Josh Bersin, CEO, President, Bersin & Associates, HR is a science, you have to measure the performance continuously...
Slowly but surely analytics is coming to the HR department. More and more companies now realize that their traditional approach to managing people data isn't driving the business value they need, driving the creation of a new generation of talent analytic strategies. And what BigData will do is let us walk away from some of our long held beliefs about what makes people perform.Questioning Executive Beliefs about What Drives Sales Success
One company is a large service provider who hires thousands of sales people every year. The generally accepted "beliefs" among executives are that top performers come from brand name colleges, have good grades and have demonstrated leadership abilities in their prior positions.
This is typical, by the way. Most companies are filled with decisions being made based on "gut feel," or "basic beliefs" - but many are not really grounded in data. When you really take on HR as a science, you start to let the data tell the story.
In this case the company did an analysis of the turnover, sales performance, and productivity ramp of several thousand sales people over several years. What they found was that high-performers in their sales organization met six key criteria:
1. They had no typos or grammatical errors on their resume.
2. They obtained some college degree and did not drop out. (The actual degree did not matter.)
3. They had experience selling real-estate or autos.
4. They had demonstrated success making quote and achieving success.
5. They were able to perform under "vague instructions" (tested through assessment and interviews)
6. They were excellent at multi-tasking and following up on tasks.
What did NOT matter was:
1. What school or degree they went to.
2. What grades they got in school.
3. What their references said about them.
Using this information, the company altered its screening and hiring process significantly, and within the next six months found a $4.5 Million increase in revenue over their traditional runrate (this is a big company).
Data-Driven Decisions Can Transform your Business
In HR we deal with a lot of vague and difficult decisions: who to hire, who to promote, who to move into a new position, what training and coaching a person needs, how much to pay people, etc. These are "imperfect" decisions - there is never a true "right" and "wrong."
So there is a huge tendency to act on experience, gut-feel, basic beliefs, and tradition.
When you start to use BigData in HR, you can throw this out the window. In fact, if you use a scientific model for decision-making, you would tend to use history and beliefs to "color" the data, not in reverse.
We recently published our BigData in HR research, which includes a detailed maturity model and roadmap you can follow to build analytic capabilities in your organization. While there are a lot of tools in the market to help, our research shows that this is not a "tools" problem at all - it is a new way of thinking and a new set of skills you need in your HR team.-Josh Bersin CEO, President, Bersin & Associates