Q & A with David Green | The HR Tech Weekly®

People Analytics Is Core to the Future of the HR Function: Q&A with David Green

People Analytics Is Core to the Future of the HR Function

Today our guest is David Green, a true globally respected and award winning writer, speaker, conference chair and executive consultant on people analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work.

David is the Global Director, People Analytics Solutions at IBM Watson Talent. He is also the longstanding Chair, of the Tucana People Analytics conference series, the next edition of which – the People Analytics Forum, takes place in London on 29-30 November.

David has spoken at conferences and/or worked with people analytics leaders in over 20 cities in the past year including San Francisco, Sydney, London, Paris, Singapore, New York, Amsterdam, Moscow and Berlin. This affords David with a unique perspective and insight into what’s working, what’s not, and what’s forthcoming in the field of people analytics.

The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.

1. Hi David, and first of all thank you very much for this interview with The HR Tech Weekly®. The year of 2017 is approaching its end. What made a difference this year in the field of people management and HR technologies?

Thanks Alexey, it is a pleasure to speak with you. For me, 2017 has been a pivotal year in the field as the realisation that people analytics is core to the future of the HR function has become far more widespread. In one of his recent articles (see here), Josh Bersin described people analytics “as the lynchpin of success for HR in the next few years”, and I have to say I completely agree – although that probably doesn’t surprise you!

We still have some way to go in terms of widespread adoption and just as importantly in embedding analytics and data-driven decision making within organisational culture, but the acceptance that this is core rather than peripheral is a welcome momentum shift.

Elsewhere, the move from many companies to develop programs and technologies that personalise the candidate/employee experience in areas such as talent acquisition, onboarding, learning and mobility is also positive. It’s about time that we have rich and personalised experiences at work similar to those we already enjoy as consumers. Data and analytics plays a foundational role in this.

2. People analytics is an area of profound interest to business leaders. What do you see as the main trends in the people analytics space?

You are right to highlight the heightened interest levels in people analytics Alexey. I’d summarise the main trends as follows:

  • More and more organisations getting started with people analytics – 2017 seems to have been the year that the talking about when to start analytics stopped and the actual hard work in creating capability began for many organisations. So, the number of organisations in the early stages of their people analytics journeys is on the increase and many will face similar challenges in terms of data quality, skills and capabilities, stakeholder management/education and project prioritisation. Our recent IBM Smarter Workforce Institute research on HR Analytics Readiness in Europe demonstrated though that most organisations still have a long way to go.
  • Developing an analytical culture: this is key for organisations that want to develop sustainable capability in people analytics. This means exciting, equipping and enabling HR Business Partners, and clearly demonstrating and communicating the impact of people analytics initiatives within the organisation. This is the focus of many companies that have built initial capability and success in people analytics.
  • Ethics and privacy concerns: this continues to be the most important and challenging aspect for practitioners. Research from Insight222 reveals that 81% of people analytics projects are jeopardised by ethical and privacy concerns. With the EU GDPR legislation coming into effect in May 2018 and the emergence of new employee data sources, focus on this area will continue to be high.
  • The consumerisation of HR – as per my earlier point, many organisations that have developed people analytics capability are looking at ways to understand and improve the employee experience. In addition to the personalised machine-learning based technologies referenced earlier, this includes efforts to understand and analyse employee sentiment. You can’t do either of these things without analytics so those organisations that have already developed people analytics capability are in pole position to take advantage here.
  • Organisational network analysis (ONA) – interest in ONA has exploded in 2017 as organisations seek to better understand team effectiveness and productivity. Practitioners interested in this burgeoning area of people analytics should check out the work of Rob Cross, recent articles by Josh Bersin and vendors like TrustSphere, Humanyze and Worklytics. Expect interest in this area to continue to soar in 2018.

3. On the eve of People Analytics Forum 2017 could you slightly open the curtain on what makes an ideal agenda in modern HR analytics, workforce planning and employees insights then?

I always enjoy chairing the Tucana People Analytics World and People Analytics Forum events as the agenda is always cognisant of the fact that the diversity of delegates in terms of where they are with analytics varies widely. As such, the three tracks: Start (for those getting started), Grow (for those building capability and looking for deeper insight) and Advance (for advanced practitioners and those exploring new data sources) means there is something for everyone. This is hugely important as in my experience the people analytics community is highly collaborative and there is a mutual desire amongst practitioners for shared learning. The Tucana events provide this in spades.

4. It was heard that some attendees of conferences recently formed a viewpoint that the slow adoption of analytics has been because of a lack of practical cases delivered by speakers. Your point of view on the problem will be of great influence.

I haven’t really heard this viewpoint from many. I would argue the contrary in fact that most of the conferences I attend feature numerous and diverse case studies from practitioners. I think you need a balance of speakers from the practitioner, consultant, vendor and analyst communities as each provides a slightly different perspective – indeed much of the innovation in the space is coming from the vendor community. As such, at the conferences I chair, speak and attaned there is normally much to inspire delegates whatever their maturity level when it comes to people analytics. Of course, there is a distinction between being inspired and immitation as each organisation faces different business challenges and has unique cultures. If I could offer one piece of advice to practitioners, whatever their maturity level, it is to channel their efforts on the key business challenges that have the biggest impact within their organisations.

