HR CURATOR ARTICLES
HR Focus on Growth and Profits Not Just Costs Through Workforce Analytics
Ongoing global economic challenges and uncertainties have meant that HR has had to focus on process and cost efficiencies as a business critical priority for some years now. This has meant that ongoing trade-offs between quality and cost have been necessary. Finance and budgeting challenges will always drive such an approach but this is where data based business cases (based on business assumptions and data trends) has never been more important to HR. Without it the focus is on solely reducing cost whereas the focus should also be upon business growth and profitability through people. When cost containment efforts start, the results can be fairly significant but as time passes and the efforts continue the value of the savings start to diminish. Today, cost containment efforts relating to HR are likely to be a small proportion of the overall corporate budget, so the savings are likely to be minimal, whereas any focus on business growth and income has substantially less limitations or restrictions.
On top of this, I believe that the cost focus has resulted in HR downsizing itself to the point where the most useless HR metric ever devised (HR employee to Organisational Employee ratio) has become the "holy grail" when in fact it is totally counterproductive and has resourced HR to the point of being no more than an operational reactive support function! Some form of bandwidth is required if any function is to be innovative and transformational as the future of work is dictating moving forward.
HR seems to be getting the importance of the analytics debate and is rightly focusing on becoming more “data savvy” and using their own data and the business data of the organisation to make connections and predictions about what has and more importantly could happen in their organisation. This is not an easy journey and once your data has been “cleaned” and verified, the initial analysis has been undertaken and the conversations that they instigate have been had etc. this can take weeks, maybe months to make sense of what is happening. From there (the easy bit!) comes the embedding of the learning, the process and the methodology into the organisation so that a “rhythm of data” can occur. This assumes of course that the culture of the organisation is accepting of a less intuitive and more data based decision-making style - something that can't always be assumed will be accepted with "open arms".
This of course takes time to get it right and the desire for “Quick Wins” is important to show an early demonstration of value and tangible return from the investment being made both in terms of data analysis and of course the people practices themselves that are being diagnosed in terms of “value add”. “Quick Wins” also then raises the question of what’s next? This accepts that there is still a long way to go with the analytics journey but we are always critical of HR not being proactive and showing initiative so for me it’s the right question to at least be thinking about.
For me every support function should ultimately aspire to become a profit centre in their own right. Historically most people in HR seem to have accepted that their function isn’t capable of generating a profit and is therefore doomed to be more operationally focused. I disagree; such a pessimistic view will become a self-fulfilling prophecy for too many organisations. I accept that a lot of the HR functions in existence today are not currently capable of demonstrating a measurable impact on productivity or profitability by design but times are changing with analytics now supporting HR to be able to demonstrate the economic value of it programs and practices.
Looking to the future of HR then, the drive to demonstrate business impact of everything that HR does is crucial whether it revolves around:
- Showing a direct correlation between the improved business outcomes (sales, process efficiency) from an employee program.
- The linkage between a particular process or method (such as recruitment for example) and its’ impact upon productivity, revenue or profit.
- Pre and post measurement of employee performance/outputs prior to an employee program implementation.
- Demonstrating the business impact that a program can have on a ‘control’ group over another group within a business function.
- Predicting the success that could occur if a particular business case or approach is adopted (e.g.: focusing on outlier's high levels of performance as the new normal rather than accepting competence as the standard).
The impact of an analytics approach to HR is that instead of focusing on the justification of their existence the focus can now be on reflecting back to the organisation (using their business language not HR’s) the tangible impact and value that our HR programs can provide to an organisation. With that mind-set that means that we can now think about being a profit centre not a cost centre because we are ‘on the front foot’ and talking about growth, profitability, productivity not about HR process efficiency and HR to employee ratio (as I said earlier the most meaningless metric ever invented).
Executives are relentless when it comes to business performance and the accountability that they expect from all of their direct reports. The shift to a profit centre mentality starts with the HR function focusing on:
- Those aspects that the CEO and their top team get measured upon and focusing on providing data based insights and more importantly growth related data based upon HR interventions and programs.
