The focus was primarily on three key words- Analytic, HR & Impact.
Speaking about 'analytic', he focused on on how the success in using analytics lies more on asking the right questions rather than seeking the right answers. Analytics can produce the required answers but the questions asked should be intelligent & proper.
He also mentioned that HR metrics have failed in numerous occasions to provide actionable data. And hence I personally interpreted that analytics would serve that concern with predicting 'accurate' data that would give higher confidence & sharper intent to the HR for taking the right action.
A few challenges in establishing Enterprise HR analytics:
- Quantifying the linkage of HR & Business.
- Lack of technology [How many companies really have a sincere wish to invest on providing technology to HR????]
- Obtaining raw data.
- Identifying value added HR metrics.
- Integrating HR & corporate measurement.
- Subjectivity of HR metrics.
- HR staff skill gap.
- Access to metrics.
- Accountability for metrics
- Tying incentives to HR metrics.
- How to embed business insights into HR metrics?
- What cultural & behavioral change is required in HR & business?
- What are the few metrics that matter to business?
- Do we understand business SWOT & does the metrics help analyze those?
He also mentioned that the readiness of HR & business to get aligned to analytics is based on dealing with certain paradoxes:
- Democratization of IT within enterprise.
- Too much data V/S too few being useful
- Skills sufficiency V/S Skills deficiency.
He recommended us to read the book 'Competing on analytics' by Thomas H Davenport & Jeanne H Harris. He quoted from the book that 'Analytics is good but competing on analytics is better'.
He also focused on how analytics have evolved from forecasting to Predictive analysis and now 'Decision Optimization'. Hence, if HR has to truly become a 'Business Enabler' then it must embrace this evolution in analytics at the earliest.
He also emphasized on the need for ethics and values in the operation of analytics.
He gave examples of companies that leveraged analytics for better business performance like Marriott [Revenue Mgmt], Wal Mart [Supply Chain Mgmt], RBC [Cost & Customer profitability] etc.
However, the most fascinating example was that from the book Moneyball which is about Oakland Athletics that used analytics to win a major tournament. The analytics helped the team management to locate the right positions at which they were supposed to play.
Analytics has worked for complex business as well as competitive sport. It's one area that certainly needs to be leveraged. I guess the leadership team has to show the intent and the HR team must show the credibility.