Analytics, Social Collaboration Key to HR Portal Success

But within a few years, the term “portal” came with limitations. Organizations learned that providing an online format to read static text was of little help in achieving business goals. Many organizations now have portals as “information wastelands” — archeological archives of everyone’s ideas from years gone by that hold little value today.

As organizations work to fill skill gaps, talent leaders must go back to the HR portal drawing board. By retooling HR portals with workforce analytics to become social engagement engines, talent managers can better leverage data they already have to achieve business goals.
An HR portal that integrates core talent management functions with analytics and workforce planning gives answers to trends occurring in different parts of the business. Analytics can help HR and executive teams find answers to questions including:

• What departments are experiencing increases in voluntary turnover or absence rates?
• What segments show the greatest aging workforce risk, and is there successor coverage in place?
• Is the internal hire rate higher in one region than another? Do those patterns correlate with retention rates?

Having that data empowers HR and company finance leaders to assess why certain workforce trends are occurring and helps determine whether they are improving or hurting organizational profitability and performance. It also saves time gathering data manually, calculating individual metrics, checking accuracy and crafting individual metrics reports to distribute to company leaders.

Embedding social technology is another critical component in future HR portals. Ventana Research’s 2012 benchmark study on social collaboration and human capital management, “The Business Case for Unified Talent Management,” found that fostering knowledge sharing (cited by 49 percent), collaboration (37 percent) and learning (34 percent) are the talent management areas where companies look to social collaboration software and services to create an impact in the workplace.

Social collaboration is important largely because Generation X and Y demand that their relationship with HR and their colleagues be organic and evolve at the pace of the community they serve.

When selecting and deploying an HR portal with analytics and social collaboration functionality, talent managers should:

Define priority metrics. Organizations should map out a few key business-specific metrics to focus on tracking. For instance, a consumer technology firm might want to measure the number of new launches each employee supports each year. In contrast, a hospitality company might find value in analyzing customer satisfaction rates and the return on investment for development initiatives.

Design a great user experience. People are attracted to user-friendly, intuitive online content.
Find out from different teams what kind of functionality would help their work the most before designing it.

Identify a content base. Determine which members of the organization’s workforce have a knack for writing and blogging, and invite them to write weekly or monthly posts. This will help establish a constantly updated body of content so other employees recognize the social portal as the place to go for interesting news and information.

Focus on integration. Implementing an HR portal to support movement of company and employee information between tools such as performance management systems and compensation systems provides a good foundation upon which to apply analytics.

Jim Bowley leads Peoplefluent’s strategy initiatives. He can be reached at