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    Simplifying Analytics for People Managers

    January 5, 2024

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    Data-Driven Leadership: Simplifying Analytics for People Managers

    Despite the potential of people analytics to enhance business success through improved hiring, engagement, and retention, its adoption is limited by challenges like lack of tech skills, time constraints, and insufficient actionable insights. Overcoming these obstacles requires user-friendly AI tools, real-time access, and strategic training to empower managers   to leverage data effectively for decision-making.


    The future of people analytics  is tantalizing data-driven insights to optimize hiring, boost employee engagement, and, ultimately, fuel business success. Yet, despite its potential, people analytics  often gets bogged down in the murky depths of spreadsheets and complex dashboards, rarely reaching the hands of those who need it most – middle-level and frontline managers  . This disconnect between data and decision-making at the ground level hinders progress and leaves valuable insights gathering dust in digital filing cabinets.

    Imagine a scenario with a data unification platform where every click, every performance review, and every interaction within a workforce becomes a data point – a brushstroke in a vibrant talent portrait. If analyzed effectively, this treasure trove of information could unlock the mysteries of retention, performance, and engagement. It could become the universal key to solving critical talent challenges, streamlining processes, and propelling businesses toward success. But the reality is quite different from this Utopian view. But why?

    HR Data analytics – A tough nut to crack?  

    A typical enterprise generates employee data across the employee lifecycle. An employee’s data enters the company’s system even before the person joins the organization and stays long after they have moved on from the company. With the increasing digital transformation of HR operations, data volumes will only increase, making the applications of people analytics  a necessity for strategic decision-making.

    While many large businesses recognize the potential of people analytics, translating data into strategic action remains a stumbling block. According to a McKinsey survey, most CEOs from North America reported that their companies struggle to integrate data analytics into everyday HR tasks consistently and leverage analytics' predictive capabilities to enhance decision-making.

    Why is this the case? Ranging from the technical complexities of data analytics to bandwidth issues, several factors contribute to this disconnect:

    • Tight Bandwidths: People managers across industries face a common challenge: the shortage of time. They must make decisions on the go, drowning in employee data while thirsting for actionable insights. These challenges highlight the widespread struggle to bridge the gap between data availability and decision-making at the middle management and frontline. The key lies in providing user-friendly, AI-powered people analytics solutions that deliver insights directly to managers' fingertips, enabling them to take swift, informed actions that drive positive outcomes. 
    • Lack of Tech Skills: Middle and frontline managers are masters of specific skills necessary to execute their role's day-to-day responsibilities. However, they are primarily ill-equipped regarding tech skills, particularly data analytics. This lack of tech skills renders people analytics unusable, challenging to comprehend, and jargon-filled sets of tools from which most middle and frontline managers want to maintain a safe distance. Jargon-filled reports and labyrinthine dashboards create a maze of data, leaving valuable insights untapped and managers feeling lost in that maze of metrics.  
    • Timely Access to Insights: In several industries, such as BFSI and retail, people spend a substantial amount of time managing the workforce, which is constantly on the move. This also requires the managers to stay mobile to manage the workforce and make decisions on the go. As the managers are on the move, they need a people analytics system that provides them with real-time insights to them at the spot of action. The lack of instant access to an insights delivery system hinders the adoption of analytics amongst people managers.  
    • No Actionable Insights: Many people managers suffer from a lack of actionable insights where mountains of data lack clear pathways to action. Take John, a warehouse supervisor. He sees rising employee churn data, but the platform offers no concrete steps to address specific causes. This ambiguity leaves him paralyzed, unable to stem the tide. However, with an AI-powered platform that suggests interventions based on data patterns, John can see proposed training programs for at-risk teams, empowering him to take targeted action and boost retention. By offering data and a roadmap to action, people analytics can empower managers like John to become agents of positive change, transforming data deserts into fertile ground for growth.  

    Bridging the Chasm: Boosting Analytics Adoption Amongst People Managers 

    The challenges hindering people managers’ adoption of analytics are real but not insurmountable. Businesses can embrace a multi-pronged approach to bridge the gap and unlock the transformative power of data: 

    • Actionable Nudges, not Data Shrugs

       Insights, without action, are like a treasure chest locked without a key. Don't leave managers with just the insights; help them take the right actions! Provide them with the tools and guidance to unlock the potential of data. Think automated nudges to act based on trends, breakdown of whys, and even AI-powered recommendations for specific interventions. This empowers managers to turn data into tangible improvements, boosting their confidence and sense of accomplishment. 

