Amol is an independent OD and HR Technology consultant who loves to work with organizations on re-imagining their processes and re-designing work. He has 16+ years of corporate experience working with multiple clients and enjoys assignments at the intersection of organizational development and technology.
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What are the key aspects of employee performance that are critical to the success of HR Analytics?
Analytics by definition include data + mathematical and logical reasoning + necessary analytical tools and a specific hypothesis to validate or generate. If one considers these elements of any analytics project it starts to become clear on what we need first. And yes while the order of these ingrediants can vary one would need all these ingrediants as necessary and sufficient condition for any analytics project to succeed.
From an employee performance stand-point however one would need to look at wiilingness of HR professionals to craft various hypothesis and then go hunting for data to support and counter the hypothesis. In this quest HR professionals must be willing to go beyond their functional silos and ready to learn about human performance data hidden in other organizational systems beyond what exists within HR. HR analytics should hence look to cast a wider net for relevant data and include the same in the analytics journey. This requires HR professionals to challenge their own old patterns of behaviors and thinking.
How can HR Analytics enhance employee performance?
Today’s performance conversations are broken and many times are not supported by indisputable data. Even simple data about time and attendance is not easily available and accessible to employees and managers to facilitate a developmental dialogue. In work situations where we are able to capture and then present employee performance data for effective conversations focused on development, we can truly transform individuals and organizations.
Traditionally we have focused on individual-level performance data while in analytics we are also looking at systemic performance data, thus enabling us to look beyond the individual. Once we start considering systemic level data, we are able to create a whole new level of performance understanding and are likely to design systemic solutions that create a sustained impact on organizational performance.
What do CEOs/CHROs look for in employee performance analytics?
Any CEO or CHRO would want to focus on their critical business challenges and improving organizational effectiveness is one of the key deliverables that HR analytics can focus on. While starting on this journey I recommend HR Analytics professionals to start small and tackle simpler and smaller challenges. Once you have solved simpler business problems focusing on a particular part, then you can look to expand the circle of influence.
For example, if you are looking at designing a more powerful and efficient automobile, then you would have to understand the various moving parts of the automobile and optimize them for such high performance. You can start with optimizing the pieces individually and then look to put the pieces together. This also ensures that your cost of experimentation is low and organizational tolerance for failure if any increases over a period of time.
What is missing in terms of employee performance data that could make HR Analytics even more meaningful?
Most employee performance data available today is subjective. What we use as performance evaluation typically is manager rating or 360-degree surveys
which are again opinions expressed by a group of individuals. While one can argue about the statistical validity of this data in predicting performance, one also needs to look at other available data sources within the organizational ecosystem to make the performance evaluation objective.
Typically one also loses track of historic performance data within an organization. Companies should be able to correlate performance evaluation outcomes with other people metrics like attrition, promotion and post promotion performance to be able to decipher the patterns of behaviors hidden in the performance information.
While many companies are moving away from internal performance rating and compensation changes, I believe a correlation between these two when statistically evaluated can go a long way in improving organizational performance.
Can HR Analytics play a prescriptive role in helping employee finetune performance real-time?
Yes, it can. Provided the system considers multiple parameters and is able to ascertain statistical co-relation of a particular parameter in predicting the performance outcome. Another way system can predict or prescribe performance improvements is by analyzing existing data trends and helping employees make decisions about their own work patterns. Such information when presented to employees in real time has the potential to improve employee performance.
Even simple technology tools which remind me to respond to a particular email or complete a particular task can greatly improve my performance. As such intelligent systems gather more data about me and my work, they can start to correlate the same with outcomes. Such systems can also compare these data points across multiple similar roles within the organization and help me with tips to improve a particular aspect of my performance. Such systems can then also point me in the direction of the individual who does a particular task or part of task better than me so that I can learn with the person. The analytical systems can thus foster collaboration across various groups.
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