火热的全球经济下人力资源应该如何适应？The Red Hot Global Economy: How Should HR Adapt?
我最近访问的一家客户是一家全球性医疗保健公司，他们的主要领导差距之一是发展“科学和临床领导者”。这些人不一定会成为首席执行官，但他们对业务至关重要 - 所以他们需要定期晋升，薪金审查和流动性。数字专家，分析专家，网络安全专家和其他需求技术人员属于同一类别。
让我们都在这里享受美好时光。是的，这个就业市场造成了很大的压力，但如果你专注于赋权，发展和引人入胜的核心 - 你的组织就能蓬勃发展。现在云层已经在地平线上了，所以我们享受阳光。
现在我认为公司必须每六个月刷新一次奖励计划。每年的速度不够快。我曾经和那些给员工半年一次审查和加薪的公司谈过，即使这在某些情况下可能还不够。我们刚刚完成的研究表明，每年不止一次重新访问薪水和奖金的公司表现优于仅每年审核报酬的公司。并确保您的透明度：现在公布大量薪酬信息 - 所以您应该公布您的薪金基准，让员工充分披露您是否支付高于或低于平均水平（当然有充分的理由）。
今年是2018年，采用微型学习策略的一年，更新您的LMS和工具，并深入了解“工作流程中的学习”的概念。我很快就会写更多内容 - 但让我提醒你，当人们觉得自己“没有学习”时，他们会离开公司。你可以解决这个问题。我们最近调查的公司中超过50％告诉我们，他们正在增加L＆D平台的预算。是时候了。顺便说一下，开始制定一个更好的职业管理工具的战略 - 这是人力资源技术中最热门的新部分，它将成为您工作未来自动化，人工智能和工作变革的保险。
让首席执行官知道人才稀少 - 他或她会真正关心。如果您需要聘用更多招聘人员，投资新的开发计划，或从根本上改变工作模式以适应，您需要他们的帮助才能迅速动员。在竞争激烈的时期，首席执行官希望尽其所能帮助，所以要抓住机遇。（2018年会议委员会首席执行官研究称“缺乏关键技能”成为今天的首要业务挑战。）
关于作者：Josh Bersin是Deloitte，Deloitte Consulting LLP 的创始人和负责人 ，Deloitte Consulting LLP是一家领先的研究和咨询公司，专注于企业领导力，人才，学习以及工作与生活的交叉。
We are living in interesting times. For the first time in decades the entire global economy is growing. Unemployment rates are reaching a 30 year low, salaries are beginning to rise, and employers are competing heavily for a new set of skills. (“Machine learning skills” are now the hottest according to LinkedIn, a job that has increased in demand by almost 10 times in the last five years.)
We see lots of evidence that the job market is red hot. According to a recent study by ADP, almost 5% of the US workforce now changes jobs every month, and 60% of this is voluntary. Why are people changing jobs? The ADP research, which studied more than 14 million employees, says the #1 issue is salary. People are finding higher paid positions so they move.
While this is all good for the economy, it will be increasingly hard on employers. As I remember during the year 2000 "dot-com" time (and later crash), during these periods of high employment the job market becomes hyper-competitive, salaries go up, and employers have to work harder to attract skilled people. As the chart below shows, this is what is happening now. We are nearing an unemployment rate not seen since the Korean War.
Fig 1: Unemployment Rate Near Record Low
CEOs Feel the Pinch
This issue has now reached the board room. The latest Conference Board CEO research shows that “finding and retaining talent” is now the #1 issue on the mind of CEOs. Executives are worried about organizational skills, their leadership pipeline, retention and engagement, and their employment brand. And people with in-demand skills (e.g. engineers, specialists, sales people, etc.) are starting to behave like movie stars: lobbying for high salaries, comparing employers against each other, and expecting companies to continuously improve the work experience.
I just attended a top 200 leadership event for a large global company and the #1 topic on peoples minds were how to attract more high-potentials into the company, grow the leadership pipeline, and plan for skill and job changes as automation changes work. The CEO personally asked each and every manager to "take responsibility for building your leadership pipeline."