- Closely collaborating with the finance and marketing functions so that their business data and numerical expertise can be utilised to build tangible business insights that ‘raise the bar’ for HR’s performance levels (income targets not process completion or project completion targets for example!).
- Think business outcomes at all times not HR related outcomes that focus firstly on growth/income and secondly on cost savings where feasible.
Analytics is shifting the expectations of HR and their internal clients but we need to be thinking of ‘what’s next’ and for me the ultimate outcome of an analytics approach to HR is not that we are more numerate but that we become a profit centre in our own right not just a cost centre.
Analytics are not the end game; they are the enabler to an HR function that can demonstrate business Credibility, a Commercial mind-set, a developing Capability to improve underpinned by a function that has the Courage and Confidence to make the changes in approach that are necessary though a more collaborative Connected approach to work (I call these the 6 C's).
That is the opportunity that exists for our profession - we can and must do it!
HR CURATOR ARTICLES
15 HR And People Analytics Experts To Follow For 2017
It’s hard to believe, but 2016 is almost at an end. This past year was a big one for analytics and data in HR. From numerous studies showing the use of HR analytics on the rise, to whole conferences being devoted to the subject, 2016 was certainly the year of HR and people analytics.
This only makes the anticipation for 2017 that much higher. That being said, how can you begin the New Year off on a high note when it comes to analytics in your HR team? Our recommendation is to start by becoming familiar with and following these 15 HR and people analytics experts:
David Green (@david_green_uk) – Global Director, People Analytics Solutions at IBM Kenexa Smarter Workforce.
Andrew Spence (@AndySpence) – Founder of Glass Bead Consulting.
Patrick Coolen (@PatrickCoolen) – Manager HR Metrics & Analytics at ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
iNostix by Deloitte (@iNostix) – Team of market leading predictive HR analytics experts founded by Luk Smeyers and Dr. Jeroen Delmotte.
Greta Roberts (@gretaroberts) – Co-Founder & CEO of Talent Analytics, Corp.
Talent Analytics (@TalentAnalytics) – Industry leader in predictive workforce analytics.
Evan Sinar, PhD (@EvanSinar) – Chief Scientist and Vice President at Development Dimensions International.
Dave Millner/HR Curator (@HRCurator) – Executive Consulting Partner, IBM Workforce Science.
Richard Rosenow (@RichardRosenow) – Human Resources Management Associate – HR Advisor North American Retail at Citibank.
Jonathan Ferrar (@jaferrar) – Consultant, speaker, and author in HR Strategy, Workforce Analytics and the Future of Work.
Max Blumberg (@Max_Blumberg) – Founder of Blumberg Partnerships Ltd. and Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Michael M. Moon, PhD (@mikemmoon) – Talent Management and Analytics Consultant, and CEO & Principal Analyst of ExcelHRate Research and Advisory Services.
Alec Levenson (@alec_levenson) – Economist/Senior Research Scientist at Center for Effective Organizations (CEO), University of Southern California.
Morten Kamp Andersen (@MortenKamp) – Partner at proacteur & Human Capital Consultant.
Tracey Smith (@NInsights) – President at Numerical Insights LLC.
Analytics in HR (@AnalyticsinHR) – An online community of HR analytics experts, beginners and enthusiast.
All of these experts create and share great content, data, studies and so much more about analytics and data in HR. For any team looking to start, adjust, revamp, or just plain improve their analytics strategy, this group of influencers should be a go-to source for knowledge and best practices.
Don’t get left behind on the analytics revolution that is taking place within HR. While the thought of a data-driven organization can be scary, the benefits it can provide can be game changing. When it comes to HR and people analytics, hit the ground running in the New Year.
If there is anyone you think we should add to this list, let us know by tweeting at us (@RecruitDDR). We can grow this list throughout 2017!
HR CURATOR ARTICLES
Who’s Who in People Science
In an increasingly competitive world, people science is revolutionizing the way companies do people and business management. 2016 was an important year as more companies adopted the technology and there is no evidence of this slowing down. Because talent has never been more critical to business performance, people analytics will shift from a “nice to have” to an essential for all HR departments in 2017.
