Photo: Drew Beamer

New Research Indicates Desire for Recognition, Feedback

In the past several months, many companies have modified their performance programs. From streamlining their review processes to running more frequent pulse surveys, organizations around the world are seeking to make changes that will ultimately boost employee performance and productivity.

Our company, Reflektive, sought to measure these changes with a performance management survey. In June we reached out to 445 HR professionals and business leaders, and 622 employees, to understand the current state of their performance programs. We compared these results to a similar survey we ran in 2018. Our 2020 Performance Management Benchmark Report uncovered meaningful performance management trends over the past two years, as well as insights into the current state of work.

Formal Processes of Performance Management Consistent Since 2018

A surprising observation was that the formal processes of performance management have not changed significantly over the last two years. Nearly half of reviews are run annually or less frequently. Forty-six percent of respondents use descriptive performance ratings, such as “meets expectations.” 

People Analytics Present Big Opportunity

The survey also found that only 50% of HR and business leaders are using people analytics to predict performance and turnover. What’s interesting is that most leaders believe that people analytics has become more important, however they’re still not utilizing this technology to inform strategic people decisions. This gap can really impact workforce planning, as organizations struggle to fill needs when employees depart.

Employees Desire More Communication and Transparency from Companies

The employee survey results revealed that workers seek more communication to stay informed and engaged at work. Nearly half of respondents desire more consistent communication from leadership, and 37% said more consistent communication was needed from colleagues. 

In a similar vein, we found that employees sought more transparency from their employers. Only 19% of employees believed that their organization was transparent about upward mobility. Twenty-one percent said their company was communicative about salary freezes, and the same percentage said that their org was transparent about potential pay cuts. Employees are cognizant of the pandemic’s economic toll, and would like their companies to be honest with them about the business impact.

Employees Seek More Feedback and Coaching for their Growth

Another interesting insight we uncovered was that employees want more from their performance programs. Specifically, they’re looking for increased coaching, dialogue and recognition from their managers. Since 2018, there’s been a 3.2X increase in the percentage of employees that desire recognition. We also observed a nearly 90% increase in the percentage of employees that desire formal feedback conversations monthly or more frequently.

A performance bright spot was the manager-employee relationship. Over 80% of employees surveyed said that they are having 1:1s with their managers. Additionally, 80% said that these meetings were productive. This data was really uplifting to me, since driving alignment and communication can be tricky when everyone is working remotely.

However, we did identify a major communication gap: only 20% of employees reported that they receive weekly feedback. So it appears that managers and employees are talking regularly about ongoing work and projects, but employees still aren’t receiving the coaching that they desire. This represents a huge opportunity for managers — they can benefit from training on how to ask important questions, and how to provide valuable feedback on a more regular basis. Performance management technology — including feedback prompts and 1:1 tools — can help drive productive coaching conversations too.

Getting Feedback Remains Challenging for Employees

One interesting discrepancy between leaders and employees was sentiment around initiating feedback conversations. Only 14% of HR professionals and business leaders felt that employees weren’t empowered to initiate feedback conversations. However, 30% of employees — or over 2X the percentage of leaders — felt that they weren’t empowered to request feedback. This discrepancy indicates that HR teams and leaders are overestimating employee comfort with feedback processes. Employee training on giving and receiving feedback, and an easy-to-use feedback tool, can help fill this gap.

Executives and Employees Remain Optimistic for the Future

While sentiment and outlooks are continuously evolving in 2020, both executives and employees remain optimistic about the future. Specifically, executives anticipate more investment in technology (35% of respondents) and more efforts to boost engagement and retain employees (29% of respondents). 

Employees anticipate that six months from now, it will be business as usual (34% of respondents). Additionally, 26% expect to have learned new skills, and 25% believe they’ll feel proud of their accomplishments. Despite the many headwinds that they’re facing, employees feel that they will come out of 2020 stronger and more prepared for the future.

As employees, HR teams, and executives navigate the ever-changing environment, agility and resilience will be crucial. The ability to work productively in different environments, and collaborate cross-functionally, will be highly valued. Companies that maintain engaged and productive workforces will be the success stories of 2020.

This post is sponsored by Reflektive.

Photo: Jeremiah Lawrence

Closing Analytics Talent Gaps: College to Career

Nearly all organizations are struggling to find top talent and identify best practices for aligning college and career pathways. Moreover, there is a substantial talent gap when it comes to early-career hires. Recent research from Strada/Gallup found that while 95 percent of chief academic officers felt graduates were prepared, only 11 percent of business leaders felt that recent hires possessed the necessary skills to be successful at the start of their careers.  

 The solution lies in getting all the components right, which means aligning the right skills, taught in the right academic programs, to the right students, who are ready to work at the right companies. 

The Demand Challenge

For educational institutions, increased interaction with employers will likely better prepare students to enter the labor market. These relationships will help institutions develop programs and curricula designed to prepare students with the most in-demand knowledge and skills to compete in the job market. The ten emerging tech jobs for 2020 — as forecasted by Emsi, a labor market analytics firm — point to a continually evolving digital landscape. Some of these jobs reflect nascent technologies, while others exemplify how quickly yesterday’s innovations have become standard operating functions today. The list is telling, including Cloud Data Engineer, Site Reliability Engineer/Developer, MVC (Model View Controller) Developer, Data Analytics Specialist, Cyber Defense Engineer, Visual Interaction Designer, and Infrastructure Developer. 

As higher education faces declining enrollment (some of which is triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic), ensuring that students receive the training they need for the most in-demand skills is essential. A better connection between educators and employers could mean that curricula are adjusted more quickly to reflect labor market needs. In turn, this could enable educational institutions to not only provide up-to-date training and enablement, but also increase enrollment as a result.  

Aligning College and Career Pathways

To close the competency gap and find top early-career talent, it may not be enough for companies to simply post positions in a variety of places and engage prospective employees at college career fairs. Many academic programs partner with workforce organizations who work with a variety of employers to help their students with data projects, internships, and in-demand skill-building to help ensure their students are more competitive on the job market.  

In the data science and analytics space, SAS Academic Programs is one of the leading workforce analytics organizations. Recently, I spoke with Lynn Letukas, Director of Global Academic Programs at SAS, a leading analytics software company, to better understand the tools and strategies that align great early-career talent to top employers.    

As Letukas explained, “SAS is uniquely positioned to align college and career pathways because our analytical solutions are used by 90 of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies, so employers look to us to gain a competitive advantage in their hiring needs. Programs at colleges and universities that teach SAS also look to us to help their students obtain those in-demand jobs.” SAS does not just work with large multinational companies, as Letukas explained, “Through our work with Fortune 500 companies, we gained considerable expertise on best practices for building college-career pathways and now, we’re broadening that work through the use of a scalable solution that can help any company fill their early-career talent needs.”  

In an effort to offer a more expansive opportunity for prospective employees and employers, SAS recently partnered with Handshake to help customers identify top early-career talent.  Letukas explained, “We are very excited to work with Handshake on a scalable solution so that nearly any organization looking to find top talent in the analytics and data science space will have more equitable access to the talent pipeline. By expanding the scalability of talent connections, we are helping to facilitate a more unified college and career pathway.”  

A New Approach

What’s notable about this new paradigm in talent sourcing is that it returns to an age-old tradition of higher education as the provider of talent — armed with not only the traditional breadth of knowledge, but competencies that remain viable into the future. At the same time it circumvents a rising issue in education: not all students who are aiming for jobs in the technology sector are choosing obvious majors, and a large proportion don’t settle into careers related to their majors at all. 

