Have you ever thought of comparing HR Analytics to a fight against a dragon with many heads? Greek mythology is great for inspiration, so let us check the analogy.
According to the legend Heracles requested to make up for a bad action, so King Eurystheus set him 12 tasks. The second of the twelve tasks was to slay the Hydra, which was a snake-like creature with nine heads that lived in a swamp near Lerna on the Peloponnese peninsula. Both its blood and breath were poisonous. Heracles fired flaming arrows and confronted the Hydra, wielding a club. In the place of the head he cut off, two new ones grew forth each time.
Even Heracles, known for his extraordinary strength and courage, called on Iolaus, his faithful servant and nephew, to help him out when struggling with this tricky situation.
King Eurystheus did not count the task, as Heracles had received external help. Nonetheless it is interesting to note that Heracles would later use in his remaining tasks arrows dipped in the Hydra’s poisonous blood to kill other foes.
Fighting with the various dimensions
HR Analytics is all about balancing various dimensions. Chopping one head off does not mean winning the fight. Managing a balanced blend is key to succeed.
- Business relevant research assignments are critical. HR needs to keep asking senior management what is keeping them awake at night.
- Statistical data models need to be constructed to help make better decisions than in the absence of them.
- It is crucial to collect high quality data from within and from outside the organisation about staff and to spend time in cleaning the data.
- HR analytics needs to be appropriately integrated into business processes in a way that decision makers can use the insights easily. If the data show that action has to be taken, then action needs to be taken.
- Building a common understanding on HR definitions is important. Consistency both aligns and adds credibility to established processes and functions. Terminology takes time to settle down.
- IT technology is needed to capture, analyse and quickly produce and distribute analytical insights across the organisation, but data driven HR decisions have to take place, otherwise simply more data is generated that no one will use.
- The analytics team needs to be able to communicate insights appropriately with inspiring story telling and interactive visualisations.
- Data collection has to be agreed in advance with the employees and has to produce benefits also for them, in total respect of privacy laws.
Call Iolaus, your faithful servant
Before heading off and implementing HR analytics tout court, I recommend collecting information on the current status of the “HR Analytics maturity model”. The results will help in setting priorities. Several vendors offer a simple and effective questionnaire, which quickly visualises the current status of an organisation.
There are numerous reasons why companies turn to outsourcing HR Analytics, but the most important one is that building analytical capability takes a long time to impact in an organisation. ERP systems do not do enough to run the business better, although those are great in producing data.
Unparalleled advantage in the successive tasks
Heracles treated the points of his arrows from his dragon and got unparalleled advantage in the successive tasks. When used correctly, HR Analytics can deliver unique value to an organisation. The whole point of HR Analytics is to improve decisions that go beyond just human judgment. The potential for HR to reinvent itself through data is huge.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Comments are always welcome.