5. What new data-driven HR solutions are on your watchlist and why?

As I mentioned before much of the innovation in the people analytics space is coming from the vendor community and I always recommend to practitioners to keep abreast of the latest developments here. Data-driven companies to look at include: TrustSphere, Alderbrooke Group, Aspirant, Glint, Visier, Crunchr, Workometry, Peakon, OrgVue, Headstart, Worklytics, Humanyze, Qlearsite, One Model, hiQ Labs, Cultivate and StarLinks; and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head!

If you’ll forvive the self-promotion, I would like to add that IBM is also doing some groundbreaking work in this space through bringing Watson to HR, particularly in the talent acquisition and the employee experience areas – see more here.

6. What advice would you give to HR professionals looking to boost their careers within the people analytics space?

Well, firstly you should get yourself along to the People Analytics Forum and read my articles on LinkedIn!

Seriously, analytics is a core capability for the future HR practitioner and it won’t be long before the likes of CIPD and SHRM build this into their educational programs. Until then, find some courses (like the Wharton School course on Coursera), attend some conferences, read some books (like The Power of People and the Basic Principles of People Analytics), and seek to learn from analytics professionals both in and outside of HR.

For me, HR is one of the most exciting places in business to work in at the moment and the increased use of analytics and data-driven decision making is one of the reasons why I believe this to be the case.

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The Recruiters Guide to ATS Data Migrations | The HR Tech Weekly®

The Recruiters Guide to ATS Data Migrations

Data Migrations Don’t have to be Painful


Data Migrations Don’t Have to Cause Disruption

Data migrations are often viewed by business professionals as a major obstacle that is simply too difficult and too costly to take on. One of the most common reasons people give for not wanting to move Applicant Tracking Solution (ATS) providers is the fear of a difficult data migration. It’s unfortunate, but recruiters are often willing to suffer and pay for antiquated products that they know aren’t helping them do their job and be successful. Instead, the inferior solutions are viewed as “good enough for now”’ given the perceived risk of a move.

Vendors should strive to take the fear and risk out of a data migration, so busy recruiter teams are free to evaluate the merits of a system move on benefits and not just risk.

The decision to upgrade your ATS should be based on the functionality, productivity gains, and the long-term value they will provide. This guide will provide you all the information needed to successfully assess and predict how a data migration is likely to go once an ATS solution is chosen.

Migrations Done Better

To be frank, the actual migration of data isn’t really that hard. Yet it’s incredibly common to hear time and time again, “So and so completely screwed up my last migration” or “A friend of mine did a migration and it was a total mess.” Why is this? In our experience, it is rarely a pure technical problem, but instead comes down to the parties involved. Data migrations are simply more successful when both the customer and the vendor are flexible, reasonable and strive for a shared goal.

For the vendor, having the technical chops is a must, but they need to pair that with a flexible and consultative approach to the migration. They must be reasonable, transparent and mentoring in their approach. The best vendors will have a genuine invested interest in the shared goal of a successful migration, with an eye on the long term customer relationship.

Extract, Transform and Load (ETL)

For the customer, there is a need to be flexible as well. Every system is different and allowing your data and processes to transform and adapt is crucial. They must respectfully understand that migrations are not free, they take time to do right and there are real costs associated with that time. When it comes to migrating systems, almost anything is possible, but the costs can quickly rise and the additional benefits can fall just as quickly.

Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL)

The process of moving data from one system to another is as old as computers themselves. There is a well-established pattern for doing so, known as ETL. Extract (getting the data out of your old system), transform (converting / mapping it to the new system) and load (getting it into the new system). While the process may seem like a challenge, experienced IT consultants do successful migrations every day. Once the migration is complete recruiting professionals can get back to the business of aligning the right talent, with the right opportunity, at the right time.

This is just a snippet of Crelate’s eBook Guide for dealing with Data Migrations. To download the full Guide click Here.


Source: The Recruiters Guide to ATS Data Migrations – Crelate

5 Ways Businesses Can Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture | The HR Tech Weekly®

5 Ways Businesses Can Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture

The pressure on organizations to make accurate and timely business decisions has turned data into an important strategic asset for businesses.

In today’s dynamic marketplace, a business’s ability to use data to identify challenges, spot opportunities, and adapt to change with agility is critical to its survival and long-term success. Therefore, it has become an absolute necessity for businesses to establish an objective, data-driven culture that empowers employees with the capabilities and skills they need to analyse data and use the insights extracted from it to facilitate a faster, more accurate decision-making process.

Contrary to what many people think, cultivating a data-driven culture is not just a one-time transformation. Instead, it’s more like a journey that requires efforts from employees and direction from both managers and executives. In this article, I am sharing five different ways businesses can accelerate their transformation into a data-driven enterprise.

1. Establish a Clear Vision

Establishing a clear vision is essential for putting data into the DNA of an organization. An executive, preferably the CIO or CDO, should present the vision to the workforce and provide the rationale for this shift in culture and in benefits. This, in turn, will set stage for the work ahead and provide an opportunity to clear misconceptions.

 2. Ensure Easy and Secure Access to Data

Data can be truly considered an asset when its accuracy is trusted, its provenance is well established, and its complete security is ensured. On the other hand, optimal utilization of data requires governance and openness. To ensure this, you should consider a layered approach to make data available in a manner for which its security, governance and confidentiality is not compromised.