The Pressure Is On for HR
We in HR are on the hook to deal with this issue. The topics of employment brand, employee engagement, and the employee experience are being discussed in every HR department. One of our global clients has embarked on a project to develop "employee personas" for all their 100,000+ people, all with the intention to learn how to understand and improve their work experience at every level in the company.
And these things matter. If your company is not well respected or has low ratings on social media websites, you are now finding it harder and harder to recruit. And while business may be good, it may be better somewhere else. Sales people, engineers, scientists, products specialists, and even entry level employees tend to move to faster growing companies, often leaving troubled companies in waves.
This economic environment is forcing us to change the priorities in HR. In today's economy I encourage HR teams to focus on productivity, engagement, and retention and it's now time to look carefully at your rewards and fringe benefits. Most companies are now building programs for well-being, they are modernizing the work environment, and many have implemented programs like free lunch, free dinner, free laundry, and free gym and exercise programs. Here in Silicon Valley, there has been an escalating war for employee benefits for years. If you don’t offer people a gourmet breakfast, lunch, (and often dinner) you simply cannot attract engineers. People consider these benefits a part of their compensation, and they compare the cost of food in their job offers.
I’ve been through several of these economic cycles in my career, and my experience shows that while many employees stay where they are, high-potentials, people in revenue-generating roles, and experienced leaders have lots of opportunities, so we have to watch them closely.
Move People Faster. Broaden Your Definition of Potential.
There are many things to think about in an economy like this. One is to rethink your traditional succession management program and find a way to offer growth and progression on a more continuous basis. Just like we have been implementing continuous performance management, organizations now need to offer more regular promotions (one company I met with offers "half-level promotions" twice per year), more developmental assignments, and more opportunities to learn than ever before.
In the past we sat down once a year and tried to figure out who our few "high-potentials" (HIPO) were. Today I'd suggest you re-engineer that entire process, so everyone can benefit from growth on a regular basis.
Here is a suggestion how. In the past we always defined a HIPO as someone who could "move up two levels in the company." Today I'd suggest there are at least three types of leadership we want to recognize:
Business leadership: people who can "run a business" or drive a P&L
Technical leadership: people who are technical experts or can lead technical teams
Team or Project leadership: people who can lead projects, initiatives, and programs.
This greatly broadens your leadership pipeline, and gives nearly everyone an opportunity to grow and aspire to a more responsible, rewarding position.
Fig 2: Three Types of Leaders Demand Expanded Succession Grids
A client I recently visited is a global healthcare company, and one of their key leadership gaps is developing "scientific and clinical leaders." These are not necessarily people who would become the CEO, but they are critical to the business - so they warrant regular promotion, salary review, and mobility. Digital experts, analytics experts, cyber security experts, and other in-demand technical people are in the same category.
Deliver Learning In The Flow Of Work
If you can't promote people regularly, remember that an enormous driver of retention is an employee's "ability to learn." Even when promotions are hard to find, people are engaged when they feel that "this job is really taking me someplace." This is a problem of creating a learning environment, building a growth mindset in leaders, and giving people a culture of learning regardless of their role.
While L&D has been a troubled profession for the last few years (we found a negative net-promoter rating in 2017), I"m happy to say that now it is relatively easy to address this. This is the year to invest in micro-learning, learning experience platforms, self-authored content, video-learning, and all the cultural aspects of learning we have been talking about for decades. And you can actually deliver learning "in the flow of work," making it more relevant and consumable than ever. (You can view my presentation on this below.)
Is HR ready for this? I believe so.
Over the last year I have been meeting with some of the most iconic companies in the world, and their HR teams are adapting. Today they are focused on career management, the employee experience, more innovative rewards programs, and all sorts of interesting learning, digital productivity and well-being strategies.
Let’s all enjoy the good times while they’re here. Yes this job market creates a lot of stress, but if you focus on the core of empowering, developing, and engaging people – your organization can thrive. The clouds are out on the horizon for now, so let’s enjoy the sun.
Five HR strategies for a hot economy.
1. Focus on employment brand.
Understand and study how candidates view your company ,and bring this information back to your CEO and top business leaders so you can push your management to improve culture, engagement, and the work environment. Today you can use Glassdoor, LinkedIn, your own engagement surveys, pulse surveys, stay interviews, anonymous surveys, and lots of other listening devices to know how you are perceived in the market. You should apply for "best places to work" awards wherever possible, which will also up your game and push you to make the work experience better.
