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The role of integrated data in transforming the workplace

from  July 19, 2021 | 5 min read

Even before the pandemic, a generational change has been rumbling in the workforce as millennials take on more managerial positions and Generation Z enters the job market. In Singapore, these employees take up roughly 40% of the working population. With this shift, there are changed expectations as to how things should be done in the workplace.

Tech is further accelerating these changes. Bots and automation have been predicted to disrupt almost all HR roles by 2023. A survey in Malaysia concludes that, in one to two years, 13% of the workforce will be made redundant. Additionally, almost half will need to be reskilled or upskilled.

With all these transformations happening at the same time, business leaders need a comprehensive overview of the big picture. Data on hand is what drives crucial business decisions and helps HR managers decide the next course of actions to take. Data helps solve common business challenges related to attracting talent, delineating roles, and integrating technology into the workplace.

The challenge of attracting and retaining talent

For organizations, retaining talent is becoming an increasingly crucial issue. According to global consulting firm Korn Ferry, Singapore is bracing for a worker shortage of 1,000,000 per year by 2030. This would result in annual losses worth US$106.8 billion.

As the population shrinks, so will the talent pool. Furthermore, the 2018 Millennial Survey by Deloitte says almost half of millennials plan to quit their job within two years. Less than a third planned to stay for more than five years.

Fortunately, a tried and tested solution is already available. A study released last year by Willis Towers Watson (WTW) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) states that the ability to create data linkages across talent and business metrics is key to retaining talent.

People analytics—which employs the concept of integrated data—can be used to determine what employees want and reduce turnover rates. By making data accessible whenever it’s needed, HR managers can make more accurate decisions, avoid waste and redundant costs, and achieve operational efficiency. Leong Chee Tung, co-founder of EngageRocket, claims that the return on investment for people analytics can be as high as US$13 for every dollar spent.

Predictive people analytics can also help you project upcoming attrition, as well as determine the best candidates for certain positions. Such abilities will provide greater insights that support strategic workforce planning. In turn, this will help identify and retain the best employees for the organization.

The challenge of shifting, cross-functional roles

Citing the aforementioned WTW study, writer and podcaster Adrian Tan concludes that 90% of HR jobs in Singapore will be disrupted by technology. Your company may be one of millions around the globe that is seeing the development of new, tech-enabled and tech-reliant roles.

For example, the People Strategist is an emerging role in human resources. Their task is to align all talent lifecycles with the organizational culture. Their day-to-day involves using talent metrics to drive effective business outcomes.

Another new rising position in HR is the Head of Talent Enablement. Its main function is to drive all aspects of talent strategy through technology. This involves working closely with other parts of the organization to track performance and productivity, then design and execute talent lifecycle processes and programs in response.

New roles in other departments are beginning to form as well. In his latest book, Goliath’s Revenge: How Established Companies Turn the Tables on Digital Disruptors, co-author Scott Snyder talks about different key roles that companies will need. For Snyder, HR is an enabler in shaping the company’s future talent and culture profile.

The challenge of integrating technology within HR roles

As previously mentioned, the new, young talents entering the workforce have their own expectations as to how things should be done, and the talent journey is no longer what it used to be.

Employees expect consumer-grade applications to make their jobs easier. HR is expected to have its own technology roadmap to make the delivery of its processes more effective. Ideally, automation will not replace the workforce, but serve as an important tool for an organization’s talent.

HR technology is such an important aspect of work that Singapore’s MOM is set to launch an HR transformation playbook on the subject. The playbook has a two-part focus. First, MOM seeks to strengthen HR capability to support organizational changes. Second, hopes to provide HR with emerging skills to enable tech transformation.

Indeed, HR professionals will need plenty of technology-related skills. After all, they are expected to identify, evaluate, and implement technological solutions. In more sophisticated cases, these may include the design of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) of various intelligent automation processes. Intelligent automation may consist of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), or any combination of those processes.

From data integration to predictive analytics

With all these challenges facing HR, data integration is a must. Gone are the days where each department gathers their data with different software and processes, each siloed away from the other.

The waste of time and energy caused by manually re-entering each data—not to mention the potential human errors therein—must be eliminated.

Data that is gathered can be used intelligently for predictive analysis. This will help leaders optimize the available talent resources. As previously mentioned, predictive analytics can project upcoming attrition, so that companies can make necessary adjustments.

Predictive analysis can also help companies determine which talent is best suited for which project. This will not only optimize the company’s performance but also keep talents happy and fulfilled.

This can only be achieved when data is properly integrated into an organization’s tech stack and tools. Various data from different sources is presented in a way that’s unified, cohesive, and easy to understand. The end goal is to enable analytics tools to produce actionable business intelligence.

Transforming into an empathetic workplace

No matter what industry you are in, it is clear that the workplace is undergoing a shift. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced organizations into digitalizing their business processes. That, in turn, has made everyone more aware of other changes taking place: a generational shift in the workforce, a looming talent shortage, as well as the threats and potentials of intelligent automation.

The success of a business in weathering these changes is dependent upon the capacity of its HR department and the depth of the insights gleaned from its integrated data. As a department, HR determines whether employees are accurately heard, enabled, and empowered—and whether they stay or leave. In the face of automation, HR determines whether employees will be replaced or whether they will work alongside automated processes.

To make correct decisions, business leaders require solid business intelligence. The same goes for HR. As a department, it is expected to produce accurate and cohesive people analytics. Both descriptive and predictive, people analytics can drive a company’s performance and well-being.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to data integration. But it usually involves a network of data sources, a master server, and clients accessing data from the master server. A good data integration system will provide visibility and control over data from various sources in an organization.

Unit4’s Prosoft is an example of such a system. With a cohesive framework that spans across your entire organization, Prosoft gives you a comprehensive overview of all your resources at any given time. Best of all, it comes with an intuitive UI that gives you all the data in a unified manner.

Your data is your strength. The correct tools of data integration will allow you to build more effective and actionable business intelligence. This will transform your workplace into a more efficient, empathetic place for quality talents. In turn, this will give you an edge over your competitors in facing challenges in the years to come.


Unit4 Prosoft

Unit4 Prosoft have been serving customers in Asia for 30 years and is trusted by over 1,000 businesses across the APAC region in the manufacturing, healthcare, retail, construction, and professional services industries. Unit4 Prosoft HRMS has modules that support every aspect of your HRMS programs and allows you to manage people’s entire hire-to-retire cycle with a central control center and database. Your people get the flexibility and freedom to have what they need—how, when and where they need it.