As reported by CareerBuilder, half of college graduates do not go into the field of their university major and one third never work in the field of their major. Further, an Emsi report on college students’ early career tracks indicates that the typical career path is more circuitous than straight — which may mean employers are missing out on attracting the right candidates if they are only hiring from the same academic programs or majors. To put it simply, there is clearly a need to better align supply and demand. 

What my conversation with Lynn Letukas brought to light is that companies need to participate in talent acquisition far sooner along the employment journey, which for smaller firms, until recently, may have been somewhat limited. From a talent perspective, being able to quickly engage in a new job has a marked impact on the success of an early hire. For students, that can hinge on receiving an education that has its eye on the market, and gaining access to pre-hire opportunities, such as internships and other early experiences, to not only get a feel for an organization and a role, but also to get a sense of their own competency and potential. The Strada/Gallup survey found that for college alumni, “supportive relationships and relevant, engaging learning experiences,” are connected to higher engagement and wellbeing in the workplace. 

Expanding Opportunity

The SAS/Handshake partnership provides a new roadmap to acquiring early-career talent for all sides — it democratizes opportunities both for companies who may not have the resources of a Fortune 500, and for students who may get lost in the maze of larger talent connection platforms. 

This partnership also provides a new resource for recruiters looking for the means to increase talent pools by turning universities themselves into talent pools, and providing ways to make contact, connect, and source. This, in turn, may bring about an effective solution to another pressing need — to create more diverse teams in the workforce. This is also a new way to find top talent outside of traditional STEM programs, and create more dynamic and ongoing relationships and outreach. That’s exactly what our future talent needs to help them start their careers, and it’s what companies need to close the analytics skills gaps and meet their growing hiring goals. 

 This post is sponsored by SAS.

Photo Timon Studler

To Access the Data Goldmine, Workforces Need to Be Data Literate

We are in the midst of a data revolution. Businesses and organizations across all sectors collect, store and analyze huge amounts of information. However, they often struggle to realize data’s full potential. According to a recent report from Accenture, Closing the Data Value Gap, only 32% of business executives surveyed said that they’re able to create tangible and measurable value from data. 

Why? Because many companies struggle to fully utilize the capabilities of their entire workforces. 

That’s why Qlik and Accenture commissioned  The Human Impact of Data Literacy. The 2020  global survey of over nine thousand workers found that businesses at the tipping point of their journey to become data-driven are investing heavily in data-ready skills to help enhance individual and organizational performance. 

The majority of workers surveyed said that they read and interpret data as part of their roles, and communicate with data, making data-driven decisions at least once a week. But only 25% of these employees believe they were fully prepared to use data effectively when entering their current role.  

There is much progress to be made. With technology developing far more quickly than the typical employee’s ability to harness data insights, some employees feel they do not have the right tools or support, and are starting to feel overwhelmed. The research found that just 21% of global workers are confident in their data literacy skills — the ability to read, understand, question and work with data. 

This can have significant consequences for their overall performance and, in turn, have an impact on the organization’s bottom line. 

Empowering workers to fulfill their potential

Organizations with a workforce fully invested in the effective use of data are already seeing a competitive advantage. According to the 2018 Data Literacy Index, they have benefitted from increased performance and a higher total enterprise value of between three and five percent, equating to US $500 million. In contrast, the Human Impact of Data Literacy study found that companies lose an average of more than five working days (43 hours) per employee each year due to procrastination and sick leave stemming from stress around information, data and technology issues. This ultimately would equate to billions in lost productivity around the globe.

In order to realize that opportunity, organizations need to unlock their people’s potential with five key steps:

  1. Set your data expectations.

Setting clear expectations means that everyone — whether in product development, marketing or business intelligence—understands what is expected of them. By clarifying how data is going to be used, employers can start to define how different roles across the organization will align with and contribute to overall business goals. 

To do that, organizations need to understand how their employees actually work with data and educate them on how data supports organizational goals. This empowers employees to see how their actions directly contribute to creating value for the business. 

  1. Map the way to achieve data goals.

The next step is to assess the state of data within the organization. That covers everything from measuring individual levels of data literacy, to understanding the availability and adoption of technology and tools and defining who needs access to what data. 

This has to be accurate – currently, there is a gap between what leaders think and what might actually be the case. Three-fourths (75%) of C-suite level respondents in our Human Impact report believe that all or most of their employees have the ability to work with data proficiently.  Even more (79%) believe that their employees have access to the tools they need to be productive. But middle managers and below are less optimistic: half feel that all or most employees have the right abilities, and the same number echo the sentiment when it comes to access.

  1. Arm your employees for data-driven working.

Organizations must provide employees with the tools, processes and methodologies that enable them to use data as required and meet business goals. This includes not only tools, but training and continued support to advance skill sets.

  1. Close the data literacy skills gap.

However, simply having the right tools is not enough. Workers need to be data-literate. No matter how accessible data is, employees need to be capable of understanding, questioning and taking the right action based on the insights delivered. This  improves their experience of and confidence in using data; employees who identify as data-literate were at least 50 percent more likely than their data-novice peers to say they feel empowered to make better decisions and trusted to make better decisions.

  1. Create a culture of co-evolution.

The way we access and use data is constantly evolving, and so must a workforce’s understanding and ability to use data — there is no fixed endpoint. That’s why businesses need to build a culture comfortable with this state of continual change. Regularly assessing abilities, skillsets, tools and overall requirements will help employees persistently gain skills in their data literacy and is a fundamental aspect of empowering them to use data effectively and appropriately. 

Your most powerful data tool? Your people.

As Sanjeev Vohra, group technology officer and global lead for Accenture’s Data Business Group, put it:A workforce comfortable with data is a powerful asset; forward-thinking employers that prioritize their teams’ data literacy will reap the rewards.”

Education and empowerment will be the true determining success factors in the data-literate world. Technology may be creating data and giving workers the means to harness it, but organizations can only realize its full potential. by establishing and building understanding of what data can do, how it should be used, and who should be using it. 

This post is sponsored by Qlik.

Six Tips to Harness Data and Keep Your Talent

Why do employees leave a job? Do they leave because they have issues with their managers, or are they unhappy with the benefits their employer offers? Or is it a disconnect between their values and the corporate culture? It’s important to understand the reasons people are leaving because, as you know, whenever you need to replace an employee, it costs your business money—and time.

There are plenty of jobs in today’s marketplace, but recruiters aren’t always able to find the talent to fill those positions. Today, when it comes to recruitment, competition is fierce, and job candidates often have the upper hand. These prospective employees can choose organizations that demonstrate corporate values in line with those they hold and to decide to work in businesses where they know they will feel valued. For these reasons, it’s essential you learn how to keep the talent you have both happy and engaged in their jobs.

According to the Gallup study, State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, one in two respondents reported having left a job to get away from their manager at some point in their career. No matter how certain you are of your own management style, and that of your company’s leadership, when employees leave—or talk about quitting—you need to stop and take a minute to look at yourself and your managers. Ask yourself: What can we do to retain the employees we want and need to run this business? And, where do we start?

Analyze the Data

Begin by analyzing the data. Successful organizations scrutinize the information to understand why a person has left one job for another, and more importantly, why others are content to stay. These same businesses review every aspect of what the company is doing well and where there is a need for improvement. And, they are learning both how to increase employee engagement and what it will take to keep their workers happy in the workplace.

