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Integrating People Science Into HR

Earlier, an organization’s personnel were simply referred to as human resources. But today, the word encompasses people sciences — what it means to run a successful organization.

So, what is people science? People science uses data, analytics, and behavioral sciences to nurture and understand the workforce. It studies how people interact with their environment to gauge their needs and requirements.

HR Analytics

Data science has long been used to study customer behavior and predict trends. The pandemic disrupted the workforce like nothing before. HR professionals were left wringing their hands as they struggled to help employees transition to a new normal while maintaining a good culture. Due to Covid-19 disruptions, many companies had to shift to remote work, hybrid work, or adapt a new model suited to their needs. By 2021, as workplaces started opening up, HR professionals had to face a new challenge-The Great Resignation. It is estimated that over 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs by September 2021, with many more planning to give in their notice.

Today, companies use data analytics for workforce planning, talent management, and operational advancement. However, a recent survey by KPMG found that HR professionals are becoming considerably less confident in their ability to use data and analytics.  

Data helps companies evaluate and improve their processes. A robust data-centric culture is necessary to facilitate continuous improvement. People analytics is key to understanding why individuals are leaving their jobs, where they are going, and what the future will look like. 

data analytics in HR

People sciences help HR understand employee concerns and behavior.

People Sciences and DEIB in Work

Another important aspect that drives a company’s popularity is its stance on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). A recent study found that three-fourths of all job applicants mentioned that diversity is an important factor while deciding where to work. 

A 2021 HR Research Institute survey discovered that 21% HR professionals believe that their organizations are at expert or advanced stages in DEI initiatives. A McKinsey & Company study found that companies in the top quartile of gender diversity perform 25% better than their competitors. Furthermore, companies are 2.6 times more likely to retain their workforce and increase engagement if they employ good DEIB practices

Diversity includes ethnicity, race, gender, age, sexuality, language, educational background, and more. Eighty five percent of CEOs whose companies focused on a diverse and inclusive culture reported an increase in profits. 

A big part of people science is to work with these numbers and to come up with ways to make people feel valued. This encompasses the entire lifecycle of an employee, including employee education and experience, employee goals, employee development plans, pay scale, designation, benefits, paid leave, employee performance, and more. With the right analytical tools, DEIB can be integrated into all processes, right from recruitment.

The Era of Hybrid Work

Most organizations are moving towards a hybrid work model, allowing their employees to choose where and when they want to work. Rewarding employees with autonomy and freedom shows that the company believes in them, and increases overall well-being.

A hybrid workplace implies that employees can work from the office all of the time or as convenient. Meanwhile, a hybrid workspace means that an employee can log in at any time and complete the work for the day. 

While hybrid work can bring down physical costs involved in running a company, it involves a lot more collaboration and employee engagement to keep things running smoothly. A CISCO survey found that over 53% of the organizations plan to move to a hybrid model, reducing their office footprint. Organizations also need to monitor productivity and 

An effective hybrid model requires an incredible amount of flexibility, inclusivity, and support from all stakeholders. People analytics are necessary to keep track of change and to replicate successes. 

Google’s Project Oxygen is one such example. Researchers analyzed the practices of top performing managers and used them to train low-performing employees. Analytics also helps pinpoint issues that skip the naked eye. During the pandemic, a health and well-being survey found that employees reported increased levels of stress and anxiety. 

People sciences, to be truly effective, must benefit both the employer and the employee. It is necessary to have data-savvy HR professionals who are willing to initiate change, based on data, to build a safe and inclusive organization.   

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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