2. Keep salaries and benefits current.
Right now I believe companies have to refresh their rewards programs every six months. Annually is just not fast enough. I’ve talked with companies that give employees reviews and raises semi-annually and even this may not be enough in some cases. We just completed research that shows that companies that revisit salaries and bonus more than once per year outperform those that only review compensation annually. And make sure you are transparent: a tremendous amount of compensation information is now public – so you should publish your salary benchmarks against peers, giving employees full disclosure about whether you are paying above or below average (with good justification of course).
3. Get a team focused on understanding the employee journey, and focus on the end to end employee experience.
This means everything from candidate to new hire to first day, first month, first quarter, first year, first promotion, and on. The concepts of design thinking are well understood now, so you need to use them to build a digital-enabled experience that helps people thrive throughout their career. The best place to start is with a high turnover employee group (ie. often first year retail employees) so you can get a good design thinking project under your belt. Then once you get good at it you can create employee journeys for various job transitions and look at ways to make them better. At Deloitte we call this "moments that matter."
4. Re-engineer your L&D strategy.
This year, 2018, is the year to adopt a micro-learning strategy, refresh your LMS and tools, and get behind the concepts of “learning in the flow of work.” I’ll be writing a lot more on this soon – but let me remind you, people leave companies when they feel they are “not learning.” You can fix this. More than 50% of the companies we recently surveyed told us they are increasing budget for L&D platforms. It's time. And by the way, start building a strategy for better career management tools too - this is the hottest new segment in HR technology and it will become your insurance for automation, AI, and job changes from the future of work.
5. Keep the CEO and senior leadership informed.
Get your analytics program in shape and make sure you know where skills, leadership, engagement, and retention gaps are high. Let the CEO know where talent is thin - he or she will really care. You will need their help to mobilize quickly if you need to hire more recruiters, invest in a new development program, or radically change job models to adapt. In times of competitive growth CEOs want to do everything they can to help, so take advantage of the opportunity. (Conference Board 2018 CEO study cited "lack of critical skills" as the #1 business challenge today.)
Bottom Line: It's time to adjust your HR strategies to deal with the competitive, skills-centric market ahead. Tune up your recruitment, focus on driving an inclusive and generationally diverse culture, and make sure you have your career management and learning on the front burner. Nobody knows how long this economic boom will last, but for now there's a war for talent, and we have to arm ourselves to deal with it.
About the Author: Josh Bersin is the founder and Principal of Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, a leading research and advisory firm focused on corporate leadership, talent, learning, and the intersection between work and life.
Josh is a published author on Forbes, a LinkedIn Influencer, and has appeared on Bloomberg, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal, and speaks at industry conferences and to corporate HR departments around the world.
然后他引用去年最受欢迎的圣诞礼物是Alexa机器人 - 突显了我们生活中不断变化的技术进步。
在与人力资源部门进行技术整合时，人们普遍感受到空气中的恐惧，但贝尔辛还有其他想法。他说：“我们听说过人工智能将如何接管我们的工作，并消除我们所做的大量工作。我们拥有的计算机和技术越多，创造的就业机会就越多。在美国，我们几乎低于4％的失业率; 很多工作已经创建 - 他们只是不同类型的工作。“
“员工不知所措。我认为生产力放缓的原因之一是因为我们被电子邮件，文本，社交媒体分心 - 这是一种认知过载。“
他继续说道：“如果我们发现很难吸引和留住人才 - 为什么人力资源专业人员会让我们的生产力受到影响？”Bersin呼吁与会者更有效地使用技术，以便衡量参与度，这是任何人力资源部门最感兴趣的领域。有趣的是，Bersin分享了Glassdoor的一个事实，显示2008年（在经济衰退期间）平均参与分数是3.11，现在10年后，他们已经上升到3.2 - 这并没有太大差别，清楚地表明需要改变。
“员工不知所措。我认为生产力放缓的原因之一是因为我们被电子邮件，文本和社交媒体分心 - 这是一种认知负荷，“Bersin解释说。
当试图定义影响工作人员的问题时，员工的体验数据至关重要。文化是其中的重要组成部分 - 定义使命和价值观的企业随着时间的推移胜过同行8倍; 当人们融入组织的文化时，他们会对公司的评价更高。为人们提供更健康的工作体验并考虑他们的整体福利也很重要，这需要进入人力资源领域的绩效领域。例如，希望重新设计工作场所可以通过帮助包容性，公平性和业务的整体透明度产生积极影响。
