Data-Driven Dialogue: Continuing the Conversation for HR (Part 1)

There are continuing conversations in HR about people analytics, people science, HR analytics, predictives (as variously styled) and the insights we should be deriving. I often wonder whether these are the right conversations.
I am booking my place for next year’s CIPD Analytics Conference after #HRanalytics17 and, for HR Zone, I gave readers a run-down of content-packed day here. The event was a gob-smacking showcase of the work that leaders in the field, with UK territory, have managed already and I was mighty heartened for the majority that the Chair confessed to me the CIPD’s intention to hit the delegate “shock factor”.
The HR profession is right to focus on getting information out of technologies, as well as the ongoing transformation of our roles from an operative function into strategic leadership (Have we reached the C-suite yet?!). But we do not always know how to make those conversations effective. We do not know how to set our own agenda. We are enthused by vision and paralysed by the today.
This brief blog gives you 10 key questions that are the right conversations to be having amongst your internal teams and your networks.

10 Continuing Conversations for HR on People Analytics

  1. What steps do you take to advance towards a maturity on people analytics? Where on that maturity model is the right/normal/appropriate place to be now? Where do you currently sit?
  2. How do you find the right and rare skill-sets? Which do you need to build a high-performing analytics function? If to be internal, where is the best fit within the business? Reporting into HR, direct to the CEO as an independent function or elsewhere?
  3. How do we (all!) create a next-stage business case for analytics (predictive ones) that goes beyond the streamlining of operations and labour efficiency savings? And:
  4. ….In fact, how do we excite, intrigue and raise curiosity about data amongst key senior stake-holders at all? How is education and influence best achieved?
  5. Which type of technology should you invest in first, if at all? Do you understand the differences? How do you tell if your current or proposed HR solutions do what analytics can and should for you?
  6. To what extent does good data – that is clean, complete and connected – need to precede the seeking of useful insights? Do you need to get all the data right first?
  7. What is the right balance for your business benefit between quantitative and qualitative information? Even with data-driven insight, there will always be a place for professional value-judgements.
  8. What is the role of HR as guardian of the ethics of response to data requests for drill-down of people-related insight, as an understanding is shared that such insight is available?
  9. What will prove the answer to your current tussles between growing concerns both for data security (think: GDPR!) and for progression of people analytics capability?
  10. It is easy to assume that, so contextual must analytics be, that best fit for your organisation should trump best practice? Is this always and necessarily so? If so, then how will you use and yet draw a ring-fence around benchmarking exercises?

Oh, and P.S. … 
Everyone wants to know which the right questions to ask of the data are, which insights to derive, which are the “best” measures and predictions to look for! The clue is in my final question 10 (see above): you have to find your own answers. They should be the answers to the most key questions your business has to face.
How conversations are to continue
The end goal is to arrive at analytics as a service to your business. This means an iterative investigation into key business drivers with data insight. The business-as-usual service, in itself, is an ongoing data-driven dialogue.
Because the questions above are not yet answered, even amongst leaders in the field of people analytics, these are continuing conversations.
But for some immediate things you can do with “Big Data, Small Steps” look out for more here.
I also very much recommend a book reviewed on HR Zone – here which makes for a very digestible read if you have time for a full text-book.
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Written by : Laura Lee

Laura’s role as Head of Marketing sees her continually looking for new opportunities to tell the world how great Phase 3 is.

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