Numbers and I have never been real friends. This is especially true if I must add, subtract, divide, multiply, take their square root, or label geometric shapes with them. My head is spinning already! However, now numbers in the form of big data and analytics are all the rage. Are these the latest business buzz words or is there any real substance to data?
Data is an important measurement tool. Analyzing that data is where the real power comes in. We all know from statistics class that groups can manipulate data to support their own agendas. Errors in collecting data, prevent achieving true measurements – regardless of how much analyzing you do. The point is that the data must be reliable, and collecting it must be accurate, and consistent. Managing data efficiently and accurately is also essential to the process and the results. The next big question is, how can data help in measuring the human aspect of business, giving organizations a competitive edge, find solutions to strategic challenges, be more productive, and profitable? A tall order indeed. Here is how human analytics can help in several areas.
Turnover: Your organization no doubt already has some data on retention, or the lack thereof. Therefore, you can analyze how many people come in and how many people leave. But do you analyze the data to see if there is a heavy exit after one year of employment? If there is, this could be a sign that there are issues with the culture. This requires immediate attention and organizational change efforts. Do specific ethnicities leave during a certain part of the year to go back to their native lands to be with the family for an important holiday or religious celebration? Before hand, have a frank discussion and work out some type of leave so that they know they can come back to their jobs. Analyzing the data can help predict the times when the workforce may be lighter than normal. If this occurs during peak business times, you can plan to hire part-time people and keep customer service at quality levels. Lower turnover leads to higher profitability.
Management: Assessments are great for hiring and if you use them, good for you! However, assessments can go far beyond just determining if a person is a good fit for a job. Putting these assessments in someone’s HR file and forgetting about it is a huge waste of resources. While assessments are confidential, the individual’s manager needs to have access to the assessments of direct reports. Having the human analytics, a good assessment can provide, can be a powerful tool in managing every team member to their full potential. Assessments can also help a first-time manager get on track quicker and provide management acumen that will last throughout a career. Ensure that your managers, both new and seasoned, understand how to interpret and use the data from assessments as well as how to coach using them.
Succession Planning: Every organization needs a strong bench to draw upon for future leadership. In examining the HR analytics, if you determine that people with a certain skill set or background fail to step up to the plate to take on leadership roles or who fail at leadership if they do step up to the plate, that’s a clue that something is amiss. Perhaps a benchmark is in order for your leadership positions, better job matching could be the solution, or people who have no aspiration or skill set for leadership are finding their way into your organization. Collect and analyze the data to determine the issue.
Competencies: The previous paragraph looks at leadership competencies. However, competencies in general are important at every level throughout your organization. When conducting strategic planning, analyze the plan and collect data on the competencies the organization will be needing to implement the plan. Compiling data those competencies can put you, your team, and organization ahead of the game in terms of putting people where the organization needs to be for now and the future.
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