"People analytics" has generally been an outward-looking metric, one that collects and deciphers client data. That focus is shifting and there is general consensus that employee data, when understood and applied correctly, can deliver even greater returns.
The advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence has transformed data analytics. We have developed the ability to uncover complex patterns that not only help us understand the past and present but also to predict and mold the future. People analytics is today helping the world's largest corporations understand their staff, tweak their performance, and deploy individuals in sales roles to produce the most profitable results.
The right people analytics foundation greatly magnifies the odds of success. A recent study shows that psychometric assessments at the hiring stage weed out unsuitable candidates. Crucially, the process helps match individuals to the roles to which they are best suited, whether or not they themselves realize that affinity.
Other companies expand their people analytics programs to the entire workforce through gamification. It is one of the most effective strategies, particularly when dealing with millennials and younger workers. The responses and results are automatically logged, giving managers an insight into the personality traits and work philosophies most suited to particular positions. Assembling the most effective sales team becomes a simple matter of connecting the dots.
Remuneration is considered a key driver of performance but one study revealed that neither a manager's pay packet nor their seniority was the key factor in sales. Instead, management style was the most reliable predictor of success here.
People analytics can be used to identify the traits of successful managers and then incorporate that knowledge into training programs. It goes beyond identifying who is underperforming to why they are falling short. Very importantly, it gives you the oversight to initiate improvement without singling out an individual. The result is a non-threatening, supportive work environment which itself aids sales performance by plugging in gaps left over from the recruitment stage.
The presence of the word "people" in people analytics can give the false impression that it is an element best left to management and the HR department. However, it is the second word, "analytics" that should dictate your approach.
Data is data. Do not overlook the data analysis experts in your company who specialize in IT and marketing. Despite the difference in focus, they possess the ability and inclination to extract the most pertinent information from reams of raw statistics. The stunning successes people analytics has scored has even led to industry-specific analytics working groups.
The increasing complexity and sophistication of technology notwithstanding, human interaction will always remain integral to sales success. In the examples above, it is relatively straightforward to extrapolate internal trends to predict client tendencies and preferences. The result is a harmonious approach for improved sales driven by virtually infallible data.