ever.
Why HR leaders need data
With data, HR leaders are equipped to be strategic, rather than reactionary as they address these interconnected challenges.
“When you’re operating in new territory, with new dynamics, guessing from the old models doesn’t work anymore,” says Yacobucci. “You’ve got to have the data to understand how to move forward.”
“Today, leaders are tasked to deliver results in a very quantitative, informed way,” says Yacobucci. “Now, they can’t go to other stakeholders and say, this is my gut feeling. They need to be able to back those convictions up with data, show a percentage change.”
Data helps leaders get away from assumptions—both their own, and other peoples’. It helps them get other leaders aligned behind their decisions because they don’t need to debate whether the issue exists; the numbers are right there.
Analytics allow those answers to be part of the conversation while they’re still relevant. “You need these answers while the questions are being asked,” says Cook. “You can’t say, oh, I’ll be back in two days with a spreadsheet.”
“When you have the data, you overcome people's objections,” continues Yacobucci. “If you have the data to show that six out of seven people are leaving for a specific reason, there's no room for subjective ‘I think…’ or ‘I feel…’ statements. You need to take action. That’s how data changes the conversation.”
How analytics helps your customers
HR is all about people—and it will never stop being a human-centric field. But to create the outcomes their companies need, today’s people leaders need to consistently make choices that are grounded in evidence.
That means they need not just data, but answers, to be easily accessible at all times.
Visier Embedded Analytics is a shortcut to offering that full-fledged advanced analytics experience, bringing it within reach for organizations of all sizes. We’ve partnered with people software businesses to bring analytics muscle to their products, provide data insights to their customers, and help them drive revenue with analytics.
Watch the full conversation between Samantha Yacobucci and Ian Cook in our on-demand webinar, Unlocking Answers Hidden in Your Data.
Interested in partnering with Visier to add analytics to your people software? Learn more about our Embedded Analytics options and supercharge your product with the answers your customers need.