3. Keep Your Data Clean and Up-to-Date

It’s very hard to analyze and extract something valuable from poorly organized, inaccurate, dated information. Therefore, you should develop clear mechanisms regarding the collection, storage, and analysis of data. Make sure all your data inputs are centralized in a single location for easy integration and regular updates. This way, your employees can gather the most recent information from a single place and make more accurate decisions.

4. Create Agile Multi-Disciplinary Teams

People, not tools drive the culture of a company. Therefore, in order to create a fact-driven work environment, businesses should invest in the skills of their people. Make sure that each team contains at least one member who’s well-skilled and experienced at data analytics.

5. Develop Reward Mechanisms

Sharing data successes is important to inspire others and develop a healthy, competitive, data-driven culture. To share the results achieved by a team or an individual, you can use different communication tools, such as videos and blogs, organize special gatherings, or share the results on your company portal. Make sure that you choose initiatives that are in line with your company’s long-term strategy. For example, if your objective is to penetrate new markets or gather more information about your target customers, you should acknowledge and reward the initiatives that help you make progress towards these strategic goals.

Unless communicated across an organization, data remains worthless. To extract the right information and insights from structured and unstructured data, it is important that you focus your efforts on cultivating a data-driven culture that empowers employees with the resources and skills they need to leverage data and obtain the right information at the right time to make more accurate decisions.

About the Author:

Ronald van Loon is Advisory Board Member and Big Data & Analytics course advisor for Simplilearn. He will contribute his expertise towards the rapid growth of Simplilearn’s popular Big Data & Analytics category.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and IoT, please click “Follow” and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

This article was originally posted on Simplilearn

Source: 5 Ways Businesses Can Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Securing Competitive Advantage with Machine Learning | The HR Tech Weekly®

Securing Competitive Advantage with Machine Learning

How to Secure Your Competitive Advantage with Machine Learning | The HR Tech Weekly®

Business dynamics are evolving with every passing second. There is no doubt that the competition in today’s business world is much more intense than it was a decade ago. Companies are fighting to hold on to any advantages.

Digitalization and the introduction of machine learning into day-to-day business processes have created a prominent structural shift in the last decade. The algorithms have continuously improved and developed.

Every idea that has completely transformed our lives was initially met with criticism. Acceptance is always followed by skepticism, and only when the idea becomes reality does the mainstream truly accept it. At first, data integration, data visualization and data analytics were no different.

Incorporating data structures into business processes to reach a valuable conclusion is not a new practice. The methods, however, have continuously improved. Initially, such data was only available to the government, where they used it to make defense strategies. Ever heard of Enigma?

In the modern day, continuous development and improvement in data structures, along with the introduction of open source cloud-based platforms, has made it possible for everyone to access data. The commercialization of data has minimized public criticism and skepticism.

Companies now realize that data is knowledge and knowledge is power. Data is probably the most important asset a company owns. Businesses go to great lengths to obtain more information, improve the processes of data analytics and protect that data from potential theft. This is because nearly anything about a business can be revealed by crunching the right data.

It is impossible to reap the maximum benefit from data integration without incorporating the right kind of data structure. The foundation of a data-driven organization is laid on four pillars. It becomes increasingly difficult for any organization to thrive if it lacks any of the following features.

Here are the four key elements of a comprehensive data management system:

  • Hybrid data management
  • Unified governance
  • Data science and machine learning
  • Data analytics and visualization

Hybrid data management refers to the accessibility and repeated usage of the data. The primary step for incorporating a data-driven structure in your organization is to ensure that the data is available. Then you proceed by bringing all the departments within the business on board. The primary data structure unifies all the individual departments in a company and streamlines the flow of information between those departments.

If there is a communication gap between the departments, it will hinder the flow of information. Mismanagement of communication will result in chaos and havoc instead of increasing the efficiency of business operations.

Initially, strict rules and regulations governed data and restricted people from accessing it. The new form of data governance makes data accessible, but it also ensures security and protection. You can learn more about the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law and unified data governance over here in Rob Thomas’ GDPR session.

The other two aspects of data management are concerned with data engineering. A spreadsheet full of numbers is of no use if it cannot be tailored to deduce some useful insights about business operations. This requires analytical skills to filter out irrelevant information. There are various visualization technologies that make it possible and easier for people to handle and comprehend data.

Want to learn more about the topic? Watch replay of the live session with Hilary Mason, Dez Blanchfield, Rob Thomas, Kate Silverton, Seth Dobrin and Marc Altshuller.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more interesting updates about machine learning and data integration.


Source: Securing Competitive Advantage with Machine Learning | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Unlocking Business Growth through HR and People Science

Unlocking Business Growth through HR and People Science

Written by Adam Hale, EVP of Sage People.

Why fast-growth companies are bounding ahead?

For businesses to sustain growth, be more productive, and attract and retain the best talent in today’s increasingly global and competitive climate, they need to use data intelligently. Data analytics has been happening for a long time in marketing, sales and finance, but now we’re seeing HR wake up to the benefits. Traditionally, HR functions capture information about employees passively in order to meet legislative requirements but organizations are now realizing it has far more potential with data analytics which is also leading to the rise of the Chief People Officer role.

While 83% of HR leaders recognize that all people decisions should be based on data and analytics, the reality in the workplace is very different. Recent research Fairsail (now Sage People) conducted amongst 500 global HR leaders for its report ‘The use of people science in fast growth companies’ showed that only 37% of those surveyed claiming to already use a data-centric approach.