在二十一世纪初，我们经历了一次综合人才管理浪潮，之后我们出现了基于云计算且易于使用的产品（例如参与系统），但工作经验没有得到改善。我们可以聪明地工作，并使用新技术将团队带到一起; 例如，我们可以使用工具自动调查您定期发送电子邮件的人员的技能反馈，然后指导您使用这些技能 - 这些技能将由AI驱动。我们需要一个新的系统来帮助我们管理团队。作为一个人力资源团队，你应该与IT人员讨论这种基于团队的新工具，因为他们将成为未来的人力资源平台。“更多的CEO认为未来的工作是以人为中心的，吨。差不多三分之二的首席执行官认为成为数字业务的关键是拥有新技术，但事实并非如此 - 人是关键。作为首席生产力官，人力资源部门应该扮演一个新的角色，“Bersin总结道。
Josh Bersin: HR's Essential Role In The New World Of Work
“What we’re doing in HR now is more important than what I’ve seen in my 20 years as an analyst. HR has an essential role in the new world of work,” Bersin said.
A new world of technology
Bersin discussed the enormous impact of technology within these new working climates, explaining that he’d been in the technology industry for most of his career. He gave the audience a brief
timeline, indicating how most technology failed to work at the beginning of his career, then juxtaposed that with the example of Elon Musk recently shooting a Tesla car into space – and doing so successfully. He then cited that the most popular Christmas present last year was the Alexa robot – highlighting the ever-changing technological advancements we are living among.
There is a feeling of widespread apprehension in the air when technology integration is addressed with HR, but Bersin has other ideas. He said: “We’ve heard about how artificial intelligence is going to take over our jobs and eliminate a lot of the work we do. The more computers and technology we have, the more jobs are created. In the US we’re almost below a 4% unemployment rate; lots of jobs have been created – they’re just different types of jobs.”
Bersin explained that there’s been recent research done that studied all jobs created since the 2008 recession, and found that 98% of them are entirely new jobs. These mainly being alternative work agreements, allowing for more flexibility within roles.
“Employees are overwhelmed. I think one of the reasons productivity is slowing down is because we are distracted by emails, texts, social media – it’s a cognitive overload.”
Retention and productivity
On the topic of job creation, Bersin stated that the unemployment rate now is at an all-time low, jobs are everywhere, and CEOs know this. He said: “Right now the number one issue in business is attracting and retaining talent.”
He continued: “If we are finding it difficult to attract and retain talent – why, as HR professionals, are we allowing productivity to suffer?” Bersin urged attendees to use technology much more effectively, allowing it to measure engagement, which is one of the biggest areas of interest to any HR function. Interestingly Bersin shared a Glassdoor fact, showing that in 2008 (during the recession) average engagement scores were 3.11 and now 10 years later, they’ve risen to 3.2 – which isn’t much of a difference, clearly showing the need for change.
“Employees are overwhelmed. I think one of the reasons productivity is slowing down is because we are distracted by emails, texts, social media – it’s a cognitive overload,” Bersin explained. He then went onto discuss the issues millennials face, and how a recent study showed that two-thirds of millennials believe their own economic wellbeing will be less fortunate than their parents. Bersin urged organisations to take a more rounded and citizenship role within wider society.
Bersin indicated that three areas of HR need to be developed:
Technology and AI
Talent attraction and retention
Productivity and wellbeing
A new future of work
To enter into this new and very changeable world of work, Bersin advised leaders to take a deeper look at five ways in which they can improve the overall working experience for employees:
A new organisational structure
A huge issue for companies is the inability to operate digitally because the organisation’s structure stifles it. Companies are often organised around an industrial model that no longer works. Digital companies need to embrace and incorporate agile networks of teams, which are independent, yet interlinked groups with an optimum number of five within each group. People gravitate towards teams when they’re physically co-located, and formalities are taken away. Physical proximity creates intimacy and relationships, which will help improve engagement and productivity and create a shared culture along with shared leadership and potentially new talent practices.
