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“Big data” and advanced analytics are at the core of a revolution transforming diverse business sectors ranging from finance to technology, health care, sports and many more. Historically the primary domain of technical/analytical specialists and “data geeks”, this topic has ascended rapidly to the strategic business agendas of many C-Suites. This revolution is driving major investments and transforming processes, programs and culture that are changing forever how companies compete in their marketplaces.
Compared to the widespread application of advanced analytics in Marketing, Sales, Finance, Operations and other functions, utilization for managing talent has been surprisingly much more limited. In recent years, however, this has begun to shift as more and more companies get serious about making data a cornerstone of their people management strategies, processes and programs.
The principal key driver behind this shift has become increasingly clear: direct bottom line business impact. Early adopters and leaders of data driven talent management approaches have systematically quantified the tangible and significant impacts of superior talent management, i.e., attracting, retaining, motivating and developing people, on bottom line business performance and competitive advantage.
In the way of definition, people management advanced analytics speaks to how organizations transform their data assets into competitive business insights that ultimately inform and drive more effective talent management decisions and actions and stronger business outcomes. Advanced analytical processes and programs are being designed and deployed today for workforce planning, recruiting, compensation, performance management, employee engagement, talent assessment, learning and development, and succession. While none of these activities are, of course, new all are becoming increasingly data driven.
Where to Start
The roadmap for building a supportive culture and processes for applying and leveraging people management advanced analytics includes:
- Identifying your organization's most serious business "pains" and ensuring these align with your leadership team's perceptions
- Creating one or two pilot initiatives to empirically test hypotheses that quantify how talent management does or does not correlate with your identified business pains
- Taking actions based on your findings and measuring the impact of your changes on reducing the organizational pains and improving business results
- Expanding successful pilots to larger scale programs. If unsuccessful, applying pilot insights gained to re-conceptualize and test new hypotheses
- Keeping your leadership team well informed and engaged along the way to ensure ongoing understanding, support and buy-in
- Creating and sharing a long-term vision for people management analytics in your organization, including short, medium and long-term deliverables. These should
- be focused initially on the most critical business pains and ultimately on achieving ongoing strategic business objectives
- Assembling the strongest multi-disciplinary team possible to help formulate and implement the vision and component projects and initiatives
- Establishing KPIs to track progress and contributions of your people management advanced analytics program
The time to profit from people management analytics is now; so, begin by developing a business case and starting strategic framework, and initiating one or more pilot projects. Be bold yet focused in using your second most important asset, data, to more effectively manage your most important asset, people. Stronger and more sustained overall business performance will follow.