Why fast-growth companies are bounding ahead

However, there is one business group making the most of its people science capabilities: the fast-growing ‘gazelle’ organizations – companies which have increased their revenues by at least 20% annually for four years or more. The research shows that these organizations are far more advanced in HR than the average company. They have full HR automation (80% v 53%) so they can report faster and more easily on a range of influential HR metrics. If asked to report on headcount within a single day, 84% can do it; that’s 16 percentage points better than non-gazelles. They can more easily report on high potential employees (58% v 42%) and on personal growth (58% v 41%).

These gazelle organizations can see what’s working and what needs to change and can take action confidently to make sure they’re supporting employees to achieve their potential. While gazelles are the one’s bounding ahead, all is not lost as almost every organization we spoke to did have an awareness of the potential to use people and HR data to improve their business.

Use Chief People Officers to close the gap

Even if they haven’t yet marshalled it effectively or decided exactly how they’ll use it, a staggering 92% said they’d like to use people science to improve their business. And another 65% said that in the next 12 months they need to achieve greater data visibility.

The research also positively showed a movement across all organizations to make a highly visible change that reflects the shift to a people focus: 17% have appointed a Chief People Officer to put people science at the heart of their business. The gap between the gazelle approach and the non-gazelle approach looks set to narrow in the very near future, as all businesses take action on their ever-growing awareness of the importance of people analytics.

Tap into data to unlock rapid growth

So what can we learn today from these market-leading organizations? Seeking and seizing opportunities and using every lever a company can get its hands on to improve performance is the key to rapid growth. Organizations shouldn’t be afraid to explore the latest people thinking, or adopt the tools that gather data and turn it into business intelligence. The challenge is to put systems and tools in place to collect and analyze it for tangible benefit – as 31% revealed, they don’t currently have the right technology in place to interpret the necessary people science. Automation helps companies move away from old-style HR with its laborious administration and manual processes and spreadsheets. With this, people teams should be able to explore the workforce data to understand what employees want and need. They can take action to provide great workforce experiences that makes the most of talent to fuel productivity and business growth.

To read the full ‘The use of people science in fast growth companies’ report, please visit www.fairsail.com.

About the Author:

Adam Hale, CEO at Fairsail

Adam Hale, EVP of Sage People, previously acted as Executive Chairman and Non Executive Director having spent over 30 years in the technology industry. He was formerly Head of Software and European Technology at Russell Reynolds Associates, the leading executive search firm and before that ran large system implementation projects at Accenture. Adam is also a committee member of the Technology Leadership Group (TLG) for the Prince’s Trust.


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Customer Success | The HR Tech Weekly®

Journey Science in Telecom: Take Customer Experience to the Next Level

Journey Science in Telecom: Take Customer Experience to the Next Level

Journey Science, being derived from connected data from different customer activities, has become pivotal for the telecommunications industry, providing the means to drastically improve the customer experience and retention. It has the ability to link together scattered pieces of data, and enhance a telco business’s objectives. Siloed approaches are becoming obsolete – take call centers as an example – there is only so much that you can do with data from only one system.

By using insights from customer journey analytics, telco businesses can better measure the user experience, and make informed decision for refining it. The data not only allow them to take proactive approach towards customer satisfaction, but enable the prediction of future failures as well. With customer journey analytics, you can evaluate the touchpoints to journeys, and revamp your strategies to better cater to customers’ needs.

In the telecom industry, it is difficult for a business to effectively manage the massive volume of data with the existing systems and technology. There are several aspects where telecom companies need to make improvements, such as reduce costs, improve customer experience, increase conversion rates, and many more. To do so, they need to derive meaning from the collected data by finding connections among them. This linked data is also known as journeys. Journeys provide you with relevant data that enable you to make well-grounded business decisions by looking at customer transactions as a whole, and determining where direct improvements are needed.

Customer Journey Analytics is Transforming Telecommunications

Many leading telco businesses are embracing the Journey Science concept, and deem it to be the best way to make greater impact on the target audience. One good way to better understand digital journeys is through a multi-channel, end-2-end, view. Journey Sciences, at its best, provides enhanced data accessibility and increased analytics agility, and helps in weaving together disparate pieces of data. This makes it possible for telco businesses to link together structured and unstructured data back to their strategic objectives, and quickly modify them to ensure they cope with the evolving customer demands. However, in order to get insight into customer experience through journey analytics, it is critical to focus not only on the individual moments but the customers’ end-to-end experiences as well.

Customer Experience Boost

The main benefit of customer journey analytics for telco companies is that it enables them to better recognize customer needs, and assess their satisfaction level. While most people think Journey Science is all about marketing, it mainly focuses on the services domain. For example, a customer seeking technical support for their device has multiple paths to resolution. Journey Science enables businesses to evaluate each step of the journey experience, and figure out the critical points that could negatively impact customer experience. With this kind of information, businesses can develop strategies to overcome hurdles customers face on all such touchpoints, resulting in improved customer experience.

Improving Customer Journeys through Transparency

Connecting the Dots

For improving customer experience, it is essential to connect all the data down to the individual customer level to fully understand the required changes. For telco businesses to completely understand customer journeys, they must gather data from many different channels, and track the individual journey the customer experiences. Typically, more than 50 percent of customers make multi-channel journeys; meaning, in order to understand their behavior, establishing connection among all the data is extremely important. Because of the deep roots of technology in today’s common lifestyle, many journeys start from digital channels, but eventually go into a human channel for completion.

