Friday, December 5, 2014

Workforce Analytics

Humans are the complex asset, you need to understand them as a WHOLE person, not just the pieces of data.

Every organization spends a lot of effort explaining that people are their most important asset, but they have great difficulty in proving it. Links between people, culture, leadership, engagement, revenue, and profit are rarely able to be measured in-house and regularly enough to make a difference. So what is the next stage of talent analytics, how can it improve digital HR maturity?

Today's software progressions have made it easier to collect and analyze data: HR should be leaping at the opportunity to use this intelligently to guide tactics and strategy that help shape the fundamentals of business. From an HR leadership perspective, HR analytics is a way for HR to regain relevance lost in the last decade and introduce tools that can bring new power to HR. So sure, it makes sense to HR leadership, in an era in which HR function and even credibility has changed and even diminished, but will increase HR analytics truly benefit an organization or its employees? You need to build a solid talent/performance management strategy and practices. Analytics is new and it's trendy, but as with everything new, the implementation should be evaluated and fitted around the culture, and the business. There is as much evidence that a reduction in HR authority and HR analytics can also bring about positive performance and productivity changes. Look at the number of companies that have discontinued the use of the traditional performance review or those who have completely re-engineered the process to again, be more humane and more useful to all concerned.

Analytic talent management is the future of HR: HR teams face in the 21st century and that is you can no longer create positive change without any certainty if business intelligence is missing. HRDs have for a long time complained that they don't get the same voice at the table as the CFO, CIO or Director of Sales, all of whom come armed with data that informs and interacts with many parts of the organization and the customer. HR has long been assigned to poor metrics off the back of payroll data and is not often helped by the lack of CAPEX spent on HR systems to get good data, let alone anything that shows a direct business impact. As workforce challenges grow more complex, quantitative and objective approaches will be needed to address the increasingly difficult people related questions central to an organization's success. Organizations need to know that they can draw value from small amounts of data. It is not necessary to overhaul your entire HR systems.

HR analytics is no longer 'nice to have,' but 'must have':
The analytics brings important indicators on how HR and organization should focus and invest in human capital and organization efforts on people. In HR, you need to make this activity as HR's routine work and spent a lot of efforts. So related technology development and investment are necessary to improve analytics efficiency. But, on another hand, there's still a journey on transferring the value of HR analytics to organization success because of below reasons:

1) Organizations can benefit from talent analytics maximally only when it can self-evaluate their improvement actions based on HR analytics consistently. It means that whether the organization has a mechanism for evaluating its improvements upon HR analytics periodically is critical. If not, the analytics might stay in indicators only. Or the organization is somewhat sightless on its investment/efforts on HR analytics.

2) Organizations should not only take HR analytics as a medicine for certain illness (problem). Consider or take it seriously only when there's a problem. Or only apply it to solve the problem in a certain area. To reach 100% of the organizational goals through the efforts of all employees, the management have to create very good/congenial atmosphere with their good policies/incentives to employees and see that all employees will feel that the organization belongs to them and the organization will look after in their personal crisis Then they will contribute their might to the industry fully and in turn the organization, as well as the employees, will be proceeding in flourishing path always.

Focus on talent empowerment, not just “data boom: ”Measure everything" companies run the risk of demotivating their employees. Taken to an extreme, analytics can dehumanize the workplace and cause top performers to grow weary of the need to conform to myriad new standards based on HR analytics, and ultimately they will seek their fortunes elsewhere. Yes, there are all kinds of data - from observations, surveys, focus groups, field studies, document or software use analysis, etc. Qualitative and quantitative. Otherwise, how should one make decisions? Based on intuition, feelings or by imitating the decisions of the counterparts? However, the "amputated" data only on HR results, gaps, and advantages without the context of the whole organization as well as systems surrounding that organization has very little meaning. If you desire to make long term and high impact HR decisions you better be seeing the whole picture. However, many companies are having trouble in collecting data on their HR needs and advantages. They lack not only technical skill or investment but more often they lack knowledge of what and why to observe. Moreover, some companies see data gathering and analysis as some kind of fashion which needs to be followed for no practical reason. Only very little number analyze their needs and advantages on a regular basis. HRs now realize they came up short on the human factor, not just the data. Now you are short on the human factor and too heavy on data because that gives Corporation Management a safety zone to work in that they understand: Data. If you can "prove" your proposals or analysis with statistics, then there must be validity in that. There is validity to some extent- in all that you do to create a working, productive, competent, loyal workforce. But if we are headed for the "Data Boom" we are headed in the wrong direction.

Assess HR analytics by questioning: Before you determine that HR Analytics has reached "must-have" status, you need to consider each organization independently and determine how implementation will impact workforce TRUST relationship. Ask challenging questions for any set of data that would be tracked or counted:

a) Is the metric relevant to the organization's definition of success or failure? If there is not a clear primary alignment to what the company defines as a success for the individual, business unit, and the whole of the company, then it's more distraction and fodder for manipulation. These measures should be re-evaluated periodically to ascertain whether they remain relevant. Too frequently one sees a legacy of data collection and tracking that is no longer explainable as far as purpose.
b) Does your organization routinely re-evaluate the results of their assumptions based on the results of prior periods of evaluation? In essence, has there been a correlation that has proven that the identified uses of the data assumptions yield success? If there is no validation that your action plans derived off 'what the metrics are telling us that you really don't know if you are driving success.
If you're not actively engaged in these two considerations it's likely that your organization is wasting more energy collecting data than it should. It's reducing productivity, creating environments where 'metric paper success' is often rewarded or given accolades when it may not even be deserving of them.

Humans are a complex asset, you need to understand them as a WHOLE person, not just the pieces of data. That you can measure, you can manage, and what you can manage you can exercise some control over. As part of the tools of the trade to give indications of potential problems, Analytics is great. However, when HR makes analytics the end, not the means to the end, then HR is losing the plot. Humans are complex resources and HR need to understand that they need to know the whole person and all of the people. What motivates, stimulates and drives each one to be a better contributor to the organization. When they get the wrong idea of the measures as a means to detect areas to work on, and instead use them to beat up on people for poor performance, they are the ones that are the problem. By their actions, they show they do not have a clue what their role is. HR should stand for HOW we REMOVE all obstacles from staff so that all they need to concentrate on is performing their duties. A labor of love for a good HR person, too much trouble for poor HR practitioners.

Data is difficult to obtain, the task is time-consuming because HR professionals are notoriously non-technical, and talent analytics hasn’t reached its high maturity yet, there’re still many challenges on the way, The power of workforce analytics lies in its ability to challenge conventional wisdom, influence behavior, and ultimately impact business outcomes for long term.


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