Be a coach not a boss, we need managers that empower people, build teams, coach people, and collect feedback. Therefore, we now need a different type of leader. If we consider that historically feedback would be carried out once per year in surveys and appraisals, we now (at Deloitte) have a continuous feedback process. Continuous performance management has certainly arrived, which helps coach, develop and identify poor performance. Only 4% of top management is aware of issues within organisations, but with this new wave of technology these tools can enable employees to provide real-time feedback.
When trying to define the issues that affect people at work employee experience data is crucial. Culture is a significant part of this – companies that define a mission and values outperform peers eight-fold over time; when people fit into the organisation’s culture they will rate your company higher. It’s also important to give people a healthier working experience and consider their overall wellbeing, which needs to move into the area of performance within HR. For example, looking to redesign the workplace could have a positive impact by helping with inclusion, fairness and the overall transparency of the business.
In a world of ever-changing jobs, we need to build better career models and consider the aging workforce. How can we find roles for more senior people? Jobs are becoming stark contrasts between tech and soft skills. People can be retrained for the jobs of future with only 1 years’ worth of education. This option allows people to adapt and gain more skills, and leaders should be seizing this opportunity.
Embrace new technology
In the early 2000s, we went through an integrated talent management wave, after which we had the emergence of products that were cloud-based and easy-to-use (e.g. systems of engagement), but the work experience hasn’t improved. We can be smart with our working and use new technology to bring teams together; for instance, we can use tools to automatically survey people you email on regular basis to feedback on skills and then coach you on those skills – which will be driven by AI. We need a new breed of system to help us manage teams. As an HR team, you should talk to IT about this new breed of team-based tools, as they will become the HR platforms of the future.“More CEOs understand the job of the future is people-centric, but a lot don’t. Almost two-thirds of CEOs think that the key to becoming a digital business is to have new technology, but this isn’t so – people are the key. HR should have a new role, as Chief Productivity Officer,” Bersin concluded.
在争夺最佳人才方面，员工的体验越来越重要Josh Bersin教你五大策略来最大化员工体验在争夺最佳人才方面，员工的体验越来越重要，人力资源需要关注授权，发展和吸引人才进入热门就业市场的核心优势，Josh Bersin写道。
让我们都在这里享受美好时光。是的，这个热门的就业市场造成了很大的压力，但如果你专注于赋权，发展和引人入胜的核心优势 - 你就会蓬勃发展。现在云层在地平线上，让我们享受阳光吧。
保持当前的工资和福利。现在我认为公司必须每六个月刷新一次奖励计划。每年都不够快。我曾经和那些给员工半年一次审查和加薪的公司谈过，即使这在某些情况下可能还不够。现在公布大量的薪酬信息 - 员工可以找到它，所以您应该领先于此。
重新设计您的L＆D战略。今年是2018年，采用微型学习策略的一年，更新您的LMS和工具，并深入了解“工作流程中的学习”的概念。我很快就会写更多内容 - 但让我提醒你，当人们觉得自己“没有学习”时，他们会离开公司。你可以解决这个问题。
Josh Bersin’s top 5 strategies to maximise the employee experience
The employee experience is increasingly important in the battle for the best talent, and HR needs to focus on core strengths of empowering, developing and engaging people in a hot jobs market, writes Josh Bersin
We are living in interesting times. For the first time in decades the entire global economy is growing. Unemployment rates are almost at a 30 year low, salaries are finally starting to rise, and employers are competing vigorously for a new set of skills (“machine learning skills” are now the hottest according to LinkedIn, a job that has increased in demand by almost 10 times in the last five years.)
But there is a small grey cloud over this horizon. As I remember quite well during the 2000 stock market crash, during very high growth economic times the job market becomes very difficult and employers have to shift their strategies.