Understanding how to retain your existing workforce, increase engagement, and attract top talent in today’s competitive marketplace is vital to growing your business.  Need help? Plan to attend the upcoming webinar, 6 Tips to Harness Data and Keep Your Talent.

6 Tips to Harness Data and Keep Your Talent, will teach you how to collect the data that will show you why employees quit and how to understand the analytics so you can read the results of what you collect. You will also learn how to grasp this data and research to form a solid, actionable, and lasting strategy to decrease turnover and improve retention and commitment. You’ll learn how to improve employee engagement and create a better work environment, and how to boost retention by analyzing the data you are collecting.

There are familiar touchpoints, or sets of experiences, that become the foundation of employees’ satisfaction with their jobs. These touchpoints can include everything from verbal and written communications to workplace design, benefits and policies and daily interactions with managers.

Join Meghan M. Biro, CEO of TalentCulture and Megan Maslanka, Director of Client Success at Quantum Workplace, for 6 Tips to Harness Data and Keep Your Talent. Meghan and Megan will show you how to retain the talent you have and hire the talent you want all by collecting the right data, understanding what it is telling you, and recognizing each of those important touchpoints.

If you are in human resources, are a hiring manager, or the owner of a company, you don’t want to miss this webinar. Please register here for 6 Tips to Harness Data and Keep Your Talent on June 6, 2017, at 10 AM PST | 1 PM EST. You will hear innovative and best practices to work with data and analytics and keep your talent. You can’t afford to miss this one!

This post is sponsored by Quantum Workplace

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Five HR Analytics Terms You Need to Know

I love big data. I love it for many reasons, but, as I’ve said before, one of the main reasons is the way it’s “raised the profile” of HR and its importance. The sheer volume of information HR analytics can bring to the table has moved HR practitioners from an “out of sight out of mind” back room business function, to a major player when it comes to company goal setting and overall planning. Today we use HR analytics for everything from determining passive and active candidates; assisting with onboarding, training, and engagement; and predicting retention, attrition, and performance rates.

That said, the sheer volume of data available today for HR professionals to work with can feel overwhelming, and at times, paralyzing. Not only do we have mountains of data to interpret, but the data is constantly evolving, shifting, forming, and reforming as we learn about the newest technologies, which actively measure even more employment-related functions.

The key to getting your arms around big data and analytics is to do your research and start to understand it. And to do that you must become familiar with its “lingo”.

Five HR Analytics Terms You Need to Know

Before 2011, if you Googled “data scientists jobs” you would be lucky to find more than a handful of listings. That has changed, dramatically. In fact, by 2015 the demand for data scientists had surpassed the demand for statisticians. But if you’re not lucky enough to have a data scientist on your team, fear not. Knowing the following five terms will lead you one step closer toward all the benefits big data and analytics has to offer.

Data mining. Try and wrap your head around this number: Around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day. Clearly, it can’t all be analyzed. There’s not enough manpower on earth to get that job done. And that’s where data mining comes in. Akin to “panning for gold,” data mining involves sifting through raw data, and finding where patterns emerge. Analysts convert those patterns into tangible information, which then allows for relatively accurate prediction making about real life behaviors or events.

Machine learning piggybacks nicely off of data mining, as it’s often used to make that mining job just a little easier. Just as it sounds, computers can “learn” from the data ingested, helping to translate the data into recognizable patterns. You will sometimes see the term Artificial Intelligence used instead of “machine learning,” as AI is what provides computers with the tools they need to absorb and sift through new information.

Hiring channel mix modeling. There are myriad channels available today for talent managers looking to recruit, including—but not limited to—advertising, employee references, recruitment consultants, and social media. Hiring channel mix modeling allows HR pros to make use of previous data on all of the hiring channels employed in the past, and clearly map out which ones were most useful, allowing for more efficient, streamlined human resources departments and optimized hiring expenditures.

Cost modeling. Cost modeling helps those in the C-Suite understand many HR-driven costs. These include hiring and onboarding costs, the time estimated for an employee to reach full productivity, salary and productivity ratios, overall productivity, and employee turnover costs.  Cost Modeling can provide a rich “dollar value” picture of hiring and retention plans for a given year, and allow you to quantify costs associated with certain activities and processes (like mistakes made in hiring, voluntary turnover, etc.) 

People analytics. Simply put, people analytics involves combining all of the employee data in your organization—and using that data to understand and help predict potential business problems, issues like sales productivity, retention, fraud, customer satisfaction, and more. It effectively helps measure the success of both human resources practices and learning and development programs, and eventually (as new apps are developed) will begin measuring the value of different roles, leaders, and other business investments.

While “gut instinct” is always a good thing to have, long gone are the days when that and a fancy resume were the only things helping HR practitioners make hiring and other decisions. Now, big data and analytics can help HR teams run in tandem with those from other key departments, as well as play a significant part in helping their organization achieve success when it comes to business goals and strategies.

What do you think? Are there other HR analytics terms that you’ve encountered? Has your company delved into big data and all its potential? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A version of this post was first published on

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How Big Data Drives HR in 2016

Big data has helped earn human resources a seat at the table (or so we hope, as we move beyond buzzword phrases)—an active part of the business planning process, supported by the deep insights and predictive analytics that this gold mine of information provides.

But a lot of HR departments are still trying to figure out what to do with all that data. A report from Oxford Economics and SAP found that few HR departments are without business analytics altogether, but many still struggle to use what they have in a way that matters.

There’s good news for the coming year. As our ability to analyze and interpret big data matures, new tools are hitting the marketplace while existing ones are getting smarter. Here’s a look at how big data will drive HR this year, and the biggest trends you need to know about.

Watch for These Big Data Trends

Technology will never take the place of a highly skilled HR professional, but it can validate decisions and streamline operations—in real time. Companies who take an interest in these trends early on may be able to leverage them in the marketplace.

  1. Vanity metrics—stats that look good but offer little meaningful insight—are fading away. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to data sets, and the application of metrics matters far more than in the past. As companies attract more data analysts and train employees to use analytics programs, teams are focusing more on the strategic use behind how and what they collect.
  1. Predictive analytics are getting smarter. Predictive analytics can be a powerful tool for business as a whole, and the programs available are finally stepping up their game. While they can provide insights into employee benefits, promotions, and talent management, predictive analytics are starting to be used for deeper forecasting. For example, they can help measure the efficacy of training courses, or to identify which employees are more likely to reach their targets and why.
  1. Analytics tools are getting simpler—and more affordable. One thing that’s held the rise of analytics back is the fact that some companies can’t afford a full suite of tools while others find the applications they have don’t always uncover the information they want. But new options are on the horizon. Companies such as Dell and Oracle have embraced HR Open Source (#HROS), a movement to bring “an open source approach to HR and recruiting.” More options will fuel the use of analytics across organizations of all sizes.
  1. You can put a value on human capital. Organizations often claim that human capital is one of the most important business assets companies have, but they have a difficult time backing up that statement with data. With analytics, companies can assign financial values to individual tasks and better understand the financial impact of every person in their organization, which has potential implications for recruitment, benefits, and talent retention.
  1. Sensors offer a whole new perspective. There are new ways to collect data—from internal monitoring systems, online listening platforms, or even the growing Internet of Things (IoT)—and use it for on-the-floor insights. In industries such as manufacturing and farming, sensor-driven data can provide information on machine or crop performance. But it can also impact HR responsibilities: For example, Honeywell and Intel recently introduced a prototype for sensors that monitor worker safety. If HR departments can identify warning signs or other real-time data signals, they can find new ways to improve regulation compliance and worker safety.
  1. Data analysts are in high demand. CNBC called it “the sexiest job of the 21st century,” and it’s definitely one of the hottest jobs out there. It takes a skilled data analyst to understand how to massage and extract data and produce actionable reports. Not surprisingly, they’re in relatively short supply. Organizations will need to get creative to find the talent they need to meet their analytics needs.

