The role of HR Analytics in Brexit


It is estimated that Brexit is likely to broaden the pre-existing skills gaps in the UK data and analytics sector.  Just 12 months away from the UK’s official departure from the EU, recent employment data suggests that European nationals working in advanced analytics in the UK are looking to continental Europe for jobs.

HR leaders need to position themselves with some urgency to ensure that they are prepared to anticipate and counter changes in the labour market. Talent audits constructed upon data insights and people analytics is one of the most useful predictive tools that can the HR business unit can employ in order to determine skills deficits and to assist with workforce planning for the future. 

With HR becoming more strategic and playing more of an influential role at board level in large companies and organisations, business leaders are coming to rely upon people data to analyse and predict workforce needs in the race to grow market share, drive innovation, and ensure maximum return for shareholders. 

As the HR business unit becomes more technological and data driven, human resources professionals are becoming more valuable as active participants in key decision making processes, they are able to back up their assumptions and predictions based on hard evidence derived from what the ‘people data’ is telling them, which they can then translate in to a business case. 

What is People Analytics?

People analytics is a combination of data driven processes enabled by technology, people analytics utilises descriptive, visual and statistical methods to analyse people data to determine human resource processes that encompasss human capital, HR systems, organisational performance, along with unstructured external and macroeconomic data. 

Producing actionable insights from quantitative HR data

For the HR leaders at the genesis stage of harnessing HR analytics to drive business insights, the first challenge to producing structured analytics is to identify and overcome the challenges of talent retention and skills risks by ensuring clean data that can be relied upon. Above all, quality in the data is essential, as is variety. By harnessing data from multiple sources within the business, which could include scientific, organisational, qualitative and stakeholder insights, this enables intelligent data correlation that increases the possibility for high quality outcomes. 

Evolving HR People Analytics to drive business insight.

Conversations with HR leaders suggest that there is a large degree of confidence and conviction amongst them that HR analytics strategies will enable companies to achieve their future priorities. There is a clear opportunity for HR to draw on wider sources of evidence, add more value to the business through offering more quality insights and upskilling, and ultimately build better capability. 

To ensure the continued delivery of high quality HR insights a structured approach is necessary to ensure that time, energy and inertia are employed behind workforce planning backed by analytics, along with wide audience participation through qualitative elements such as engagement surveys. 

Quantifying the Brexit effect

The effective use of data to analyse workforce requirements in tandem with business planning in the shadow of a hard Brexit requires risk analysis, recruitment planning and responsive management techniques. 

Through intelligent and structured workforce planning backed by people data HR leaders are able to simulate alternate scenario’s effecting the operating environment, forecast workforce demands and the supply side elements of labour, and identify skills gaps and the anticipated obstacles that will need to be addressed and overcome.

Some essential considerations to consider when developing a workforce Brexit strategy are risk controls, succession planning, and gap analysis. HR leaders need to start thinking about how they will link people strategy to the overall Brexit business strategy using data collection, analysis and review.

To achieve these aims HR leaders will need to secure investment for in-depth benchmarking studies that enable empiric decisions relative to workforce strategy, whilst mobilising peers, management and leadership colleagues that possess deep organisational knowledge in the participation of gathering workforce insights lending towards a binary Brexit strategy that could either be ‘hard’, or ‘soft’, depending on which way the wind blows.

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Alex White