There's a way to make your small business run better, suggest experts who use human-resource software to track and refine their workforce, and analysis is the tool you need to get it done.
Computer software that helps owners analyze and manage human resources is everywhere, if you're looking for it. Options include small-business friendly packages such as Sage HRMS, the scalable iCIMS Talent Platform, and a host of other products.
The upshot of the idea of HR analytics is this: By centralizing the information that comes from running your business, you can let the processors do some heavy lifting. HR analytics monitor, measure and provide usable data that fuels best strategies and practices within your staff.
One result, when it works well, is a boost to productivity. Ideally, you have happier workers, working smarter, and pushing that bottom line further than ad hoc course corrections. Here are some of the key advantages to employing an HR analytics system.
Streamlining administrative duties. The employee who's previously spent hours each week managing payroll, expense and other data is freed up.
Minimizing clerical mistakes. The manual tracking of hours and schedules gets crunched by computers instead of staff. Time clocks become integrated across small businesses that have more than one.
Flexible scheduling. Automating the HR process not only makes employees happier, allowing them to set times and days that conform to the shape and size of their lives, it also allows small-business owners to study what that scheduling does to their output, how productivity is actually impacted once the change is made.
Better hiring practices. Human-resource analytics isn't just about crafting your processes and schedules to make best use of the people that you've got. It's also about striving for new gains when it comes to your next hire.
These tools can help you assess whether your criteria actually result in high-performance staffing. For example, maybe you believe that a new hire must have a certain number of years in your specific industry to produce the caliber of results you're seeking. HR analytics can actually look at the evidence—once the software has measured your staff's performance—and suggest to you whether a new-hire's experience requirement corresponds with the productivity of the best members on your team.
As Mark Conway, an expert on business leadership, has pointed out: the experts place a high value not on what one thinks, in business, but what one knows. Re-approaching human resources in the small-business workplace not as a series of gut-level decisions but as a data-driven strategy can be a game changer. It's certainly a trend.
In the end, the idea is that everybody benefits. Employees know they're being steered by sensible and fact-based management. Owners and managers have confidence that they're not being persuaded or led astray by the way things can seem but rather how they truly are.
James O'Brien blogs for numerous clients on topics that include: film, social media, writing, technology, marketing, business, and design. He is a correspondent for Boston University's Research Magazine and for The Commons, a journal covering higher-education. He has written extensively as a news correspondent for The Boston Globe. James blogs via Contently.com.