Big data has the potential to improve every aspect of business—if companies are willing to take the time and effort to figure out how. The right data-focused talent and tools can transform an organization. The opportunity is there for big data to drive HR; You just need to take advantage of it.


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Gardening Season: Nurture a “Blooming” Talent Pool

Spring is the kind of season that floods the senses – in a good way. After a long, wet and cold winter, many of us look forward to getting outside in our communities and breathing in the scent of freshly spread mulch. Neighbors tend to their beds, with attentive watering and weeding. Soon, they reap the rewards of their efforts, with the colorful and fragrant blooming of azaleas, forsythias, herbs and assorted veggies.

I believe one of the main reasons many people enjoy gardening is because it requires constant care. You can’t simply stick some seeds in the dirt and walk away. You must nurture your plants, every day. And when they start sprouting, you feel a sense of achievement and pride.

Developing an enriched talent pool is much like this. You can’t apply a “set it and forget it” mindset to your recruiting, onboarding and training programs. As with gardening, you need to “get your hands dirty” (again, in a good way!). You must proactively seek out internal and external position candidates with the most in-demand skills and match them to anticipated openings. These openings may surface immediately, or weeks or even months down the road. So you have to engage candidates for extended time periods. In succession planning, for example, a Baby Boomer who hints at retiring soon might change her mind after realizing she’s not ready for the transition. Thus, her position stays filled for a year or even longer. Until she leaves, you should provide routine status updates to her possible successors, so they don’t get discouraged about being kept “in limbo” indefinitely.

This level of high engagement can drain time and resources. But it doesn’t have to be that way, not when people analytics can capture and maximize the value of your HR data, in a consolidated, streamlined manner. Through analytics, you improve the visibility of all of the key information related to your pool, such as names, personal interests, employment history, professional contributions/goals, contact preferences, educational background, etc. Your subsequent command of this intelligence will lead to an excellent “harvest,” especially when you incorporate analytics into the following best practices:

Conduct a continuing conversation. Talking to your plants on an ongoing basis can result in healthier growth, some experts say. Similarly, a continuing conversation with candidates will build a vibrant talent pool. Take advantage of newsletters, social media and even old-fashioned emails to keep in touch with internal and external candidates. Highlight recent milestones, as well as accomplishments of your staffers, to convey the message that your organization recognizes individual achievements. For more personalized engagement with outside prospects, send occasional emails to say, for instance, “We’re still very interested in your availability for a future opening … Is there anything you’d like to know about our organization or the potential position? Please feel free to update us about any new professional experiences/milestones you’d like to share.”

The continuing conversation can involve plenty of legwork if you rely solely upon manual processes to conduct it. That’s why people analytics proves essential. You can customize these solutions for proactive alerts, for example, to remind you to send personalized emails on a regular basis.

Update webpages. First impressions matter, of course, which is where your organization’s website home pages and employment pages enter the picture. In-demand millennials get turned off quickly when they click on a site that looks like something out of the last century, with static pages and an over-reliance on text. These Millennials are drawn to interactive, multi-media experiences. According to research from the Talent Board, 44 percent of job seekers say that they need time to evaluate an employer before applying for a position. By investing into the design and engineering of a modern, dynamic site, you ensure an immediate, appealing impression of your organization’s culture. Analytics will assess quantitatively whether you’re enhancing the user experience through your efforts (by providing traffic, “share” and other user activity data).

Commit to training. Clearly, this refers to your internal pool. Deploy analytics to find out which promising, current staffers are requesting training/professional development. Then use analytics to dig deeper, to explore whether these employees are looking to hone specific, vocationally focused “hard” skills, or “softer” skills related to communications and leadership. In addition, analytics can identify which training formats (in-person or online) work best, not to mention “out-of-the-box” opportunities such as the cross-training of targeted talent pool members on department-wide capabilities/needs and/or offering them temporary assignments that expose them to a new area of your organization.

Unlike gardening, it’s always “in season” to tend to your talent pool. Year-round, you should come up with well-researched and thoughtful strategies, and then pursue them with effective, proactive execution. Fortunately, you don’t have to devote an abundance of time and resources in “nurturing the plants” here. Analytics solutions will eliminate steps while strengthening your connections to internal and external candidates, extending your capacity to engage. That’s when your talent pool “bed” grows into a constant source of value, transforming job contenders into critical contributors to your organization’s strategic goals.


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#TChat Recap: The Predictive Power Of HR Analytics

We could easily be intimidated by data. Yet, we crave answers on how to make the best hires, reduce cost, drive strategy… the list goes on and on.

Many organizations now turn to predictive analytics: the ability to take what happened in the past and find common relationships and factors (leveraging human behavior and neural networks) to model and predict the future, enabling us to report back in analytics with recommendations for the future.

Finance, Sales, and Marketing departments have already realized the importance of predictive analytics. Now it’s HR’s turn to gaze into the crystal ball.

This week’s #TChat guests: Chad W. Harness, VP of Lead Human Capital Analytics Consultant at Fifth Third Bank; and Jen Phillips Kirkwood, ADP Analytics and Innovation Ambassador, shared their insights on the predictive power that HR can bring (we’re proud sponsors of the Predictive Analytics World for Workforce.)

First step? Get clear on objectives and take a close look at problems that are in need to be solved. Once we have painted a clear picture, ask yourself: How can HR help to support KPIs and find analytics that can yield real action?

If we don’t trust or understand the data, it’s easy to make knee-jerk hiring decisions.

By understanding key differences between data, metrics and analytics we can make better recommendations and decisions for the future.

So how do HR leaders start a predictive analytics initiative successfully?

There’s no doubt that predictive analytics will have an immense role to play as we move forward. HR leaders want to get there, and frankly, they have to get there. Once we have arrived, HR will be given a stronger voice that will drive strategy and help cost reduction and retention.

Just remember, it’s not only about the data, it sometimes comes back to a curiosity and willingness to change.

See What The #TChat Community Said About The Predictive Power of HR Analytics:

What’s Up Next? #TChat Returns Wednesday, April 8th!

#TChat Radio Kicks Off at 7pm ET / 4pm PT — Our weekly radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on Twitter as well. Next week’s topic: Adopting Social Software for Workforce Collaboration and Communication

#TChat Twitter Kicks Off at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights #TChat.

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Diagnosing Today’s Healthcare Staffing Challenges

Healthcare systems like to think of themselves as different from other industries, and they are to a certain extent. The service they provide is diagnosis, care, and healing, they provide it 24x7x365, and they can do so in some of the most trying times—think natural disasters and epidemics. Healthcare is different, but a lot of the challenges in healthcare today are mirrored in other industries, i.e., shrinking margins, intense competition, and talent shortages.