Utilizing Aggregate and Raw Data

Apart from giving a complete picture of customer journeys, the analytics let you tap into different levels of aggregation, allowing you to view raw data as well. With journey mapping, telco businesses can benefit from both in-depth data points and aggregated data sets. Since a single customer journey can compile hundreds of thousands of data points, having aggregated views makes it much easier to pinpoint and prioritize the problematic areas. On the other hand, some journeys may yield unclear results, for example, unusual behavior of a customer on a webpage. In such a case, having access into the raw data renders the ability to focus on one key area and get invaluable insights.

Making Changes through Data Availability 

Effective utilization of data from customer journey analytics allows telco to revamp their strategy as well as make smaller improvements on a continuous basis. Getting immediate feedback regarding a certain change is critical for understanding its impact. You can determine whether the intended results will be realized, or should you scale-up or sustain the change. However, a manual, project-based approach that only provides an overview of the required data will not be enough to transform journeys successfully. Instead, you should opt for an agile, iterative, analytic approach that uses continuous data availability.

It won’t be wrong to say that all those ad-hoc, manual, project-based approaches using snapshots of data have severe limitations.

Better data accessibility to more than 18 telco raw data sources as a prerequisite 

How the Customer Journey differs in both Fixed and Mobile Telco

Mobile (mobile data usage, subscriptions, charges, and mobile data access)

Several small customer journeys can be linked together to make improvements to a mobile telco operation. One great way is through customer engagement, i.e. moving down to individualized journeys of each customer instead of mass-segmentation. Journey Science opens doors for mobile telco companies to take personalization up a notch, and provide customized recommendations based on the journeys of each customer. You should also utilize real-time context to enhance customer engagement for better results.

Mobile customer experience comprises of several touchpoints where a subscriber interacts with a service provide agent – it can be during retail, billing, customer support, visible marketing campaigns, and others. Consider three customers below that have 3 different journeys to perform the same action.

Fixed line providers (phone, internet, entertainment)

Fixed line providers have an additional interaction channel with field technicians being deployed to customers’ homes for service. These field service appointments are a major part of customer experience and often have significant variability for different customers. Consider the following journey which involves multiple appointments, agent phone calls, and delays:

Improve key journeys for fixed Telco’s

Journey Science is Moving towards Predictive Analytics

The Journey Science concept is increasingly becoming popular across the telco industry, as it greatly benefits by assessing journeys of individual customers and allow them to develop customized strategies. Moreover, it allows telco businesses to anticipate the potential pitfalls leading to negative customer experience and prevent it altogether. By tapping into the data from customer journey, telco can streamline their operations and provide a better, more satisfying experience to their customers.

Derived value from Customer Journey data by Journey Science & Journey Analytics

In today’s world, customer satisfaction is the keystone for success in every industry, including telco. Businesses should turn to the Journey Science movement, and optimize their processes by carefully analyzing customer journeys and making improvements accordingly. Effective utilization of customer journey analytics leads to better redesigning efforts, ultimately reducing costs, enhancing customer experience, and stretching bottom-line.

About the Authors:

Want to talk more about Journey Sciences? Connect with Rogier van Nieuwenhuizen, Executive Vice President, EMEA region at ClickFox, on LinkedIn and join Journey Science movement on Twitter by following @journey_science and the Journey Science’s LinkedIn Group today.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and Journey Science please click ‘Follow’ and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Source: Journey Science in Telecom: Take Customer Experience to the Next Level | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Maturity of HR Analytics Demands Right Foundation

HR Analytics

Currently, there are lot of discussions, articles, and engagements on Analytics for HR. More precise, the People or Workforce analytics when you are considering talent or workforce.

People and Workforce Analytics are a set of analytics to learn and answer the talent management related questions. It could be on workforce planning, talent sourcing, talent acquisition, performance management, talent retention. Or even on employee wellness, culture fit, and engagement. Making the data-driven decision from the business insights is the key purpose of any analytics.

Most of the organizations are still using the fundamental or basic analytics. They are reports based or using descriptive approach. But the workforce, related challenges are on the high increase. And we need a quantitative or a matured approach for handling these. It is necessary to understand the business insight and competitive advantage from the maturity of their HR Analytics.

Maturity Levels for HR Analytics

Before any beginning, it is important to know the possible maturity levels of the Analytics. As it does not only provide the opportunity to create a roadmap for the future. But also to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and possibilities for the growth.

Analytics Maturity Curve

The Descriptive Approach uses operational reporting based on business needs. More focus is on data exploration, data accuracy, and metrics analysis. Advanced reporting is also used for benchmarking, manual decision making and to generate dashboards.

Today, there is already some impressive engagement with Predictive Analytics in many organizations. The predictive approach uses statistical analysis, forecasting, correlations, and development of the predictive models. It helps in making predictions and for taking smarter decisions like in talent management for the organizations. For this, one needs to explore talent data for predictive models and statistical approach. And also needs to get ready with the proper business questions and specific reasons. Otherwise, they are neither actionable nor add any value to the organizations.

Predictive Analytics is also used to remove the human biases from one organization for taking an important decision. It has more resemblance with marketing behaviors while HR reporting mirrors finance.

The major purpose of an analytics is to have business decisions based on the data. Support in decision making and to help in making proper actions. Prescriptive Approach assists in this with optimization, strategic foresight, and real-time analysis. Prescriptive analytics not only anticipates what will happen and when it will happen. But also tell why it will happen.

