Insights: The Future of HR Technology

The analyst team at Brandon Hall Group conducts briefings with dozens of technology companies every year, and one of my favorite questions to ask is whether the provider is leveraging the data on hand to create predictive models and provide insights to clients. The data these companies have at their fingertips is incredibly complex and detailed, and they can use it to provide prescriptive options for their customers. This not only increases the value proposition, but it also helps to drive better business performance for clients—a definite win-win proposition.

Here’s an example. Ultimate Software just announced a new “Leadership Actions” feature in its product. Here is the snippet from the press release:

My Leadership Actions provide managers with actionable next steps to engage with their individual team members. In addition to helping managers become better leaders with machine learning-driven prescriptive actions focused on helping managers retain and grow key talent, the new feature can also be extended by HR leaders using user-defined actions to support other cultural and management initiatives for the organization.

data insights hr technologyConsider it—Ultimate has more than 3,000 customers and 20 million employee records on hand. If it can sift through the data, identify trends and best practices, and offer insights to companies at the point of need, then the biggest beneficiaries of this approach are the customers.

Another Example of Big Data Insights

Just to be clear, Ultimate is not the only company pursuing this avenue. A few months back I talked with TemboStatus leaders about the company’s product, and there was a very similar conversation being held. The system analyzes responses and then provides action planning steps to help administrators and HR professionals actually do something with the data to improve business results. It’s easy to conduct a survey, but it’s often difficult to know what the next step is. This solves that problem.

Here’s what I wrote about the product after the briefing was complete.

TemboStatus is a robust tool capable of so much more than a simple employee pulse survey. While that portion of the interaction is clean and easy to use, the real power comes on the back end for HR leaders and administrators. From interactive charts and key engagement drivers to the powerful action planning feature, this moves the discussion from merely measuring engagement to actually promoting it.

When we get down to it, most HR leaders typically don’t have the time or energy to devote to data analysis. It can be time-consuming, and limited insights may be discovered. One piece I was particularly attached to was the new outlier functionality. It highlights groups on extreme ends of the spectrum and sheds light on how the organization can support them. For instance, if employees are typically happy with training but one specific department is not, the outlier report can uncover that and provide action steps to resolve the problem.

By working with its customer base, TemboStatus was able to do the same thing—identify trends and create action planning templates based on triggers within the system.

Skipping the “Do It Yourself” Approach

HR leaders can do benchmarking and analysis themselves, but that doesn’t always leave them with a valid, rigorously-tested model to rely on. And with providers heartily blazing this trail into the world of big data and analytics, those leaders don’t have to worry about earning a PhD in statistics in order to take advantage of the available information.

If your provider is currently offering insights, I’d be curious to hear how it has benefited your organization. If not, would this make an alternative provider offering benchmarking and data-oriented suggestions more appealing to you?

Ben Eubanks, Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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