It is estimated that between 9 million and 13 million more people will have health coverage through the federal and state insurance exchanges. While hard, reliable figures on the number of uninsured have been hard to pin down, the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey estimated that the number of uninsured has dropped by 2.3 million since 2013. More individuals with access to healthcare is coming at a time when currently 55% of the RN (nursing) workforce is age 50 or older.

So what does an organization do to ensure it has the staff to be prepared to handle increased volumes while working to cut expenses? The answer lies in a mix of strategies, technologies, and change management due diligence.

Forecasting Demand

There is a lot of talk about predictive modeling in healthcare. While most of the buzz is related to population health, predicting disease, and foreseeing the likelihood of readmissions, these applications are still in their infancy. The ability to predict patient volumes, however, is going on its second decade. Predicting future volumes relies on a number of inputs, including CDC and Google flu data, historical volume levels, and number of customized variables and input on anticipated events at the local level. This data is fed into a modeling engine and forecasts are generated. This data is essential to accurately solidify hiring targets.

The Right Numbers

Once an organization has developed an accurate volume forecast, it is capable of determining how many staff it actually needs to care for patients. In this process the provider organization must make sure every department has a good mix of middle-career, seasoned professionals, and new grads. Care staff fall into two categories: core or contingency.

  • Core staff are those who hold an ongoing FTE (full-time equivalency) commitment within a department. As an example, an RN who is full time (1.0 FTE, or 40 hours per week) in the ICU is a core staff member for the ICU.
  • All hours, other than those worked by core staff members within their FTE, are sources of contingency. This includes those who are in float pools (those who are deployed to work in various departments as need arise), agency and travelers, and core staff working in overtime.
  • Determining how many of each you need can be achieved with a deep dive into the analytics of the provider organization. For core staff, a fair amount of volume analysis is required to discover the right numbers on a unit-to-unit basis. The point is to hire the number of core staff needed to keep them working to their FTE without the need for excessive floating, overtime, or cancelled shifts.

    Finding the right numbers of contingency staff involves an analysis of core staff behaviors and trends (expected and unexpected time off, etc.), historical volume levels and acuity spikes, predicted future volume, staffing levels, payroll, and various HR information.

    A Shift In Care

    With the transition from volume to value reimbursement models, there has been a corresponding shift from inpatient care to outpatient. Because of this, much more emphasis is being placed on the operational components of medical groups. Many outpatient clinics have traditionally operated under fixed staffing models where the number of staff available to care for patients is based on the number of physicians working. In the most progressive organizations, the switch to variable staffing models has begun. Like the inpatient world, with a variable staffing model the number of staff is based on forecasted patient visits. As the demand on outpatient areas increases organizations may consider transitioning acute care staff to the clinic setting as well as deepening contingency resources so care staff can operate across the enterprise in a number of areas.

    The Staying Power Of Satisfaction

    Like any organization, healthcare providers want to have low turnover. This is especially the case with the fear of a talent shortage looming and the cost of recruiting and placing open positions, typically estimated between 1.1 to 1.6 times the annual salary for a registered nurse. With “staffing” consistently ranked as one of the top reasons for turnover, it makes sense for organizations to want to right-size staffing sources and develop balanced schedules based on forecasted demand. It is also imperative to implement strategies that reduce staff dissatisfiers, like floating, cancellations, and continual recruitment to pick up more shifts.

    About the Author: Jackie Larson is senior vice president at Avantas, a provider of labor management technology, services and strategies for the healthcare industry. At Avantas, Jackie has been the driving force in building out the Avantas client services and consultation teams into a world-class organization providing guidance and support to customers on a wide range of issues including workforce optimization, productivity, labor pool and incentives, system integration, resource management and business analytics.

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    But First, A Single Source Of Business Truth

    “He picks up scraps of information
    He’s adept at adaptation
    Because for strangers and arrangers
    Constant change is here to stay…”

    —Neil Peart (musician and writer), “Digital Man”

    So I’m standing there and this HR VP walks up and asks:

    “What does the ‘predict’ mean?”

    At first I don’t get it and am not sure what to say; repetitive tech talking with waves of people stretched over time can dull one’s focal strength, like trying to blow bubbles with stiff old gum that lost its flavor hours earlier.Predict

    Then he points to the one of the panels in our PeopleFluent booth with the word “predict” on it.

    “Ah, good question,” I say, perking up. “That’s probably something you’re hearing a lot more from your management team. How do we predict? Am I right?”

    He nods and adds, “Analytics, analytics, analytics! Seriously. We need predictive analytics that can help us understand who is engaged, who is performing, and why, but we’re not sure exactly how to get there.”

    Certainly one of the major themes at this year’s 2014 HR Technology Conference & Exposition, thousands of HR technology buyers and influencers hiked for miles and miles through a $15 billion landscape according to Bersin by Deloitte’s HR Technology for 2015: Ten Big Disruptions Ahead.

    Bersin’s latest report states that finance, marketing, and supply-chain organizations have implemented analytics solutions for decades, but only now is HR starting to see the benefits with only 4% of large organizations able to “predict” or “model” their workforce. However, more than 90% can model and predict budgets, financial results, and expenses.

    Talent analytics, analytics, analytics!

    That’s why business leaders continue to shout more frequently from their rooftops about getting the right talent analytics from HR today that inform their near- and long-term recruiting, performance, compensation, succession and learning strategies — all to support their corporate financial goals and ultimate results.

    And as I’ve written about before, to get there, we need a single source of business truth!

    Wait, what’s that you ask? It makes common business sense, but just isn’t the reality HR executives are living in today. The majority of business leaders agree that the most vital investments for long-term growth are the people they attract, hire and employ, but too many are still focused primarily on basic (reactive) reporting.

    This week in fabulous Las Vegas, we echoed TalentCulture #TChat Show guest Jessica Miller-Merrell that we just can’t get to the truth from reactive reporting and gut checks, so where do we start?

    TChat Trending

    Data management is where it all starts, although aggregating and maintaining the sheer volume of talent data available today can be daunting to even the most progressive CHROs. Large organizations have multiple systems managing HR and financial data, and to get to a single source of business truth, you must maintain and leverage both micro (such as individual performance data) and macro (such as organizational trends) data together, unifying it from any and all systems so that it is transformed, standardized and reportable.

    Only then you’ll be able to plot past trajectories, analyze the present, and predict the future needs of your talent supply chain management, which can in turn lead to measurable improvement in your financial performance.

    Mature talent analytics and positive business outcomes come to those who master their data, and, again according to Bersin, the 14% of companies that have invested in data-focused HR far outperform those that haven’t. Recruitment efforts are two times more effective and stock returns outperformed their peers by 30% over the last three years. But of course, these results don’t come without a serious investment of energy, resources and time.

