HR Management & Compliance, Talent

5 Ways to Win with Your Hourly Workforce Data

Hourly-based organizations can collect more data than ever before, but many lack the tools to leverage that information and proactively manage workforce concerns. Although decisions about hours, pay, safety, and performance are critical to the workforce, too many have been left to “I think” rather than “the data tell me.”


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Often, there’s a sense of dread associated with digging through the numbers and making use of them because people data are sensitive. These are data with “feeling” that’s connected to the heart of your workforce and in a constant state of change. However, the power of people analytics in everyday decision-making is undeniable—organizations that excel at people analytics are 3.1 times more likely to outperform their peers.

Now, you can connect your workforce data and analyze more data points to make better decisions and fine-tune your management strategy. With this in mind, here are five ways people analytics helps you solve common workforce issues.

Minimum Wage Increase

With minimum wage increases across various states, businesses have to start looking at the impact it will have on their workforce. The hourly rate of your workforce directly influences your bottom line. As rates move up, the way you handle your financial operations has to change. Failing to understand this—and worse, failing to incorporate it into your analysis and planning—will cost you more than you think.

Using people analytics, you can build a workforce plan that factors in your total head count, wages, and operational costs. This way, you can figure out the optimal way to move forward with the wage increase by considering all aspects of your business.


Absenteeism is another issue that can increase costs. According to a report released by Circadian, unscheduled absenteeism costs U.S. employers approximately $2,600 per hourly employee per year. A large part of the cost of absence comes from the amount of wasted time.

One survey shows that supervisors spend an average of 4.2 hours a week—or 5.3 weeks a year—dealing with absences, including finding replacements, adjusting workflow, and providing training. Unplanned absences impact productivity and stress levels across entire teams.

Many organizations have policies in place for hourly workers with unplanned absences. However, this doesn’t address the root of the problem. Businesses must be able to plan for absences and identify patterns that come up frequently.

For example, if a few workers at one location regularly call out on certain days, this could be a sign that a particular group is taking on too much overtime and experiencing burnout.

Using data, you can identify these patterns of unplanned absences and examine all the factors that contribute to absenteeism. That way, you can avoid the costs of overtime and stop future instances of burnout before they start.

Reducing Turnover

High turnover is expensive and reduces productivity. According to The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University, turnover costs $5,864 per person on average, and it takes 42 days to fill an open job. In part, this is because low unemployment rates and tight labor markets for skilled workers in many countries have made it difficult to hire “ready-made” workers. This has a far-reaching impact on organizations and contributes to high overtime costs.

To combat this, organizations have to spend more time onboarding and training new employees. However, solving this problem involves going beyond the reasons people quit.

Reducing turnover requires answers about all employees who leave your organization. You have to look at people who part ways both voluntarily and involuntarily. Using people analytics, you can find out how resignations are affected by things such as compensation, promotion wait time, tenure, performance, and training opportunities. This enables you to make better decisions on changes to pay, benefits, and learning and development, as well as retain the right people.

Cost Overruns of Overtime

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employee wages make up about 70% of a company’s compensation costs. Poorly planned overtime can wreak havoc on your budgeting plans.

During a natural disaster, the city of Edmonton’s HR team knew many city workers were putting in extra hours sorting donations for evacuees and manning the evacuation center. They knew that as a result, there would be a spike in overtime during that period.

However, leveraging their workforce data allowed them to reduce unnecessary overtime by making it possible to track the differences between emergency overtime and regular operational overtime.

Career Progression and Promotion

According to Gallup, 22% of people leave an organization to make more money. If employees leave to earn more elsewhere, there are several ways your organization will feel the impact. First, you have to replace those who left the company, and in the future, it will be difficult to fill leadership and management roles. This issue leads organizations to hire externally and can put your company culture at risk.

Tap into historical career movement data to see employees’ role progression and how long it took before they moved up to make more. Additionally, leveraging these data into visualizations enables managers to show employees where they are in the organization and show them the path to earn more. This can motivate employees to move into senior positions in the future.

The Key to Building a Better Workforce

People analytics can drive real change in your organization, and with current technology, it’s easier than ever to transform your workforce. By putting data in the hands of everyone, your team will discover the facts they need to make better business decisions every day.

Using data and analytics may seem overwhelming, but the only way to get it right is to start working with them. The earlier your organization starts with people analytics, the better prepared you’ll be for any future changes in the workforce, business environment, or global market. Your people will learn the value of data, ensuring that the data they collect are usable and contributing to business transformation.

Ian CookIan Cook heads the workforce domain for Visier, which develops cloud-based applications that enable HR professionals to answer workforce strategy questions. Cook has been involved in driving forward the datafication of HR and is a speaker and blogger on the subject.

Before Visier, Cook built Canada’s leading source of HR benchmark data. His expertise has also been developed through years of international experience solving strategic HR problems for brands in the Fortune 500 and Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100.