Data analytics in human resources

How Tahola can enhance hiring practices in the manufacturing industry

Tahola is an award-winning consultancy offering data strategy, data engineering, data collection, analytics, and financial planning and analysis solutions for predominantly UK-based manufacturers and retailers. Tahola was awarded Growth Partner of the Year 2023 by Jedox, a global market leader in financial planning and analysis software solutions.

How can data analytics in human resources help improve the hiring process?

Hiring is always a major part of any business’s core functions. But because it’s human and can feel slow and procedural, it often isn’t included in any sophisticated business modelling or forecasting – at least not in relation to modelling, scenario analysis or forecasting of company success vs. targets.

This creates a major risk – that the HR department becomes a bottleneck that prevents a business from hitting targets, or a major cash drain at a time when cash would be better spent supporting other drivers of growth.

Data tends to hit HR (and hiring) in these ways:

  • the planning and sequencing of hiring (getting the right volumes of new talent in the company in time to impact production)
  • the success/failure of Onboarding (ensuring that new talent stays long enough to be of economic value) – e.g through ensuring that teams have the right balance of experienced and new hires
  • the deployment of training and development budgets (inability to apply the pareto principle and focus the training budget on the 20% of people and skills which would produce the largest ROI)
  • keeping production lines at max capacity – planning to ensure that the correct blend of machine operators, technical experts, qualified tradespeople etc are available on the right machines to ensure that production can happen at max capacity
  • certification, compliance and safety – ensuring that inexperienced or partially certified workers are not placed on machines they are not legally able to operate, and that all the certifications for (say) qualified electricians don’t all expire on December 31st leaving a plant with no one legally able to maintain electrical systems.

If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it is a lot! Typical Human Resources (HR) systems can’t deliver this level of robust information and business confidence.

But a new wave of tech solutions can solve this.

That’s why we chose to partner with Jedox, which we consider to be the world’s most adaptable planning platform. Our Jedox deployments allow our customers to build cross-functional integrated plans. This is a new planning capability, known as xP&A (“extended Planning and Analysis”). This is the software solution that people with the words “Financial Planning & Analysis” in their job title have been crying out for.

Jedox can connect to, absorb, and use data from any/every operational platform in order to produce vastly superior modelling for the company. Jedox pulls all this operational data into a simple modelling environment that looks and feels like Excel but is vastly more powerful.

It easily allows analysts to compare inputs (including new hires) to the desired outputs – and to create a critical path or sequence that allows hiring teams to know when to begin recruiting and to flag early on if they are falling behind.

xP&A solutions allow modelling to be done either bottom up (tweaking the lowest level drivers in the business, such as labour hours, and analysing the impact on output), or top down (starting with desired sales or other strategic metric, and mapping the implications on all other departmental plans), or via Artificial Intelligence (using access to raw data to spot patterns and identify bottlenecks that most humans would not see).

They also allow other external issues – like a sudden change in exchange rates, commodity prices, or similar, to be modelled to determine a company’s sensitivity to external shock, and to test different solutions for increasing resilience. Maybe, for instance, hiring two extra electricians per plant would allow a company to keep producing despite a summer heatwave that leads to increased absence through illness.

Understanding the people you work with through Data Analytics In Human Resources will help you all grow together. Find out more Data Analytics For HR.

How should manufacturers use data to optimise their recruitment efforts?

Most companies do not realise how valuable their data is, even 20+ years into the information age. Typically, we still find most of our clients have data from different operational units sitting in silos – with no one capable of seeing the ‘big picture’ across the whole business.

Our tips to solve this begin with internal mapping exercises and a commitment to collecting and storing raw data. After this is done, a range of sophisticated software tools (AI, xP&A) can be applied that ‘superpower’ managers in HR and in central planning functions such that hiring is tied into cross-departmental models that show exactly what hiring is needed, when, and how success/failure/delay will impact on a company’s ability to deliver targets.

We recommend all HR professionals to build a paper (or whiteboard) model of their long term HR needs, to map productivity and output against them, and to identify bottlenecks or points of scarcity.

We recommend investing in HR specialist technology platforms to aid in the sequencing of hiring and the successful onboarding of new employees. Best is these have the ability to compare teams or locations – so that best practices in site A can be identified and copied in site B.

We also recommend storing as much raw data as possible, as this can either power AI/Big Data pattern recognition for actionable insights now or in the future including people analytics, predictive analytics, talent analytics and workforce analytics.

But most importantly, we recommend using an xP&A platform to allow for easy forecasting and planning that takes into accounts the mutual dependencies across departmental boundaries, empowering human resources management teams to make correct, data-led decisions in a timely manner.

By analysing key metrics, organisations can identify areas for improvement and take proactive measures to create a positive work environment.

How can smaller firms with smaller budgets and teams take advantage of data to aid their recruitment strategies?

Smaller firms should also start with the whiteboard/paper exercise mapping inputs to outputs and identifying potential bottlenecks. They should also calculate and obsess over the key ratios of employment types to output that will drive business success – for every $1m of planned incremental revenue, how many new hires are needed? And for every 100 shop floor workers, how many managers, senior managers, and forklift drivers (etc) are needed?

Most important is the strategic decision to invest in data capture, storage and ideally creating a single set of dashboards. Good dashboards allow the data to be visualised, interrogated and actioned. It needn’t cost the earth – there are lower cost tech solutions than Jedox or other Enterprise-level xP&A solutions. (We typically recommend Qlik over Power BI as Qlik has a kind of internal data-warehouse and, we find, produces more powerful and user-friendly dashboards without the extended planning capabilities).

Tahola’s comprehensive HR metrics analytics provides valuable insights into employee turnover, and employee engagement. By harnessing the power of data, Tahola enables HR professionals to make informed decisions and implement effective strategies to improve retention rates. Tahola’s analytics in HR empowers businesses to optimise their human resources, enhancing overall performance and cultivating a culture of success.

If you have any further questions regarding Data Analytics In Human Resources, contact Sales & Enquiries on 01442 211122 or email