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Healthcare HR

HR Analytics Are Essential for Driving Organizational Performance in Healthcare

By Trisha Holbert, MA, SPHR, Performance Excellence Coach, HealthStream Engagement Institute

In today’s healthcare market, it has never been more important for your Human Resources Department to know the business and to step up as an integral component to the success of any healthcare organization. To do so, HR leadership must be able to validate their value and be able to speak in quantitative, objective terms. If your HR department is only providing basic data; turnover reports, internal transfers, and exit interview data, you are missing a great opportunity to reduce costs, build engagement, and to prepare yourself for future needs.

HR Analytics Explained

What I am describing is the world of HR Analytics. Obviously, data can be pulled and reports can be run on a variety of aspects, but it is important to focus on the data that will best support your organizational strategies. Furthermore, reports are worthless if they are not actually used to drive business decisions. Your Human Resources department must establish a data-driven approach, leveraging analytics to improve business results and organizational effectiveness.

The reality is that HR analytics can translate raw data into actionable information for your organization. The Harvard Business Review defines analytics as the use of math and statistics to derive meaning from data to arrive at better business decisions. Analytics can be descriptive (use of dashboards), predictive (use past data to model future outcomes), or prescriptive (performance optimization). The use of HR analytics can provide a key competitive advantage for your organization.

Talent Management and Data

One of the most critical areas requiring in-depth HR data analysis is talent management. Talent management refers to the anticipation of required human capital and the planning required to meet those needs. Predictive analysis is one of the best methods for collecting data and forecasting outcomes based on historical data to arrive at better decisions. Human Resources maintains huge amounts of people data, and this data is critical to business operations. Some healthcare organizations are utilizing predictive analysis to increase their overall ability to predict attrition risks, to select high performance job applicants, analyze engagement, understand employee productivity and performance, determine leadership training needs and potential, and manage staffing needs based on leave of absence trends.

In the healthcare environment we are facing many talent management challenges including recruitment & retention of top talent, appealing to multiple generations, development of talent to meet future needs, succession planning, and engaging a diverse workforce, among other things. Although most organizations know that utilizing HR analytics will enhance their organizational success, very few believe that they are capable of developing strong predictive models or simply do not allocate the time or resources needed.

Measuring Human Capital

The reality is that HR analytics and measuring your human capital does make a difference. According to the book “HR Analytics,” author Jac Fitz-Enz writes that it is important that you manage what you measure. In his book Fitz-Enz sites examples of major health-care insurers retaining 93% of its top talent after their development of a leadership initiative, and another company that returned 18.2% in productivity with new training technology resulting in $276,000 cost savings to the bottom line. In another article, from Forbes magazine, it is written that organizations that leverage their HR data see high returns in employee retention, accident claims, leadership pipeline, talent gaps, and candidate pipelines. These are only a few examples of the potential savings that could come from your HR analytics.

Most healthcare organizations have strategic goals around their people, patient experience, quality/safety, business outcomes and future growth strategies. We know that engaged employees create a better patient experience, actively seek to improve quality and patient outcomes, and help to improve the overall financial standing of the organization. We know that engaged employees stay with their employer longer, refer other top talent, and create a positive work culture. We also know that turnover, being short staffed, mandatory overtime and a lack of talent development or promotional opportunities work against the very things that engage employees the most. With all of that said, why aren’t more healthcare organizations investing in HR analytics that will support their greatest resource… their people? 

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