Suddenly everyone is competing for the same talent (Conference Board CEO research indicates that “finding and retaining talent” is now the #1 issue on the mind of CEOs), companies start to worry about HR strategies and their leadership pipeline, and job candidates start hopping around quickly. In fact people with in-demand skills suddenly start to behave like movie stars, lobbying for high salaries, comparing employers, and further pushing companies to improve their employment brand.
For HR leaders the whole topic of the “employee experience” suddenly becomes a make or break issue. If your company is not well respected, highly rated on social media websites, and considered a “growing place to work,” you find it harder and harder to attract talent. Sure most people don’t change jobs that often, but people with very unique skills start to move around. Salespeople, engineers, products specialists, and even entry-level employees start to move to the fastest growing companies, leaving the slow growth companies in waves.
“For HR leaders the whole topic of the ’employee experience’ suddenly becomes a make or break issue”
New challenges for HR
The problem with this situation is that it creates a whole new stress on HR. Suddenly companies are focused on the employee experience, productivity, engagement, retention, benefits, rewards, and things like well-being, fringe benefits, the work environment, and all sorts of strange things like free lunch, free dinner, free laundry, and free gym and exercise programs. Here in Silicon Valley, where I live, if you don’t give people a gourmet breakfast, lunch, (and often dinner) you simply cannot attract engineers. This escalating war of benefits keeps going up.
I’ve been through many of these cycles in my career, and my personal experiences shows that many people just plow along and stay where they are, benefiting from the improved economy. But high potentials and leaders can find new jobs easily, so we have to watch them closely. And most companies are re-engineering their programs for succession management, facilitated talent mobility, onboarding, on-demand learning, and career development, so there is a lot to do.
And worst of all, as I remember in the year 2001 and 2008, this all will eventually come to a crashing end. Sometime in the future this global growth will stop, and we will all wonder if these expensive, employee-centric programs are affordable. I remember the theme of our 2008 IMPACT conference was “doing less with less.” We aren’t there now, but it will come eventually.
Refocusing strategies on the employee experience
Is HR ready for this? Absolutely. I have been traveling around meeting with some of the most iconic and important companies in the world, and their HR teams are refocusing on career management, the employee experience, new rewards programs, and all sorts of interesting digital productivity and wellbeing strategies.
Let’s all enjoy the good times while they’re here. Yes, this hot job market creates a lot of stress, but if you focus on your core strengths of empowering, developing, and engaging people – you will thrive. The clouds are out on the horizon for now, let’s enjoy the sun.
“If you don’t give people a gourmet breakfast, lunch, (and often dinner) you simply cannot attract engineers”
5 strategies for maximising the employee experience in the new global economy
Focus on employment brand. Understand and study how candidates view your company, and bring this information back to your CEO and top business leaders so you can push your management to improve culture, engagement, and the work environment.
Keep salaries and benefits current. Right now I believe companies have to refresh their rewards programs every six months. Annually is just no fast enough. I’ve talked with companies that give employees reviews and raises semi-annually and even this may not be enough in some cases. A tremendous amount of compensation information is now public – employees can find it so you should get ahead of this.
Focus on understanding the employee journey, and focus on the end-to-end employee experience. This means everything from candidate to new hire to first day, first month, first quarter, first year, first promotion, and on. The concepts of design thinking are well understood now, so you need to use them to build a digital-enabled experience that helps people thrive throughout their career.
Re-engineer your L&D strategy. This year, 2018, is the year to adopt a micro-learning strategy, refresh your LMS and tools, and get behind the concepts of “learning in the flow of work.” I’ll be writing a lot more on this soon – but let me remind you, people leave companies when they feel they are “not learning.” You can fix this.
Keep the CEO and senior leadership informed. Let him or her know your retention rate, how hard it is to hire, and what areas of the business are suffering from talent shortages or skills gaps. You will need their help to mobilise quickly if you need to hire more recruiters, invest in a new development program, or radically change job models to adapt. In times of competitive growth CEOs want to do everything they can to help, so take advantage of the opportunity.