    Darwinbox Capability Darwinbox delivers people analytics-powered actionable insights to people managers. AI models churning employee data stay on a continuous lookout for insights. In case of an outlier incident or a pattern, Darwinbox Atlas initiates a customized multi-channel notification for the manager to act and initiate course correction. With these customized multi-channel notifications, managers are always empowered to take data-backed actions. 

    Figure 1 – Notification example



    • Generative AI-Powered Insights

       No more drowning in data! With AI as their data sherpa, managers can easily navigate the mountains of information. Imagine chatting with an online friend who has answers to all your people analytics questions. AI surfaces key trends, identifies at-risk areas, and even suggests actionable steps, transforming data deluge into a roadmap for success. This saves managers valuable time and reduces anxiety, allowing them to focus on implementing data-driven solutions rather than struggling to decipher complex reports. 

    Darwinbox Capability – AI capabilities in Darwinbox Atlas offer pivotal support for business leaders by delivering secure and personalized insights into their foremost opportunities and risks. Darwinbox’s AtlasAssist is a native GPT chatbot that allows users to access data on the fly. This LLM-based chatbot, built natively on Darwinbox, can answer questions instantaneously and accurately. Additionally, using AI-enabled features, such as intelligent nudges, Darwinbox Atlas drives decisive action. See the below screenshot (figure 2), the text query of “top 10 departments with headcount >20 by attrition and headcount”. This simple prompt creates the visual with all the required data and insights. The reporting and analytics engine leverages AI-based predictive modelling to highlight critical areas like attrition risk. Additionally, AI-facilitated smart nudges on persona-based dashboards empower employees and managers to assess and respond to data from a unified interface. 

    Figure 2 – Generative AI Powered Analytics


    • Power BI at Play

       Ditch the jargon-filled dashboards that make managers' eyes glaze over. Power BI brings data to life with intuitive visualizations, like drag-and-drop charts and compelling graphs that tell a straightforward story. Think of it as data translated into a language of action. This visual storytelling fosters understanding and engagement, encouraging managers to actively explore and utilize the insights at their fingertips. 

    Darwinbox Capability – Darwinbox's integration with Native Power BI and Azure Data Lake offers two significant benefits – it provides exceptional data visualizations that enhance decision-making and scales people analytics across the organization. This integration facilitates the augmentation of people data with business data, thereby enriching the analysis and insights available to the organization. Darwinbox Atlas has several unique dashboards that provide insights about employee data across performance, employee headcount, attrition, leaves, onboarding, R&R, recruitment, travel, time and attendance, and compensation. These dashboards also provide people managers with the story behind each insight through the auto-generated impact path behind each data point to gain a deeper understanding of the trends across the organization. It also drills down to multiple levels to show all the contributing factors to enable strategic HR discussions backed by causative data. See the screenshot below that highlights the correlation between hike percentage and attrition data. 

    Figure 3 – Dashboard with Deep Insights


    • Prioritize Mobile UI

       Mobile accessibility is key to boosting the adoption of HR analytics among managers. With many managers frequently on the move, especially in dynamic sectors like BFSI and retail, having real-time access to analytics on mobile devices is crucial. It enables swift, informed decision-making without being tethered to a desk. Mobile-friendly analytics platforms cater to the modern workflow, ensuring valuable insights are always at a manager's fingertips, increasing the likelihood of regular use and fostering a data-driven culture. 

    Darwinbox Capability – Darwinbox is a mobile-first platform that allows people managers to access insights on the go. Using the Darwinbox mobile app, they can access insights about workforce productivity, engagement, attrition, and more. The platform is easy to use, with a consumer-grade user interface, and provides action-oriented smart nudges and insights to users. 

    Figure 4 – Mobile access to Darwinbox Analytics Platform


    By tackling these challenges head-on and embracing innovative solutions, businesses can transform people analytics from a distant mirage into a powerful tool for people managers. From strategic workforce planning to getting the best person for the job to meaningfully engaging that individual to ensure a smooth employee lifecycle, all can be enhanced with the right people analytics tool.  

    Imagine a warehouse supervisor making data-driven decisions to reduce turnover, a retail floor manager tailoring motivational strategies based on real-time engagement metrics, or a frontline healthcare supervisor optimizing patient care using AI-powered people insights. This is the transformative power of people analytics at the middle-management level, and it's within reach for any business willing to bridge the chasm and empower their frontline heroes with the data they need to succeed. 

    Remember, data is not destiny. It's a compass. By putting the right tools and insights in the hands of people managers, we can guide them toward a data-driven future where they navigate with confidence and unlock the full potential of their teams and organizations. 


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