What’s behind the rise of the head of people analytics?

As CEOs want richer information about human capital and as organisations seek to make sense of an abundance of data through analytics tools, the head of people analytics is emerging as an important executive role, according to a global executive search firm.

“With the richness of data available to organisations and HRDs, CEOs around the globe want deeper and more meaningful information about their most valuable asset, their human capital,” said Jason Johnson, CTPartners’ managing partner, Asia Pacific.

“HRDs are increasingly looking to a head of people analytics to be able to harness data to measure performance on employee engagement, development, recruitment, retention, work efficiency, compensation matters, and return on investment in talent.”

CTPartners also said the role of chief human resources officer (CHRO) is increasingly important as CEOs are looking for much more out of their HR leader and from a global perspective.

“In the post-GFC environment, the HRD role lost some prominence as talent issues slipped down the agenda,” said Johnson.

“However as the global economy recovers, the war for talent is re-emerging as an issue.

“The HRD of today will have to grapple again with the mega-trends of shifting demographics, which will fundamentally reshape the talent pools.”
In the ever-broadening role of CHRO, he said an increasingly important responsibility is that of serving as a reliable sounding-board and counsellor to the CEO, or “the CEO’s consigliere, if you will.

“This trend is evident globally as today’s fast-paced and complex business environment leads CEOs to seek a trusted strategic partner and confidant who can support the CEO by debating and challenging business decisions and priorities,” said Johnson.

“World-class CHROs will be equally adept in interacting with the C-Suite, the Board of directors, and key managers throughout the organisation.”

A convergence of trends
More broadly, the top factors influencing leadership positions are driven by the ongoing dominance of big data in business, the technological advances in security and risk and the increased rigour demanded globally for corporate governance.

“We are seeing a proliferation of executive-level roles borne out of the global influence of big data,” said Johnson.

“Businesses are looking for leaders who can not only understand the massive amounts of information available to them but also identify the threats and opportunities that come as a result of this evolving landscape.”

Overall, he said the market remains highly competitive for top talent and certain hot jobs are seeing unprecedented demand.

Further, the pipeline for IPOs is relatively strong and is expected to increase further in Australia.

“This means that newly-public companies will need to develop a range of management and leadership positions to grow and compete successfully,” he said.

CTPartners CEO Brian Sullivan said the impact of tools such as data analytics helping companies to work in smarter and more efficient ways to serve their customers and build growth.

“We also see the responsiveness and resilience of business leaders and companies that are committed to seizing marketplace opportunities as they arise,” he said.

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