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那么现在这个域被称为人们的分析，它已经成为一个快速增长的核心业务举措。一项题为“ 高影响力人物分析 ”的研究报告由Deloitte在去年11月由Bersin完成，发现69％的大型组织拥有人员分析团队，并积极构建与人员相关数据的综合存储。
Fredrick Taylor, an industrial engineer, started this trend in 1911 when he published his report Scientific Management, which studied the movement and behaviour of factory workers in steel mills. Since then companies have deployed thousands of engagement surveys, studied the characteristics of top leaders, done countless reviews of retention and turnover, and built massive human resources data warehouses. All in an effort to figure out “what can we do to get more out of our people?”
Well now this domain is called people analytics and it has become a fast-growing, core-business initiative. A study, entitled High-Impact People Analytics and completed last November by Bersin by Deloitte, found that 69 per cent of large organisations have a people analytics team and are actively building an integrated store of people-related data.
Why the growth and why the business imperative? Several technical and business factors have collided to make this topic so important.
Firstly, organisations have more people-related data than ever before. Thanks to the proliferation of office productivity tools, employee badge readers, pulse surveys, integrated enterprise resource planning systems and monitoring devices at work, companies have vast amounts of detailed data about their people.
Companies now know who people are communicating with, their location and travel schedules, their salary, job history and training plans. New tools for organisational network analysis, built into email platforms, can tell leaders who is communicating with whom, new tools for audio and facial recognition identify who is under stress, and video cameras and heat sensors can even identify how much time people spend at their desks.
It could be argued that much of this information is confidential and private, but most employees don’t mind organisations capturing this data, as long as they know it is being done to improve their work experience, as shown in 2015 Conference Board research, Big Data Doesn’t Mean Big Brother. While European Union General Data Protection Regulation standards, enforceable from May 25, will put the burden of privacy and governance on HR departments, employers are stepping up to this and treating such data with great care.
Secondly, as a result of having access to all this data, companies can now learn important and powerful things. Not only are executives being forced to report on topics such as diversity, gender pay equity and turnover, but they can also now use people analytics to understand productivity, skills gaps and long-term trends that might threaten or create risk in their business.
One organisation, for example, found incidents of fraud and theft were “contagious”, causing similar bad behaviour among other employees on the same floor within a certain distance. Another is using sentiment analysis software to measure “mood” in the organisation and can identify teams with high-risk projects just from the patterns of their communication.
Many organisations now study turnover and can even predict it before it occurs by monitoring email and social network behaviour, enabling managers to coach high performers before they resign. Organisations now use analytics and artificial intelligence or AI to decode job descriptions, identifying words and phrases that create biased recruitment pools and prevent gender and racial diversity. Manufacturers use people analytics to identify workers who are likely to have accidents, while consulting firms can predict who is likely to be burnt out from too much travel and automotive companies now know why certain teams get projects done on time when others are always late.
AI is, therefore, entering the domain, giving it even more power and scale. A new AI-based people analytics tool sends anonymous emails to a manager’s peers asking simple questions to assess managerial skills. Through its carefully designed algorithms, it gives managers an unthreatening set of recommendations and has improved managerial effectiveness by 8 per cent in only three months.
For human resources departments, people analytics is now the number-one reason companies want to replace or upgrade their HR software, according to the Sierra-Cedar 2017 HR Systems Survey.
But for chief executives, chief financial officers and chief operating officers, it’s even more important. When a sales team is behind its quota attainment or a store’s sales numbers fall behind, why wouldn’t a leader ask “what’s different about the people, practices and managers at those teams that we may be able to address?” Or an even bigger question is “if we want to grow our business by acquiring a given company in Germany, what will the cultural and organisational impact be?” These critical strategic questions can all be answered by people analytics.
The history of this discipline is tactical and somewhat arcane. For years industrial psychologists led the effort and focused primarily on employee engagement and turnover. Today, however, the industry is taking on a new light, refocusing its energy on operational, sales, risk and performance measures. The technology tools are here and companies have AI engineers ready to analyse the data in a powerful and predictive way. And analysts say this domain will grow for years to come; remember that for most businesses, labour costs are the largest and most controllable expense on the balance sheet.
The bottom line is clear: people analytics can now become a strategic competitive advantage. Companies that focus in this area can out-hire, out-manage and out-perform their competitors.