How to use people analytics for an effective COVID-19 response

How do you keep employees engaged during the COVID-19 crisis? What is the real impact of remote working on productivity? And does investing in digital transformation really help your employees to work more effectively?

How to use people analytics for an effective COVID-19 response

People Analytics, which acts as the bridge between employee feedback and business results, can provide the answers. How does it work exactly? Baran Metin (Chief People Analytics Officer at Effectory) and Lamin Kinteh (founder of Zyvo) explain.

What is people analytics?

People analytics, also known as HR analytics, provides insight into how HR processes, employee experiences and organizational success are linked. For example, the HR sector is highly focused on providing good training programs. On the surface, that seems like a good thing — but do these training programs actually improve employee engagement? In turn, does increased engagement lead to better financial results? People analytics can provide the answers to these questions.

People analytics during COVID-19

180 surveys of 75,000 employees across 10 different countries during the COVID-19 crisis have revealed that:

  • 71% of employees are concerned.
  • 60% are struggling to find a good work-life balance.
  • 33% are experiencing low levels of effectiveness.
  • 25–50% report reduced productivity due to other distractions.

Interesting figures, but what exactly do they tell us? People analytics helps organizations better understand how COVID-19 affects their employees. People analytics also helps organizations to develop the most effective HR strategies. This is especially useful in times of crisis, when it is important to find out what works and what does not.

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Diversity and inclusiveness

Lamin explains that, during an economic crisis such as the current COVID-19 situation, minority groups are the most severely affected:

  • Women working in male-dominated sectors are often the first to lose their jobs.
  • Young people experience difficulties taking their first steps into the job market.
  • Older people are encouraged to retire early.
  • The disability pay gap increases.
  • Unemployment rises more quickly among ethnic minority groups than among white people.

According to Lamin, this has everything to do with human bias. Our brain has 180 different biases, all of which affect the decisions we make. People analytics helps organizations to remain diverse and inclusive, even during a recession.

People analytics to help with promotions

For example, how do you ensure that all employees receive equal opportunities during internal promotion processes? Instead of making decisions based on feelings or intuition, which can be biased, use people analytics. An online candidate assessment can help you to identify talents and potential, while performance data allows you to collect data about characteristics. Analyzing this data allows you to make predictions that are both honest and unbiased.

Machine bias

However, it is important to remember that even machines can be wrong sometimes too. Let's say that you use an algorithm that detects good résumés. You tell the algorithm that a good résumé has a lower word count, but you forget to take into account that men often use fewer words on their résumés than women. Your algorithm will therefore automatically select more résumés from male candidates than from female candidates. This is a problem. Fortunately, this type of machine bias can be easily resolved with techniques called "undersampling" and "oversampling". You can either remove a number of men from your data set or add a number of women so that you have the same number of each. You can get the best of both worlds by combining people analytics with the intelligence of humans in this way.

Want to find out more about people analytics?

Thank you, Baran and Lamin, for this interesting webinar! Are you keen to find out more about people analytics, crisis management, leadership and being a good employer? Each week, Effectory hosts a free webinar covering a topic that is relevant to the times we now live in.

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