    The benefits of creating a single source of business truth are huge. Companies outperforming all others today focus on delivering:

    1. Recruiting Analytics – Help you understand your current talent supply, both internally and externally, and the skills needed today versus those that will be needed tomorrow. Plus, leveraging the diversity strengths of organizations beyond gender, race and geography to include the skills and expertise that lead to business growth are important predictive elements in planning for the right skills and productivity tomorrow. For example, Center for Talent Innovation research showed that diversity “unlocks innovation and drives market growth” and companies that embrace diversity “are 45% likelier to report that their firm’s market share grew over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market.”
    2. Compensation and Performance Analytics – Give you the ability to define your investment strategy in people because it’s less about budget management and mediocre (or worse) pay practices, and more about driving business growth relative to individual and organizational performance. This is critical to preventing future compensation increases for poor performers by using predictive analytics to highlight where these have happened historically and why. For example, according to a 2014 compensation and benefits survey by Human Capital Media Advisory Group, the research arm of Talent Management magazine, only 40% of companies say their organization’s compensation program is fully aligned with the business strategy.
    3. Learning & Development Analytics – Provide you a clearer view into strategizing continuous development and improving retention. Predictive analytics allow you to look at current sales relative to high-performer output and retention, and see how they impact long-term sales and development. Firms require an engaged and developed workforce so they can promote from within, saving on external recruiting costs that don’t ensure even short-term retention in today’s competitive talent market. In fact, according to Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwell, “external hires” get significantly lower performance evaluations for their first two years on the job than do internal workers who are promoted into similar jobs.

    It’s time to answer the talent analytics call!

    HR can and should drive their organization’s workforce strategy from a unified platform of meaningful data and analytics. But first, a single source of business truth is critical to providing guidance for all your talent management decisions, reinforcing the relationships among finance, operations and all business units in your organization, and delivers the ultimately desired business performance and results.

    Constant change is here to stay, so you may as well get comfortable with picking up the scraps of perpetual information that ultimately create the right talent analytics collective.

    Anybody got any gum?


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    #TChat Recap: The HR Technology Mic Drop

    The HR Technology Mic Drop

    It’s a little known fact that by 2015, the HR technology industry will most likely be worth $10 billion. As the World of Work shifts towards driving better business outcomes through efficiency and transparency, we acknowledge the industry’s efforts and innovation this week on #TChat from the #HRTechConf. HR technology is not only teaching us how to improve the way we measure performance, but also how we engage, train, and reward. This week’s guest: Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, President/CEO of Xceptional HR, author, speaker, HR professional, and workplace social media expert, taught our community how HR technology is transforming our workplaces to provide a more efficient and transparent experience, that’s a win-win for employers and employees.

    It’s no secret that HR technology is designed to improve business outcomes, but:

    Can you imagine working at an office where silence is golden? Hopefully, for most of us this is not the case. But Brian does bring up an interesting point about how HR technology should act as an amplifier to employee engagement and productivity. HR technology also provides us with the tools to track and measure how we work, because ultimately it’s about creating opportunities to read and react versus sit back and wait for employees to walk out the door. Remember…

    Plain and simple is right. Great HR technology not only amplifies our engagement and productivity, but it connects us to other areas that drive business outcomes. Metrics and analytics matter when it comes to measuring productivity, but they also can contribute to how we hire and retain talent. It all ties into how we drive better business outcomes. Analytics is a common buzz word in our industry, and rightfully so because:

    HR technology helps us plan, monitor, and tweak. And the bigger picture here is it connects the dots for everyone. Employers can find the talent they need more efficiently and create opportunities for them to grow. And while there are some great and highly-innovative HR technologies available to organizations, the end result isn’t always a perfect ending. Make sure you know what it is you’re looking for. When it comes to HR technology:

    The right HR technology aligns with an organization’s strategic needs and culture. Remember, employees are the driving force behind whether or not HR technology succeeds and reaches its full potential. Make sure employees are asked for feedback about the kind of tools they feel their work is lacking or completely missing. Definitely invite the most enthusiastic employees to participate in a focus group to demo HR technology. If they love it, then they will be your biggest ambassadors to promoting the product. Driving better business outcomes is a team effort and it does require HR technology to help make an impact.

    Want To See The #TChat Replay?


    Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

    Thanks again to our guest: Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, President/CEO of Xceptional HR, author, speaker, HR professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media.

    #TChat Events: How to Use Company Culture to Attract In-Demand Candidates

    TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time? Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to How to Use Company Culture to Attract In-Demand Candidates.

    Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the engagement experience?

    We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

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    Save The Date: Wednesday, October 15th!

    Join us next week, as we talk about How to Use Company Culture to Attract In-Demand Candidates during #TChat Events. The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!


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    When Our Workplace Culture Is On Fire

    “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. We don’t need no water let the m-f burn.” –The Bloodhound Gang

    At least, that’s the melodic hip-hop mantra many of us have wanted to repetitively belt out at some point in our world of work lives (with an unapologetic emphasis on the unabbreviated curse word, of course).

    Not because we’re having so much fun dancing around the water cooler, or in the break room, or the conference room, house music thumping in our heads, but because our workplace culture around has all but burned out our aspirational goals.

    Many years ago I worked for a firm with an unsettlingly quiet dragon at the helm, one that erupted at the most seemingly inconsequential things, especially when he felt out of the communication loop of any minute detail of the client services work we delivered week to week.

    Most mythic dragons spew toxic flames but usually telegraph their eruptions. Heroes have time to duck and cover, but most of us expendables, however, do not.

    But this particular dragon? No telegraphing whatsoever. Nothing but surprise eruption after surprise eruption with the complete “why” context not quite coming clear until after the smoke literally cleared and you were sweeping your own ashes from a dust pan into your cubicle trashcan.

    After surviving the first year unscathed, jousting internal “windmills” and ungrateful clients, I was presented the opportunity to travel internationally and work onsite for at least six months with a great client of ours. My excitement was palpable and was exceeded only by my naïve, inquisitive nature.

    So I started asking the client questions about where I’d be living and how much my per diem would be each day, and the like.

    It seemed to me to be innocuous enough, as did the client, but as soon as the dragon caught wind of my inquiries, my days of being a hero were doomed. Without notice and no more than an hour after my client e-mail exchange, the dragon swooped down the long hallway to where the account managers worked and let loose an ungodly fire that decimated every single cell in my godforsaken soul, something I had never experienced before, nor since.

    Damn, let the m-f burn. And burn I did.

    I lasted just over 3.5 years in that hardcore culture, never really fitting it. While I learned a lot of valuable lessons, and had sound relationships with many colleagues, some that still exist to this date, when I left there, I never looked back.

    I imagined that I was the dragon burning that place to the ground. Over and over and over again. All the while bouncing to the house music, curse words intact.

    The quest for all of us is to find a company culture that fits (which is the one that forever eludes us). But mercy me, we must keep working towards the goal of finding, and/or making it, and keeping it. According to Strategy& of PwC, 96% of employees have stated a “culture change” is needed at their company. Only about half of all employees say their leaders treat culture as a priority on a day-to-day basis. Fewer still say culture is effectively managed at their companies.

    But culture goes deeper than a workplace flexibility, pizza lunches, ping-pong tables – or international travel to exotic client locales. In fact it should drive most every aspect of business – from customer relations to internal practices. Culture is a living breathing entity in companies and one of the most important drivers.

    Today, talent science shows us that we perform better when we’re a fit with our workplace culture. This is the science of using quantifiable data to find and hire employees that will be most engaged with the company, its culture, and therefore contributing more to the bottom line and driving business outcomes.

    But when we talked about this on the TalentCulture #TChat Show, we all rediscovered what we already new so very well, and only now we can better analyze it – the fact that there are many, many layers of cultural nuance, driven by leadership as well as every single individual contributor in the organization.

