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Six out of ten European companies use HR and people analytics

HR and people analytics on the rise in European companies
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A survey by SD Worx, Europe's leading HR and payroll service provider, shows that six out of ten companies today use HR and people analytics to gain insights into areas such as staff shortages, absenteeism or employee turnover. Companies from Austria (66%), Sweden (66%) and Germany (65%) currently lead the way in this regard.  More and more companies are making the use of HR and people analytics a higher priority. 21% of those surveyed indicated they would like to start using these tools in the coming year, a 15% increase on last year.

More than half of European companies (56%) believe in the added value of HR and people analytics. Dutch companies lead the way at 67%, followed by companies from Ireland and Spain (66%), Italy and the United Kingdom (61%).  International companies (61%) and medium to large companies (both 64%) believe in the potential of the insights offered by HR and people analytics. These insights mainly revolve around data reports to map out payroll administration and personnel costs, followed by absenteeism, personnel planning and capacity management, as well as the recruitment and selection of staff.

HR and people analytics also allows policy decisions to be supported by data. An increasing number of companies are putting the use of HR and people analytics higher on their agenda, as 21% of companies indicated they plan to do so in the coming year, with a further 20% planning to do so within a two-year period. These percentages represent a significant increase compared to 2021 (6% and 5% respectively). The SD Worx survey therefore confirms the rising trend among companies to increasingly use HR and people analytics.

      Need for tools and advice

      However, there are several reasons why four out of ten companies don't yet use HR and people analytics. The main one is the lack of both advice and guidance on how to launch such projects. Over a quarter (27%) of the companies surveyed who indicated they don't yet use HR and people analytics simply said they don't need it. They also lack time or manpower (20%), suitable systems (18%) and knowledge about data interpretation (11%) or analysis (11%).

      Companies that already use HR and people analytics are keen to make even more use of it. They want user-friendly, smart tools for analysing, interpreting and visualising data.

        More than half of European companies use HR and people analytics to help make decisions

        Over half (52%) of European companies say they use HR and people analytics when making both strategic and operational decisions. For Spanish companies, this percentage rises to a huge 82%, followed by Italian (70%) and British (59%) companies.

        The survey also confirms that it's mainly HR managers and management who use HR and people analytics. But it's not just them who benefit from HR and people analytics, as more than half (52%) of companies already using it said that such reports are useful for employees and managers, too. This applies both to decisions at team level, such as which talent is available, and to individual issues, such as a staff member's efficient use of time. Here, too, the size of the company appears to be a decisive factor, as primarily employees and managers of larger companies use HR and people analytics (63%). This drops to 59% for medium-sized companies, and 48% for companies with less than 250 employees.

        In general, there is still a great deal of room for improvement within the field of HR and people analytics. Jurgen De Jonghe, Data Portfolio Manager at SD Worx, explains: "Companies are more likely to invest more – rather than less – in consultancy and technology. The figures confirm a positive trend in which companies are open to using the full potential of HR and people analytics. However, some companies remain cautious, which is a shame. It's a missed opportunity for those who aren't yet using numerical support when making policy decisions about personnel, especially if they know that much can be achieved even with limited effort. The current technologies also enable datasets to be linked together far more efficiently. The time and effort needed is falling, and the ability for internal stakeholders to interpret data is rising significantly. You can make a huge difference to your entire organisation with HR and people analytics, in particular in terms of employee well-being, employee engagement and satisfaction, but also in terms of recruitment and talent development, too. Putting in the effort in this field pays dividends, as you can make sure well-founded insights become a mainstay of the decision-making process in staff policy – both at an individual and team level."

        HR Director of Aertssen Group Alain Bastiaens explains how they use HR data and thus proactively contribute to the business and financial reporting: “The value is in the automation and the convenience, where the users get access to the right reports. In concrete terms, this ranges from daily and monthly reporting for management to quarterly reporting for the Board of Directors. No more loose files: everything is centrally located in one place. Thanks to this project with HR data, there is only one version of the truth.”

        In co-creation with SD Worx Data & Insights, we have developed BI reporting, with clear KPIs and visualisations. In this way we have a clear overview of, for example, turnover per employee, a breakdown of billable vs. non-billable employees and absenteeism. These KPIs are accurate barometers that allow us to act proactively. If absenteeism rises, we try to intervene in time and avoid staff turnover. It is a signal that the HR business partners should talk to the people on the floor. For example, we help management and finances with HR data. We started in Belgium, but the expansion with international data is on our wish list.”

          About the survey

          In the context of digitalizing hr practices, iVox conducted a survey on behalf of SD Worx on how European employers implementing HR data & insights. The survey was conducted in April - May 2022 in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. A total of 4,061 companies were surveyed. The sample is representative of the specific local labour markets and has the same composition in terms of company size for each country concerned.

          Learn more about HR and People Analytics in our e-book 'Becoming a data hero'.