Cracking the code through workforce insights

Workforce insights is about using data from different sources to address business challenges relating to the workforce, generating insights about what may happen, as well as the actions needed to address emerging and predicted issues. Technology enables this activity but is unlikely to be based solely on out-of-the-box Human Capital Management (HCM) system capabilities. Other attributes are also needed such as evidence-based decision making within HR, storytelling leveraging insights, and thinking purposefully about who gets to see what information.

The power of data

56 percent of Pathfinding HR* organizations (and 38 percent of the rest) identified enhancing analytics capabilities as among the top three reasons for their investment in HR technology. Similar to Employee Experience, analytics is on the agenda of most HR leaders today.

Pathfinder HR organizations plan to invest specifically in HR technology that enhances HR analytics and allows for further HR automation (such as RPA) over the next two to three years. Sixty percent also agree that embracing these new technologies will require a significant change to roles within HR. As a result of the investments, they are zeroing in on the importance of needing dedicated, skilled analytics resources, either within HR or at least dedicated to HR. Almost half ranked data modeler/scientist within their top three roles to invest in within the next 2–3 years.

Digital dexterity: HR’s next frontier

When it comes to utilizing data analytics within the workplace, the Pathfinding HR organizations are ahead of the game. They reported higher proficiency levels in the use of advanced data and analytics. On average, they were 5x more likely to rank their use of more advanced analytics as “very proficient,” such as: identifying root causes of attrition in specific populations, differentiating behaviors between high versus low performers, or tracking data beyond the traditional HR system to understand patterns of behavior via email, chat, calendar, social media, etc.

Susan LaMonica quote

Pathfinding HR organizations are already investing in HR analytics and RPA, and 35 percent plan to experiment with new technologies like AI within 2–3 years.

HR challenges

Source: Future of HR 2020: Which path are you taking? KPMG International

Four ways Pathfinding HR functions are using analytical insights to drive people performance:

  • Investing in both technology and capability within the HR function
  • Building insights from integrating and analyzing data in real time across different data sources to understand the signals that point to emerging issues and opportunities
  • Taking a hypothesis-driven approach by working with the leadership team to use data to answer critical business issues and questions such as, which capabilities will drive competitive advantage? What are the causes of productivity in our business? 
  • Adopting an evidence-based mindset so that common and best practices are subject to a rigorous evaluation of validity and relevance


* Pathfinding HR: A small subset of the survey sample (approximately 10%) who are simultaneously focusing on four discrete, yet interconnected capabilities: workforce shaping, purpose and culture, employee experience, and workforce analytics. Their ‘counterparts’ refers to the remainder of the survey population.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewees and survey respondents and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.  KPMG’s involvement is not an endorsement, sponsorship or implied backing of any company’s products or services.