    Which is why RoundPegg, a company that increases business performance through applied culture science and employee engagement software, believes we can:

    1. Measure it. The first thing you have to do is to “look in the mirror” and measure the values of everyone in the company, via surveys and assessments. How’s everyone really wired in the organization and why? Personal values are the best predictors of what’s happening in company, but until recently we really didn’t have the powerful combination of modern psychology, computing power and rigorous algorithms.  Now we do.
    2. Analyze it. For example, take a mid-size firm growing rapidly that burned through a huge investment but wasn’t performing. Their board of directors of course found the firm’s lackluster performance less than acceptable and demanded the “righting of the ship.” Internally they thought accountability was the issue, but after measuring the values and analyzing the results, the most challenging issue was really about rules — half wanted rules, structure and discipline, and the other half wanted flexibility and freedom, to be more spontaneous. This was at the real root of their stagnation.
    3. Then change it. Once identified, they realized that communication was at the heart of their rules issue, one that had previously only been paid lip service, if any at all. Over the course of six months clear communication channels were developed and maintained, and the course corrections they made impacted employee development, hiring those who shared the same newly unified values, and improving overall engagement that had immediate and long-term improvements, especially business growth.

    Values and engagement aren’t just nice-to-haves, they’re personally vital, and when our workplace culture is on fire from jousting fiery dragons and ungrateful exchanges, it kills our shared values, productive affinity and the business mojo within.

    Gathering the right cultural data and analyzing what’s wrong with collective values allows organizations to make the changes that insulate the entire business and keep them somewhat dragon safe.

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    That Single Source of HR Data Truth

    “Memory banks unloading
    Bytes break into bits
    Unit One’s in trouble and it’s scared out of its wits…”

    —Neil Peart, “The Body Electric”

    She looked at me as if I’d pushed her. Her cheeks flushed and her eyes blackened like collapsed stars where no light escapes.

    “But according to this Bloomberg Businessweek article, ‘the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Britain’s Royal Society, the European Commission, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among others, have all surveyed the substantial research literature and found no evidence that the GM [genetically modified] foods on the market today are unsafe to eat.’”

    I shrugged and added, “Period. End of story.”

    Probably not the way I should’ve handled the discussion, but I’m not always the brightest light in the night sky when it comes to debating my lovely wife (even though we “dance” very well with one another).

    She threw up her hands and waved me away, “I don’t care. I’ve read plenty of reports that counter that and show how detrimental genetically modified foods are.”

    Now I shrugged. “Because everything we read on the Worldwide Interwebs is true, right?”

    That’s when the light was sucked right out of me.

    “Sorry,” said Unit One, scared out of it’s wits (me, of course). Isn’t Businessweek a single source of journalistic truth? I thought but thankfully didn’t say.

    Ah, but it’s all in how you collect the data and serve it up, right? A single source of sometimes misinformed truths depending on where you sit or stand?

    That’s a cynical viewpoint, but unfortunately data is both a staunch ally and an even fiercer enemy depending on it’s current subjective state, where it’s from and why. The sheer volume of data is staggering. According to IBM Research, 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone (and that was from two years ago!). Seems like research surveys alone pummel the social media atmosphere like meteor showers, most of which disintegrate on impact.

    And a big ol’ Milky Way of that data there is, created by us and distributed by us – some clean, vetted and valid, and much of it not so much. Organizations have a unique challenge today when it comes to managing this expanding-universe people data, as well as galaxies of other business-related data.

    John Sumser, the founder, principal author and editor-in-chief of the HRExaminer Online Magazine, asked this question in his recent (highly recommended) HR Technology series:

    Is there an opportunity for HR to harness people data across the entire spectrum of data sources to find the best utilization of people?

    Indeed there is. There are finally HR technology solutions and systems on the market today, and some still being developed (always being developed), that combine with the computing and storage power of a thousands suns (maybe not that much, but still), and that allow for large volumes of data to be managed and integrated and reported on, extracted from so much light and dark online matter.

    But according to Josh Bersin, founder of leading HR research and advisory firm Bersin by Deloitte, “Large organizations have seven or more different systems managing HR data. Bringing this data together for meaningful analysis has become mission-critical, driving tremendous demand for integration tools to help rationalize, integrate and analyze people-related data.”

    Seven or more systems. Mercy me.

    My friend and colleague, Jim Bowley, a long-time HR technology executive and mentor of mine, again reminded me that data collection is a very expensive process in which multiple participants need to synchronize their activities to pull together, transform, and build integrations that in turn will lead to the kind of workforce discoveries that are the very essence and continuous origin, the “Big Bangs” of talent and the true integrated experience. These are what business leaders are demanding today, hence the conundrum for HR.

    But before we can solve for and get to the true integrated and insightful experience, we’ve got to understand the data basics and two other related terms:

    1. Data, Metrics and Analytics. Data are specific points of information an organization collects and maintains – like applicant source and key skills. Metrics are measurements with a goal in mind – like what constitutes quality of hire. And analytics are the identification of meaningful patterns within the data and metrics – like what key skills from what populations and locations drive quality of hire within the organization, predicting what and who to look for next.
    2. Data Harmonization and Transformation. Harmonization is about creating the possibility to combine data from varied sources into integrated, consistent and unambiguous information sets, in a way that is seamless to the end-user. Transformation is about converting a set of data values from another source data system into the data format of a new destination data system.

    Harmonization, transformation and integration of data from multiple sources in a single solution that can make sense of all the interstellar mess, putting the data to work in far more strategic ways than it ever before – creating that single source of HR data truth. Only then can we get to the telling analytics and insight organizations have longed for (and are finally getting).

    That’s where we’re going in HR technology today and tomorrow. Steve Boese, a co-chair of Human Resource Executive’s HR Technology® Conference and a technology editor for LRP Publications, and a recent guest on the TalentCulture #TChat Show, told me that one of the major themes for this year’s HR Tech show is the proliferation of HR data and better ways to measure talent initiatives with metrics and analytics, and there will be some exciting case studies shared to underscore this progress.

    Yes, welcome to the Big Bangs of talent, breaking bytes into future-telling bits.

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    At The Crossroads: Where Instinct & Analytics Meet

    Sometimes you read a white paper and think, “That was really interesting. I DO need to think more about targeted learning plans.” And sometimes you see an infographic and suddenly realize that, of course feedback-rich technologies can better support employee engagement!

    And then sometimes you read a blog post and you think about Delta Blues.

    That’s what happened to me when I read Reviewsnap’s recent post, Do You Know Who Your “Top Guns” Are? I thought of Robert Johnson taking his guitar down to that fateful intersection in the deep midnight of his Mississippi. The image came to me because I realized that talent seekers are a lot like Mr. Johnson. They’re looking for a bit of magic—that special something that only happens when things come together in ways seemingly impossible at any other time or place.

    Talent rarely just walks through the door out of the blue, and it’s rarely there when you go looking. But at the crossroads of instinct and analytics, you can find it: talent.

    Both analytics and instincts are crucial to making sound talent-related decisions. But how do you quantify talent? And how do you translate instincts into analytics and vice versa? Believe it or not, there’s a way. It’s called a performance review.

    The performance review, you say. That venerable old standard?

    Venerable old standard?!? Well, that right there is the problem. Sadly, we’ve let the performance review stagnate. For most of us, it represents an obligation, not an opportunity. But this is a tragedy, and a missed opportunity beyond measure.

    The performance review can be an amazingly effective tool for identifying top performers—and for nurturing and reinforcing the qualities that make these individuals so valuable. However, the post mentioned above points out:

    … few employers actually bother to define what “top talent” means to them. You think it would be common practice, especially given the fact talent issues are among the most urgent for our nation’s employers. Last year, TLNT itself published research showing that HR professionals’ top three concerns are: 1) engaging and retaining employees, 2) developing leaders and managing skills gaps, and 3) recruiting the best employees.