Below are 20 experts in people analytics to watch out for this year.
- Sarah Andresen (@sarahekandresen) – Head of People Science, Sage People
- Jean Martin (@CEB_News) – Talent Solutions Architect at CEB
- Josh Bersin (@Josh_Bersin) – Founder of Bersin by Deloitte
- Madhura Chakrabarti (@Bersin) – People Analytics Research Leader, Bersin by Deloitte
- David Green (@david_green_uk) – Global Director, People Analytics Solutions at IBM Kenexa Smarter Workforce
- Andrew Spence (@AndySpence) – Founder of Glass Bead Consulting
- Patrick Coolen (@PatrickCoolen) – Manager HR Metrics & Analytics at ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
- iNostix by Deloitte (@iNostix) – Team of market leading predictive HR analytics experts founded by Luk Smeyers and Dr. Jeroen Delmotte
- Greta Roberts (@gretaroberts) – Co-Founder & CEO of Talent Analytics, Corp.
- Talent Analytics (@TalentAnalytics) – Industry leader in predictive workforce analytics
- Evan Sinar, PhD (@EvanSinar) – Chief Scientist and Vice President at Development Dimensions International
- Dave Millner/HR Curator (@HRCurator) – Executive Consulting Partner, IBM Workforce Science
- Richard Rosenow (@RichardRosenow) – Human Resources Management Associate – HR Advisor North American Retail at Citibank
- Jonathan Ferrar (@jaferrar) – Consultant, speaker, and author in HR Strategy, Workforce Analytics and the Future of Work
- Max Blumberg (@Max_Blumberg) – Founder of Blumberg Partnerships Ltd. and Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London
- Michael M. Moon, PhD (@mikemmoon) – Talent Management and Analytics Consultant, and CEO & Principal Analyst of ExcelHRate Research and Advisory Services
- Alec Levenson (@alec_levenson) – Economist/Senior Research Scientist at Center for Effective Organizations (CEO), University of Southern California
- Morten Kamp Andersen (@MortenKamp) – Partner at proacteur & Human Capital Consultant
- Tracey Smith (@NInsights) – President at Numerical Insights LLC
- Analytics in HR (@AnalyticsinHR) – An online community of HR analytics experts, beginners and enthusiast
For any teams looking to learn more about people analytics, whether you already have a system and want to improve it or are thinking of implementing one, have a look at what these experts say. This group of influencers are constantly putting out new content and data research to help businesses perform better. To optimize your people management and improve operational and management decisions across your business, refer to the above people, they are the best in the business
HR CURATOR ARTICLES
Come On L&D, Use Analytics To Build Credibility: 8 areas to focus
There seems to be some momentum gathering regarding the role of the learning & development function and what it needs to do to justify its existence. For me the underlying principle must be about how an organization can more clearly connect its business goals and strategy to the learning solutions being offered.
This seems to focus on 8 clear areas, several of which are underpinned by the need for more of an analytic approach:
1. Creating an Aligned Strategy
The first challenge is to determine the strategic focus of the learning function. This will involve the usual strategic issues such as any organization's mission, vision, values and strategic business objectives. It will involve the identification of those stakeholders, audiences and solutions that will determine the scope of the function's activity.
It will entail the alignment of the strategy with the employee life-cycle, the solutions on offer (technology based vs. traditional delivery etc.) and the boundaries of responsibility in terms of ownership regarding the design, delivery and analysis of the business value/outcomes of the learning interventions – this is more than just return on investment (ROI), this is about being supported by analytics that not only build a business case but also help measure the tangible outcomes in monetary terms that learning interventions have made.
2. Establishing the Investment Principles
It is critical that investment principles are transparently established so that leaders, manager and employees clearly understand the methods by which business cases are established and agreed regarding future learning and development investment. It is critical that there is a business impact approach that focuses upon the analysis of the business returns based upon the investment made.
