I came across David Green’s article about how to take a skill-based approach to workforce planning, which provided me with clarity on how critical people’s skill data is for workforce planning, which is my company’s current challenge, and how the data can complement network analysis.
David Green is one of the leading people analytics experts, and his survey in the second half of 2020 across almost 50 global organizations, including 12 Fortune 500 companies revealed that while 90% of the companies desired to implement a skill-based workforce planning process, only 26% had it in place. My company, as no exception, falls into 26%.
In the article, David shared the following insights from the interview with Ralf Buechsenschuss, Global Head of Org Design, Analytics and Digitalization at Zurich Insurance Company, which has a skill-based workforce planning process in place.
- How technology has helped elevate people analytics during Ralf’s decade in the field to the extent that today we can: “Use machine learning at scale and tailor recommendations to individuals because we know what the skills are of an individual and what are the skill gaps. And at scale, we can bring certain recommendations to an employee, the same way we bring specific marketing campaigns to our customers.”
- Ralf’s ingenious use of organizational network analysis in workforce planning, to understand the flow of expertise throughout the organization: “We are applying organizational network analysis on two types of networks. One is the expertise network – so, to really understand, what is the capability we have and who is part of that network? And (second, the) collaboration network – so how do people work together and get work done?”
- Finally, he explained how workforce planning and org design activities can be viewed as two sides of the same coin and how bringing both under the same umbrella can help HR deliver more value to the business. “We know how many people we need, which kind of skills and capabilities we need, and what is also then the right organizational setting. Then, ensure that we can execute our business priority in the right way and leverage the full analytic capability through data revenue.”
Based on this article, here are my takeaways:
- The first thing I like about Zurich Insurance’s people analytics approach is that they always start from business strategy or business issues, not from analytics. It means people analytics or HR impact the business outcome. This mindset is crucial for people analytics to be accepted inside the company.
- I could understand the importance of skill/capability data to realize the right person for the right position from the article. However, I need to explore how to define the current/future skills and capabilities rightly and evaluate the level of those skills and capabilities since it is not covered in the article.
- I am impressed with Zurich Insurance’s approach because they combine skill data information and network analysis to create “expertise network” in the organization and analyze how effective the organizational architecture is. This is a very new approach for me, and I am confident that such combined analytical approaches could yield more value than a single analytical approach.