HR and BIG DATA: Not Yet, First Things First

HR and BIG DATA: Not Yet, First Things First

SO…“Big Data”… All the rage… Lots written… In all kinds of media… general education, scientific journals, periodicals, soon textbooks. Last week the NY Times devoted an entire subsection of the paper to “Big Data” – called “Sizing up Big Data” ( Thursday June 20, 2013), with case studies from many disciplines including Space, Medicine, Advertising, and yes, (happy to note) Leadership and workforce. Seems “Big Data” is the newest and hottest buzzword around. No longer are Neuroscientists the rage, now every fresh minted college grad and dreamy entrepreneur wants in as a “Data Scientist” – a most popular job description. Big Data is very big...

Full Circle 360 Feedback in Talent Management

Full Circle 360 Feedback in Talent Management

I think the following is a proven and reasonable effective approach. Begin with the identification of desired metrics, display the selected metrics graphically as dashboards, and include the calculation and display of future trends.  Base this future on a simple modeling techniques such as a regression analysis which is based on 1000 percent proven accurate data points maintained in any HRIS.  The chosen metric must be in clear and direct alignment or in support of the larger corporate “mission’/”vision” or strategy. The metric should reflect “the business” as well as HR/Workforce characteristics.  One example: a metric showing predicted turnover in a specific job title within a specific region for people in a specific function. The display on a “dashboard” itself must be intrinsically understood and itself tailorable to the executive’s wants. An effective Regression Analysis resulting in a future value may prove more worthwhile than deep dive analytics from a data scientist mining hundreds of data points. A thoughtful Talent Management initiative using multiple components including 360 feedback, surveys, peer review, change management, with strong executive sponsorship, all aligned with the company’s overarching mission and vision should be sufficient to continue to prove and justify the role of HR as a strategic business partner adding quantifiable value to the enterprise.  This has been the case for almost decades now, with strong support from the vendors providing best practices and workflow in their basic deliverables and functional modules. Let HR first mine the power of these TM programs and existing HR Technology in support of them, before tackling the new dimensions offered by BIG Data. Big Data certainly will prove to be valuable and worthwhile. But HR is not ready to grasp it. And besides, when has HR been an early adapter of anything?...

Is Anyone Particularly Good at Hiring?

Is Anyone Particularly Good at Hiring?

The popular media and now industry journals (of all types) extolling the virtues of BIG DATA and the resulting analytics solving many of the world’s problems (?) are maybe making HR executives take not of, if not become  enamored with this “hot” new concept.  Thus, they are raising the expectations of their gaining immediate and long lasting analytically based support to business decisions, hoping to again prove HR’s ever increasing value. Is this possible? I believe it will be. But not yet. It is too soon for HR to embrace the concept of “Big Data”.  Big Data analytics as defined in the NY Times article (June 20) is a shorthand label for “data scientists” who mine data to derive actionable decisions in science, politics, crime prevention, public health sport and most industries.  The decisions would be based on the findings by these data scientists who have accomplished unheard of in-depth levels of “slicing and dicing data points – seeking truth in forecasting behaviors, trends, tendencies, sentiment and predicting thoughts and choices – by consumers. Seemingly to an already remarkable success. Except in the more nebulas areas of “Leadership/ Management style and other executive competences and decision making. At least so far. Has “Big Data” analytics been able to predict the success of a particular employee in “leadership’ as that employee is hired into or is promoted into a leadership or managerial position, from one that is not? According to Mr. Lazlo Cock,  Senior VP of People Operations at Google, “Not so much” . He mentions a study within Google that tried to determine if anyone was particularly good at hiring. Looking at over 10,000 interviews and everyone who had done the interviews and what they scored the candidates and then how that person ultimately performed in the job – “we found zero relatively” – “it’s a complete random mess” Bock believes an intrinsic barrier to these types of analytic attempts to capture future leadership and management success is due to the ambiguous nature of what “leadership” is. He does however, believe “behavioral interview techniques” do work. Peer feedback works hand in hand with attempting to quantify leadership qualities.  Bock goes on to say that GPAs and test scores are worthless for hiring.  He states that at Google, after a few years “your ability to perform is unrelated to how you performed at school, because the skills you required in college are very different. You’re fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently”.. So if Big Data – the pure analytics and logarithms developed by data scientists seems suspect (or shaky) in the core aspect of TM, (that of talent identification (leadership identification and development), then what can HR realistically do today? And how can they leverage the tools now made available by HR technology purveyors? Tools such as Business Analytics (Cognos reporting and the like) that have been around for almost a...