The L&D function must be aligned with other people orientated analytics activity. This means ensuring that there is a measurement mentality in place that measures the original business need, the intervention's effectiveness and the business impact made in conjunction with any process/productivity improvement.
3. Aligning Learning and Development with the Business
It goes without saying that in today's environment it is vital that any new learning should be aligned with the business; previous research has shown that a lack of alignment is the number one reason why learning and development is said to fail.
This is about clear business led prioritization that is aligned with future strategy and more importantly focuses upon a performance analysis approach - replacing the traditional skills assessment. This will ensure that the business owns the solution whilst ensuring that any intervention constantly has the "end in mind" and with something that can clearly demonstrate the business value that is being created.
4. Focus on Improving Individual and Organizational Performance
Performance improvement must be the focus of all interventions (however they are delivered). Performance challenges are not always about learning issues and the whole function must be focused upon solutions that add business value and improvements.
This might be a mind-set change but the dialogue must be about performance, business improvement, productivity, outcomes rather than the more traditional learning, training, capability, skills type language.
The function must show that it can talk and understand the real business issues that exist; it's about aligning expertise with commercial demands – that means talking numbers not content solutions.
5. Designing Effective Delivery Channels
Delivery remains vital and is probably one of the areas that L&D has least to worry about as organizations continue to focus on efficiency and effectiveness. Technology will continue to be a key driver but as always the correct mix of on-demand learning modules with other delivery methods such as traditional facilitator led training will be required.
Cost-effectiveness should not be the only driver. The appropriate mix of on-the-job learning, coaching and mentoring will be key to drive improved job performance and talent development. Again, the analytical based outcomes approach will be crucial to evaluate the effectiveness of any delivery channel. It’s critical that learning transfer occurs though and this also needs to be measured.
6. Learning as a Business
This is a well-used phrase but the reality is that this must become the focus for anyone in the L&D function. Like any other people based function the desire for "value add" will continue to be of prime importance and that means that budgetary control, business case driven solutions and a continual outcomes focus will be needed.
HR has been talking about becoming a profit centre and maybe a shift in thinking by L&D practitioners in line with this, will take the function to this level. The role of line managers and leaders will be key to this so that their emphasis will continue to be on improved performance and outcomes based evidence that backs up any delivered solution. If the clients are truly perceived to be "paying for the services provided" it adds a commercial focus to the whole process. It also means that managers need to be more selective in their use of learning solutions which is no bad thing given the desire for increased on the job coaching and on the job learning.
7. Organizational Talent Growth
The increased need for the L&D function to be aligned and involved in the talent development activity of an organization has been a noticeable trend. The dialogue must shift to another level by supporting the workforce and succession/scenario planning processes by ensuring that the talent pool for both senior and business critical roles become a key focus for a part of the L&D function.
This is about not just growing talent but helping to ensure that the best talent is retained for the future; talent is going to become scarce enough without organizations becoming complacent about the talent they already have!
8. Demonstrating Value Time and Again
A lot of HR functions are on an analytics journey (which we know takes time, focus and effort to build a culture of data and analytical driven decision making) and the L&D function must quickly join that journey to ensure that the focus upon measuring the value added by the function is demonstrated by business outcomes not just data regarding hours, programs, projects, people and processes.
It’s about showing what intervention adds the greatest value in terms of outlier job performance, organizational improvement and business impact. Several L&D functions already have a ROI mind-set; now it's time to build upon that activity.
These 8 areas of focus for many organizations are largely in place to some extent; the challenge is to build the business and commercial credibility of the L&D function and hence the common theme of learning based analytics that is emerging.
Relationships across the organization will always be critical to the L&D function and should not of course be under estimated either in terms of their importance or the difficulty that exists when trying to sustain them. It’s not about being "Partners" but about being "Thought Leaders" that shape and guide business leaders in what is best for the organization based upon data and insights that show the value of the solutions that the function delivers.
Challenges to the L&D function provide opportunities to shine and the time is here for the creation of better end to end data processes that support the shift in mind-set that is now needed. Passion and desire to provide great solutions has never been in question; the L&D function now must build on this through numbers; it’s the new currency!