Cognitive Approach is just the next level to perspective but both of them overlap to some extent. Actually, there is a bit overlapping among predictive, perspective and cognitive approaches.

The cognitive approach helps also in decision automation and applies cognitive computing. With reasoning, machine learning, natural language processing, and intelligence. According to Wikipedia, cognitive computing combines artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms. In an approach which attempts to reproduce the behavior of the human brain.

One of the most important part of this maturity curve is the foundation, in fact, most of the time spent here during any analytics project. The basic building blocks for matured and advanced approaches. One must have the basic understanding and preparation for any HR Analytics approaches. And it is advisable to have a proper planning to achieve the best.

Investments are only worth full with good returns, and for that, we need to study, understand and prepare with the basics.

And for this reason, it is also important to understand the foundation, to get started with People Analytics or HR Analytics. It is important to take it on from the beginning, as it is necessary for the long-term benefits and add significant value to the organizations. So let’s explore it.

Foundation for HR Analytics

There are certain aspects and factors which are necessary to get explored before starting any analytics projects. Organizations should have the insights or answers, for all these aspects and open questions related to them, to get the start in a proper way.

Foundation for HR Analytics

  • Data Preparation: The process of collecting, cleaning, validating and consolidating data into a single repository. The most important factor to get started with Analytics. And it is also necessary to collect the right and relevant data sources to help the workforce and the business. Right data at right time could make things easier for the business and for the organization. Another important aspect could be to gather non-HR data. Like net profits, cost effectiveness, sales revenue, and other important metrics from the organization. To add more relevance in the data preparation.
  • Cultural Readiness: Organizations need to specify the need to adopt the disruptions and it must be able to fit into the company culture. Leaders, managers, and key influencers should share the vision. And ensure readiness to drive the initiative throughout the organization. Without this readiness, it is not easy to understand the real value, and will not add any significant impact to the business.
  • Platform Adoption: Most of the HRIS solutions come up with their own analytics options. But they are valuable confine with their functional perspective only. If they are not relevant for the business insights and decision making, there is no meaning to invest in them. So, there is always an option to build the own analytics solution. Based on some available analytics platforms from the market. Another alternative option is to get a partner with an experienced vendor or having the right expert with the right platform.
  • Business Insights: It is necessary to know the business challenges and metrics which are critical for the organization and work for the workforce as well. Based on the issues which are seeking to address, proper data sources need to get defined. Identifying the critical business question from the business partners is necessary. It is also important to clarify the need of Analytics to have a better competitive advantage.
  • Data Integration: Integration always being an important factor for any changes whether on systems or people or data. Proper data integration is necessary among all different systems, businesses, and technologies. Significant for the data sources. Data security, privacy, and protection are also becoming critical challenges for any organizations. Any analytics project must be compatible with laws, rules, policies, and localizations. A close bonding is necessary among IT, HR and Business in this case.
  • Governance: Data quality is the biggest challenge for most of the organizations, especially when working with data based on people. Data is the most important aspects of the foundation. And it is important to prepare them to gain valuable business insights. Data governance plays a vital role in all these so that the data can be trusted and managed. Governance is also needed in terms of management, support, and sponsorship of the company.

By gathering, analyzing and exploring all relevant data one can not only answer the critical business questions. But also can take necessary actions from the interpretations of the data and context.

During analyzing the data one should look at the bigger picture rather than handle small challenges. It would be good if one can focus on making the best decisions for a workforce and the business as a whole. In most cases, an HR Analytics Leader is needed. The one who leads the analytics projects, involved in all decision-making processes and focus on quantifying the impact of talent investments on a business. And also improves some of the core processes within the organization with People Analytics.

One should also know the aspects which are necessary for the foundation of the analytics. It may vary among the organizations, with respective leaders, stakeholders, and Human Resources units. And thus in most of the cases, there is a need for some brainstorming before preparing for any foundation.

Design thinking process could be a game changer for any organization here.

Aspects necessary for the foundation of HR Analytics which should not be ignored at any cost:

  • Creativity: The creative route has a difference from an analytical route. But it is necessary to take a creative approach to gather relevant information, prepare data, developing the model, interpret the insights and even taking the right decision. One needs to be creative as well, to find the best result and taking actions.
  • Knowledge:  Knowledge is the king and no doubt it is a must for the foundation for analytics as well. Whether it is related to the business processes, people, technology, data, statistics or any skills. Knowledge is necessary everywhere. It is also advisable to update the knowledge as well in certain time periods.
  • Expertise: A proper team should be built and it must include diverse individuals from both business and technical side based on the needs. Business Leaders, Business Analyst, Program Managers and other business people could be there on one side. On another side may have Data Analysts, Data Architect, and Data Scientist. Especially in a case of complex analytics projects. Need to involve those experts, who have strong experience in analytics area.
  • Methodologies: An iterative process is needed as the foundational methodology. Starting from business understanding, analytic approaches, data preparation, modeling, evaluation, and deployment. Feedback is also necessary for a well strategic plan here. The methodology should be independent from the technology. As it is providing many tools, applications, and platforms to perform analytics. And it should also provide a framework for processing methods and processes to get the best results. A value driven approach with agile methodology could be used to having higher success rates in analytics projects.