Good & Poor Alike: Indicators of Future Career Success

Good & Poor Alike: Indicators of Future Career Success

SO…Talent Management starts at the very point of initial contact by a person seeking a position in any company. For decades (if not centuries?), some kind of resume /CV is submitted and the process begins. But now, things are very different! To an ever increasing number of “leading edge” recruiters and supporters of analytics as predictive tools, Resumes etc. are considered ‘useless” and poor indicators of future success. Interestingly, just a few weeks ago, the esteemed columnist Thomas A Friedman, writing in the NY Times devoted a column to how companies and candidates have difficulty connecting while doing a “job search” (NYT – May 29).  According to Friedman, and he quotes Harvard Education expert Tony Wagner, “the world doesn’t care anymore what you know, all it cares about  is “what you can do with what you know”.  The key to getting that new job is to explain how you “add value “ with what you know.  The connection between an applicants’ “paper” and his/her future success in any organization is “broken”. “Broken” on “both sides”,  according to Elenora Sharef – CoFounder of HireArt. “Many applicants do not have the skills that employers are seeking and don’t know how to get them. But employers also don’t want to train you. They expect you to be overqualified” In effect, too many of the new economy’s skills needed in the workplace today are not being taught by colleges”. Friedman imparts this important comment from Ms. Sharef – “People get rejected for jobs for 2 main reasons. One, your not showing the employer how you will help the company add value, and two, you don’t know what you want and therefore cannot sell yourself in ways that your value add becomes evident to the potential employer. For today’s HR executive, this is a critical conundrum.  How to manage an WFM program, or an TM initiative, or an HCM approach if the underlying data is misdirected or mis-understood or uninformative or even unattainable?  And yet, most seeing all the uproar about Big Data, believe it must be the way to proceed. What of “Big Data”? Is HR ready to understand what it is? And is HR in a position to use the analytics to make value added decisions?  What should  HR first focus on? What function within HR’s purview had the potential to be analytical enough, with sufficient data fields to be mined (by the aforementioned “Data Scientists) that can result in improved decisions? The logical application must be the obvious one, that of Talent Management.  But how many HR professionals can even state with clarity the metrics they need and how they might utilize the metrics they might be given by these data scientists. Does the corporation have the underlying technology to provide them this type of data mining?...

Is HR Ready for a Strong Commitment?

Is HR Ready for a Strong Commitment?

Got me thinking….about the impact and need for Big Data within my industry- HR and HR’s utilization of Technology.  I was wondering if HR was ready for a strong commitment to usbig data analytics NOWe , and how they would apply it to the things that HR must deliver to add value to an organizations strategy and thus contribute to the overall success of the enterprise. It seems to me that the obvious and most needed use of data analytics in HR is related to the overall realm of Talent Management. What exactly is TM? To start with literally 100s of HRT vendors are now offering TM Software Solutions, as well as the consulting houses (boutique and Global), and various flavors of Project management and Implementers. They  are all positioning themselves as purveyors of Talent Management solutions, some procedural, some program oriented, some others technological data capture and analysis oriented..  Their target audience is any organization, located anywhere, of any size who wants to instill the Talent Management or Workforce Management or Human Capital Management procedures, policies, applications (and yes, mindset) among its workforce..   For purposes of this discussion, TM is mostly an interchangeable term with Workforce Management, which in itself has a wide and flexible series of interchangeable and overlapping components. These components would include: Applicant Processing/ Recruiting Performance Management Succession planning Skill and Competency analysis/Gap Analysis Workforce Scheduling/Time tracking Education and Training administration and tracking Learning Management All this to what end? Why to fulfill the classical directive and adage – “to attract, and retain the right person in the right job at the right...