A Case for Six Sigma and Analytics in HR

Posted by Pallas Athena Elacio on Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mention Six Sigma and words such as, quality, cleanliness, perfection, robust, repeatable, mechanical come to mind. And much as it has become a “go to” tool for improvement in almost several departments such as Finance and Manufacturing, seldom has it been practiced in HR. The connotation is because HR involves non-tangible elements such as Communication, Employee Relations, Succession Planning, Hiring and Conflict Management  that at first glance do not seem to directly relate to metrics  that can indicate progress. Some people in the industry will resist trying to incorporate this strategy with the premise that employee management is a myriad of emotions and feelings better left untouched by anything that deals with numbers.

With the advent of HR Analytics, this premise will soon be fully gone. HR Analytics allows us to produce data that can be analyzed and ultimately transformed into HR Focused Six Sigma Projects. If we dwell into the different phases of Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control), we will see that data collected from the HR Department makes it easy to develop improvement projects.


Let us say, we want to increase Employee Retention. We can define that as the project’s goal and looking into our data, we will be able to measure employee retention by the number of employees that leaves the company within a year. Analyzing the data, we will probably come to some sort of conclusion of what is the biggest contributor to the exodus. This area can then be improved and we can control the improvement from month to month by addressing the problematic area and note its correlation with Employee Retention Rate.

In summary, Six Sigma is an improvement tool and a simplified Project Management approach using the 5 different steps of DMAIC that can be adapted to the HR setting for process improvement. It is truly beneficial for an HR practitioner to explore this further .

Pallas Athena Austria is a certified Project Management Professional that worked for an HR and Payroll  IT Solutions Provider. She has later on practiced project management in other industries including Manufacturing and Software and is currently active in the Business Process Services work arena.


Tags: six sigma  analytics  hr 
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