Once we are ready with the foundation for Analytics, we have already started engaging to HR Analytics or People Analytics. But the journey has just begun. There are tremendous opportunities for exploration based on the matured approaches for any organization. Every organization has its own maturity level. And it’s depending on them to decide their future of analytics, based on their further commitment.

About the Author:

Soumyasanto Sen

Soumyasanto Sen — Blogger, Speaker and Evangelist in HRTech who try to think Out of the Box! Engaging with Companies, Startups & Entrepreneurs in driving Transformation.

Professionally Consultant, Manager, Advisor, Investor in HR Tech. Focusing on Strategies, Analytics, Cloud, UX, Security, Integration and Entrepreneurship in Digital HR Transformation.


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Published earlier in Analytics in HR: Why Mature HR Analytics demands the right Foundation

Hard Data on Soft Skills – Softfactors Competency Index™

People analytics can measure what was considered unmeasurable before – soft skills. Technology has given us the tools and techniques, and this is what we do at softfactors AG. Our tests measure competencies in key areas through a series of fun, intuitive, interactive and quick online activities. We have combined self-description, with ability testing and behavioral assessments.

soft-skills-written-on-a-woode

What Soft Skills are mostly required in today’s Jobs?

Delivery, Collaboration, Drive and Communication are becoming more and more important in today’s jobs. While Communication is on everybody’s list, the high score of Delivery and Drive are definitively somewhat surprising. At Softfactors we measure and observe competency trends, using our set of 25 competencies. They are grouped into 5 categories: Dealing with People, Interpersonal Skills, Dealing with Business, Thinking Skills, and Personal Qualities. The Softfactors Competency Index™ looks at all competencies by function (i.e. marketing) and role (i.e. senior expert or team leader). And the picture – not surprising – holds a list of commonly used skills that are important for the 21st century. The top 4 competencies and their detailed facets are:

  1. Delivery
    Completer and finisher, know how to organize people and activities, figure out the processes necessary to get things done, know what to measure and how to measure it.
  2. Collaboration
    Build consensus among colleagues, peers and clients, recognize the business concerns and perspectives of others, identify shared interests and common ground, focus on issues and interests instead of people or positions, gain others’ support for ideas, proposals, projects and solutions.
  3. Drive
    Strength of will, take initiative, dynamic and assertive, good stamina, identify what needs to be done and do it before being asked or before the situation requires it, ambitious.
  4. Communication
    Listen well, ask pertinent questions, arguments are business-like and substantiated, pass information on to others, express clearly in conversations and writing, identify and present information or data that has a strong effect on others, encourage debate and not afraid to end it and move on, deliver tough messages with sensitivity.

To our surprise, the “doer” attitude that helps foster “Delivery” has been somewhat stronger than Communication, which we expected to be the most popular competency in our Softfactors Competency Index™. Together with the competency “Drive” the picture gives a strong “can do” attitude of the worker in the 21st century: making things happen seems to be a key element over all competencies.

Which Competencies are important for leaders?

For leadership positions (Managers, Executives and Managers of Managers) the picture looks somewhat different. The top 4 competencies for leaders are:

  1. Leading People
    Set direction, establish focus, decide on action, assign responsibility, delegate appropriately, mobilize commitment, provide motivational support, empower others, develop others and manage performance.
  2. Communication
    Listen well, ask pertinent questions, arguments are business-like and substantiated, pass information on to others, express clearly in conversations and writing, identify and present information or data that has a strong effect on others, encourage debate and not afraid to end it and move on, deliver tough messages with sensitivity.
  3. Decision Making
    Break down problems into all facets, define the root causes of a problem, generate a range of solutions, weigh pros and cons of options, use lessons learned, make decisions with limited or unclear information, easily explain the rationale for a decision.
  4. Business Responsibility
    Integrate executive direction into decisions and actions, align products/services/actions with the organization, monitor resources, seek ways to reduce costs, adhere to internal control procedures and standards, actively uphold company regulations and policies.

Basis of the Softfactors Competency Index™ are the data of hiring organizations using the Softfactors recruiting suite. Analyzed were published jobs primarily in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the UK in 2016. Watch this space, we are going to monitor and publish more data about soft skills as they become available. We will be reporting them in the Softfactors Competency Index™.

Download our white paper “Putting Soft Skills at the Heart of Recruiting” here.

Want to demo Softfactors? Go through a candidate experience here.

Source: softfactors | smart digital recruiting

How Tech Is Reshaping ‘Business As Usual’

Kyle Martin, Florida Polytechnic University

Written by Kyle Martin, Content Coordinator at Florida Polytechnic University. Specially for The HR Tech Weekly®.

Change is the only constant, and it’s only accelerating. Technology is taking us closer and closer to the futuristic worlds we once only imagined in science fiction, but questions remain. How is innovative technology changing the way we do business? How will it continue to change in years to come? Keep an eye on the following trends that will continue to reshape business as we know it and introduce brand new STEM careers:

The Machines: They’re Learning!

Artificial Intelligence is more than a buzzword; it’s real and it’s happening now. Systems that can learn and adapt are becoming part of numerous industries, from Salesforce’s analytics service to products like crystal for marketing. Intelligent systems apply learning from one user to improve all users’ experience. (This is rumored to also be coming in digital assistant Siri’s future). Natural language processing allows us to consult AI programs like we would another person, asking questions like “When should I post on Instagram for maximum engagement?” and receive a more accurate answer faster than ever before.

