Historically Human Resources (HR) has had limited opportunity to set the people management agenda. It is a function that has primarily prospered when the economy, or an industry sector is booming and obtaining and attracting staff is a priority. HR’s subsequent value often regresses in economic downturns, when labor becomes more abundant.
The modern-day example is the growth in the technology sector, and its requirements for talent.
“Tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple are now on the front lines of HR innovation, largely because they have an acute need for specialized talent. Human capital is practically their only major asset; talent is in short supply; and competitors are eager to lure employees away”. HBR
HR’s historical fluctuating value, has an opportunity to reposition itself, as a critical strategic function with the ongoing development of People Analytics. This methodology has primarily evolved along with the rise of the Tech industry.
People Analytics use algorithms and tools to identify and analyze hard objective data. These tools are used to help make many decisions including, recruitment, management and retention of employees. The methodology is gaining momentum.
In 2015 People Analytics was worth 440 million dollars and in 2022 it is expected to be worth 1.3 Billion dollars.
In 2015 approximately 70% of CV’s were sorted by algorithms without any human contact.
If used effectively People Analytics can assist HR departments to set a proactive strategic people agenda. Instead of HR being reliant on the whims of individuals, economic conditions or dismissed as illegitimate because it is only the “soft and fluffy stuff”; it can access objective analysis.
People Analytics however is not the holy grail and needs to be put into context. It is a methodology that is based on big data and algorithms which are often dependent on the skill of human programmers. It is evolving.
Technological advances are very alluring and are integral to life in the 21st century. There is a danger that organizations may become so infatuated, by the many time saving and innovative possibilities, that analytics can provide, that people just become an equation on a dashboard. The antithesis of HR.
This possibility must not be underestimated. There are already suggestions that the new C-Suite role will be The Director of Analytics of which People analytics could be a subset.
As a part of my business, I work with organizations to help create and implement 21st century HR strategies. People Analytics is a necessary part of that strategy for the modern organization. As a part of exploring HR technology, the following principles are challenged and explored:
High Tech and High Touch.
Is a HR strategy that integrates and communicates a High tech and High touch approach useful in achieving organisational objectives?
The concept of High Tech High Tough is not new. John Naisbitt first outlined it in his best-selling book Megatrends in 1982. He theorized that in a world of technology, people long for personal, human contact.
In 2017 the concept of High Tech High Touch is even more relevant for some who believe it is important to blend and develop both algorithms with expert judgements.
Companies who have already have embraced the concept of people Analytics have encountered opposition to people analytics because:
- People are often reluctant to believe the judgements of computers about themselves. They also feel powerless to challenge an algorithm.
- Managers become so reliant on the data they are not developing the people skills required to manage people.
- The purpose of data collection and analysis has not been transparent, causing suspicion about its use.
If the principle does apply for your organisation, the question then is, how may it be applied to add the most value?
Not everything that can be measured matters.
If this principle is relevant, what are the key measures that matter?
Companies that have already embraced this concept:
- Realise measuring what matters, rather measuring everything is much more productive.
- The key to embracing employee analytics is to clearly articulate what the problem or opportunity is before embracing on data collection and analysis.
- There is so much data available including traditional data, Biometric data, social data, surveillance data and predicative data that it can swamp departments and little is achieved.
- Employing skilled analytic practitioners can short circuit potential mistakes.
The question that is equally important is what are the measures that do not matter?
Has HR access to the appropriate resources to maximize the use of analytics?
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