Did Josh Bersin not say on 2nd January 2015, in his article titled “The Geeks have arrived: People Analytics is here.”, that 2015 was the year when HR Analytics was finally going into mainstream? Only two and half months later Deloitte sounded completely different: HR Analytics “stuck in neutral”.
Everybody agrees that HR data and analytics could solve many of todays’ business problems: engagement, leadership, learning and recruitment. Companies that excel in HR Analytics can position themselves to outperform their peers in the coming years, has been said.
With so much information bombarding us in real time, I have filtered for you what is really interesting from the recent news mixed with my personal views on what is causing the stall. The pattern that is emerging is that HR Analytics is still in need of several bridges:
1. Open source platforms for offshore collaboration
The foundations for HR Analytics are being laid today on the usual Excel and PowerPoint, but to unleash the power of big data one needs to step up into higher-level IT tools.
Substantial investments to get HR Analytics moving might be needed in the long term, but for now learning and development can be acquired using open source platforms, which are already very sophisticated and ideal exchange platforms for offshore collaboration:
a) R is a free software environment, which can used as worldwide collaboration platform for statistical computing and graphics.
b) RapidMiner is the world-leading open-source system for data mining. It is available as a stand-alone application for data analysis and as a data mining engine.
c) Data can be extracted from the web via API’s for free.
2. Active co-operation from in-house subject matter experts
In-house subject matter experts need to be motivated to co-operate. They hold the knowledge on how the business operates, know the business definitions, know what HR data to look for and can draw links between HR data and financial results.
3. Active co-operation from employees to share their own data
To realise the full benefit of workforce analytics, the right employee data is key. It is critically important to acknowledge employee concerns around data privacy.
A very interesting recent IBM study found that less than 50% of employees would like to share their work-related performance for HR Analytics purposes. IBM Smarter Workforce Institute has devised the FORT (Feedback, Opt-in, Reciprocal, Transparent) framework to encourage employees to share data for HR analytics.
4. Live demo sessions at HR Analytics conferences
Seize the chance to try out new technology for yourself, by attending hands-on demo sessions like the one Andrew Marritt gave recently. He showed in simple terms how to extract data from the web via an API, how to transform and visualise data, how to do predictive modelling in RapidMiner and how to perform an analysis of Twitter hashtags. A new demo session will be given at the People Analytics 2015 in London.
5. Management needs to support HR Analytics
HR Analytics needs a very patient high-level sponsor who constantly encourages and provides guidance. Otherwise this is what is going to be perceived:
Keywords: HR, Human Resources, HR Analytics, People Analytics, Talent, Big Data, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition, Data Driven HR, Talent Analytics, Strategic Workforce Planning