IoT Integration

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a revolution in connectivity; items and devices equipped with sensors and controllers can now communicate with one another. These smart machines assist with everything from household chores to improving supply chain management, and they relay pertinent information about user behavior and machine processes.

Improving supply chain efficiencies is a growing application of the IoT. The IoT allows supply chain managers to meticulously track products and make smarter decisions based on pre-programmed parameters. The IoT also produces real-time data, allowing consumers to know exactly when their packages will arrive, and supply chain managers an understanding of how well each facet of their supply chain is performing.

The IoT offers numerous benefits for managers and consumers alike. Managers can better understand system bottlenecks and prevent machine breakdown. Consumers have the satisfaction of knowing they can monitor their shipment in real-time. While the upfront cost of integrating intelligent machines might initially turn companies off, their ability to improve operations make them more economical in the long term.

New Levels of Co-Creation

One of the many benefits of the Internet is its capacity for widespread collaboration. Today, that collaboration is going one step further. Many companies are now leveraging co-creation, allowing consumers to contribute to the development of new products and services. This new level of cooperation between brands and their buyers empowers consumers to create the exact product or service they need. In return, businesses reduce the costs associated with assessing the current product market and determining what to produce next.

This theme of co-creation also includes companies hiring freelance specialists. Companies are no longer compromising the quality of their employees, and ultimately their business, because of geographic distance. With virtually no more borders or geographic limitations, this new trend is altering the way businesses hire and retain employees.

In the face of a rapidly evolving market, more job seekers are choosing technology-focused degree programs to keep their skills sharp and their knowledge up-to-date. Why? Because business owners and professionals must stay ahead of the changing technology tides in order to ensure continued success.

About the Author:

Kyle Martin brings 11 years of storytelling experience to the content coordinator position at Florida Polytechnic University. In this role, Martin develops original content showcasing the University experience as a way to attract new students and faculty. He also lends editorial direction to University departments launching new projects and campaigns.


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Future of Work: Using Gamification in the HR

Gamification in HR

Gamification takes the essence of games attributes and techniques that game designers use to engage players and applies these to a range of real-world processes inside a company and to non-game experiences to motivate actions that add value to the business. Gamification is transforming business models by creating new ways to extend relationships, craft longer-term engagement, and drive customer and employee loyalty. It works because it leverages the motivations and desires that exist in all of us for community, feedback, achievement and reward.

Gallup’s latest research shows why companies are increasing their interest in gamification.The Gallup study finds 31% of employees are engaged at work (51% are disengaged and 17.5% actively disengaged). But what is most interesting is how this data compares when you apply a generational segmentation. It turns out Millennials are the least engaged generation with only 28.9% engaged as compared to 32.9% for Gen X & Boomers.

So how can various processes in human resources be “gamified” to provide an opportunity for employees across the generations to increase their levels of engagement, collaboration and recognition in the workplace?

  • Think strategy first: identify and articulate specific business objectives you are trying to achieve with gamification;
  • Understand what motivates your employees: gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology;
  • Engage employees at the emotional level: more than points, badges and leaderboards, gamification engages at a core emotional level.

HR departments process different kind of tasks, let’s highlight the most likely to be gamified. Take recruiting, for instance. Games offer a natural and fun way for people to explore and learn more about a company and its culture. The recruiting and talent acquisition arenas have experienced the most success to date with incorporating gamification strategies to engage with potential candidates and give them a taste of day-to-day life within a company.

It’s not just recruiting where HR can get into the game. In the landscape of corporate learning and development programs, gamification has potential as well. Interactive games drive employee participation and enable the transfer of educational content in a fun and appealing way. The rewards and incentives built into gaming plays well with performance management, which is a key factor in keeping employees engaged. Companies can employ gamification elements when designing performance plans to entice employees to participate more fully in their own performance planning. This level of HR gamification in performance management is still in its infancy but has the potential to drive high performers to new heights and ultimately enhance a company’s business performance.

Somehow, despite promising success stories, many companies have not embraced gamification as a meaningful solution to industry challenges. Some of the most common barriers to adoption include:

  • A belief that gamification is too expensive. However, companies do not necessarily need to develop a full-fledged game or gaming software to take advantage of gamification.
  • Older executives do not buy into the strategy. Whether your company operates under board management or a chief executive officer, some old-school managers may not understand or approve of gamification in the workplace. Check with the Millennials in the company and get their help in making the case for gamification to the GenX/Baby Boomers.
  • Lack of understanding about gamification. Many businesses today still don’t understand how it works or the range of benefits that accrue to incorporating game-like incentives into workplace activities. More and more companies are using it and talking about the benefits though; so it is becoming easier to explain gamification and to demonstrate its value to those who still don’t get it.

Gamification lead to the one thing that HR just can’t get enough of: data. The increased data generated from gamifying these HR processes means that HR professionals will have more ways than ever to measure the effectiveness of their programs and to make real-time adjustments. Gamification has potential as an important component of a company’s overall HR strategy. The fact is companies that don’t incorporate gaming principles into HR practices risk it being “game over” as the competition passes them by.

Woobe is the best tool for HR professionals to manage and improve internal networking. A solid internal network is required to implement successfully the New World of Work in your company, gamification included. Once again Woobe is on the edge in the future of work: thanks to the mobile application available to all the employees, and the ability to carry out surveys, the more employees use the platform, the more they get points. The HR will therefore have the right support to include gaming features to real-world processes.

Source: Future of work: using gamification in the HR – Woobe