Gerhard Hartman
Gerhard Hartman

Tech-savvy HR managers can attract, retain and engage the best minds

By Gerhard Hartman Time of article published Dec 25, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG - Do you know where your best hires come from?  Do you know what those people have in common, and what drives and motivates them to perform at their peak?  Do you know what skills your business needs today – and in future – to meet growth forecasts?

The answers to these questions used to be based mostly on guesswork and gut feel. But that’s not going to cut it anymore. Not when there’s a global talent war, and not when businesses need to make strategic changes to overcome the engagement crisis.

Sage’s Becoming a People Company research found that only one in three (29%) employees are fully engaged at work. That’s because they’re not getting what they want out of their jobs, and that’s to feel appreciated, to have flexibility, and to feel like they’re doing purposeful work.

Businesses already have the data they need to become ‘People Companies’. Ones that treat their people as their most valuable asset and understand that business success depends on workforce success. They just need to add technology that can turn all that information into usable insights.

Insight void

With access to more employee data than ever before, and without the burden of repetitive administrative tasks, thanks to AI and automation, HR has never been in a better position to use its people information to improve employee experiences, attract the best talent, and position the business as an employer of choice.

Yet, while 83% of HR leaders believe that data should drive all people decisions, only 37% actually use data analytics to do this, and 92% of companies are struggling to get the strategic people insight they need.

The reality is, they have to get it right. Automation and data analytics are driving massive change in HR. With the ability to automate most HR functions, and with the availability of digital channels for employee self-service, recruitment and personal development, HR departments can transform from administrative hubs into senior business partners.

This results in:

  • Better employee engagement and satisfaction – Using actionable insight to boost individual motivation and engagement, and personalise the employee value proposition.
  • Higher team retention – By understanding why team members churn and when it’s likely to happen.
  • More effective training and development – Identifying skills gaps and measuring the effectiveness of training initiatives.
  • More successful talent acquisition – Knowing where the best hires come from and how to avoid bad ones.
  • Better performance management – Knowing who’s performing well and who needs assistance or skills development.

A successful HR analytics implementation needs to be built on a robust HR management system, if HR is to embrace people analytics and digital technology to transform operations.


To be successful, HR departments need to start thinking about the skills and platforms they need for the future. They’ll need to understand what systems they should implement to become a People Company and how to become more data driven.

They also need to find the right talent and skills to support these efforts. This means that not only will HR managers need to upgrade their own digital skills, but they might also have to employ data scientists to help them understand their data and how they can act on the insights.

Gerhard Hartman is the Vice President of Medium Business at Sage Africa & Middle East


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