    A big part of solving all of these talent issues is knowing precisely who your top talent is and what sets them apart. Once you have clarity on these matters, you know what to look for when recruiting new talent and developing current employees.

    So yes, identify your top talent. But do more than that. Define your top talent. Clarify and codify why they’re your top talent. Do so and you’ve got a roadmap for success.

    Performance reviews help you focus the potential blur of subjective instinct while at the same time giving life to the lifeless anonymity of analytics.

    Robert Johnson purportedly made a deal with the devil to acquire his talent. You needn’t do anything quite so extreme. You only need to see to it that successful talent management strategies become engrained in your company’s culture. Strategies such as instituting performance reviews that are meaningful to your organization and your people—from your top guns down to the rank and file. And your people practices need to be driven by insightful, thoughtful, and yes, soulful HR pros who know how to reconcile instinct and analytics in pursuit of talent. Top talent.

    (About the Author: Katrina Busselle is Vice President of Client Services for fisher VISTA a marketing and media relations firm that specializes in reaching the HR marketplace.)

    To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 7-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

    TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

    Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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    The Death of Traditional Talent Management

    by Jeff Carr, President and CEO, PeopleFluent

    As organizations increasingly grasp the true value of their workforce and view employees as important business assets rather than cogs in a wheel, conversations in boardrooms across the globe are focusing on talent acquisition, management and retention. Organizations are starting to ask questions about their workforce, such as: How can I develop an actively engaged workforce that performs above the norm? How can I find the right talent for open positions and predict if they will become disenchanted or unhappy and will begin to think about leaving? How can I connect my talent initiatives and investments to tangible business results?


    What should be obvious to anyone with an HR pedigree is that traditional talent management practices are the solution of a bygone age – they are far too often obsolete and irrelevant. But with an astonishing 70 percent of the typical U.S. workforce disengaged[1], where do businesses go from here?

    Our goal? Design a next-generation Talent Management system for the person, not the HR process. We want to transform day-to-day talent management processes into highly configurable and collaborative engagement experiences infused with social, video, and analytic capabilities. This is the future of talent management.The answer is to tailor and configure talent management to each employee, treating them as individuals. This radical idea was validated when we spoke to over 5,000 talent executives, and led us to develop the new PeopleFluent MirrorTM, which we invite you to discover during this week’s launch.

    At PeopleFluent, we work with thousands of customers from a range of industries, including 80 percent of the Fortune 100, to hone in on what talent executives really need. We have a unique viewpoint about talent management as we understand that everyone is different – people work differently, are wired and motivated differently and are actively engaged through different means. Today’s priority for talent executives is employee engagement and to find the right talent strategy to fit the modern workforce reality or risk getting left behind by the competition.

    PeopleFluent Mirror Launch Events

    I invite you to join PeopleFluent this week at a number of engaging events to discuss this approach further.

    Throughout the week, we’ll be hosting events that look at the future of talent management and the future of work to discuss the important topics that matter to you most.

    Here is what we have planned:



    Monday, April 28, 201411:00 a.m. ET live from Washington D.C.

    • This session will include a keynote from Carly Fiorina and an Expert Panel moderated by PeopleFluent CEO Jeff Carr on PeopleFluent’s Mirror Suite, benefits of deeper workforce engagement and how this impacts business outcomes. Participants include Michael Fauscette and Lisa Rowan of IDC and Carly Fiorina. Register

    Tuesday, April 29, 20141:00 p.m. ET via online event

    • In this session, Elaine Orler of Talent Function will speak to the value created by PeopleFluent’s Recruiting Mirror, the importance of the candidate experience and the role of social and video in recruiting. Register

    Wednesday, April 30, 20141:00 p.m. ET via online event

    Thursday, May 1, 20141:00 p.m. ET via online event

    Friday, May 2, 20141 p.m. via online event

    • Bryan Pena of SIA will discuss how to manage a growing contingent workforce and the value of PeopleFluent’s VMS Mirror. Register

    Feel free to check out our brand new video news site at, our new corporate branding, and an overview of our new Mirror Suite for more details. We look forward to your feedback!

    jeff carr
    About the Author: Jeff Carr is President and CEO of PeopleFluent, a leading total workforce HCM technology company, that reduces productivity loss and improves financial results by building solutions around people instead of processes and redefining employee engagement through a single Talent Engagement Cloud.

    [1] Gallup, 2014

    HR Data: What Really Counts? #TChat Recap

    “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” -William Cameron

    A Big Year For Big Data

    No sooner did the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Day, than corporate talent management analyst Josh Bersin declared 2013 “The Year of BigData in HR.” Soon after, he offered more expansive predictions, including the assurance that we would see “many HR analytics, BigData and workforce planning tools” emerge this year.

    Why now? As Bersin explains in “Data, Big Data and You,” multiple factors are at work — creating abundant opportunity that hasn’t yet been deeply tapped by HR organizations. To put the situation into perspective, consider this:

    A 2011 Economist study indicates that companies boost productivity by 5-6% when they rely on data to guide business decisions. And yet, recent Bersin research reveals that only 6% of HR leaders say their organizations are “excellent” at leveraging employee data to drive business performance.

    Case In Point: Hire-By-Numbers

    In March at a #TChat Radio interview, Josh illustrated what’s at stake by telling a staffing story from a financial services company. The organization had been hiring sales representatives based on intuitive assumptions about what it takes to achieve in sales. Why was that a problem? Analysis revealed that those assumptions were wrong. By using data to redefine screening and recruitment criteria, the company saw sales surge by $4 million within only one year.

    If Data Talks, Who Will Listen?

    So, we know business is producing oodles of data at an exponential rate. And tools are arriving to help HR organizations crunch the numbers in beneficial ways. But something is still missing from this equation. It’s the vital link that connects the dots between quantitative possibilities and business realities. It’s the mission-critical role of the Data Analyst. Or, as USA Today recently suggested, “The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.”

    Even though data analysts are in short supply, the TalentCulture Community was lucky enough to glean insight and advice from two smart, articulate analytical professionals this week. Helping us explore key issues surrounding HR metrics, insights and business performance were:

    Below, we’ve captured event highlights (including a tweet-by-tweet Storify slideshow from Twitter) and other resource links. We hope this is helpful for anyone is interested in understanding analytics as a core aspect of “human” side of business. Enjoy!

    #TChat Week in Review: The Big Deal with HR Data

    SAT 6/22


    Watch the G+ Hangout with Christene now

    #TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, introduced the week’s topic and talked with Christene about the definition of “BigData” and its relationship to HR management. Read “HR Data: What’s The Big Deal?”

    SUN 6/23 Post: In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered advice about how data can help HR professionals see the workforce “in 3D.” Read “Big Data Is A Big Deal.”

    WED 6/26


    Listen to the #TChat Radio show

    #TChat Radio: In its new time slot, just prior to #TChat Twitter, radio hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman drilled down on data-related HR issues, in a fascinating 30-minute interview with Christene and Andrew. If you missed the session, listen now to the recording.

    #TChat Twitter: Fueled by the radio warm-up, our community came together on the Twitter stream for our dynamic weekly idea exchange. Great perspectives from people from all corners of the professional realm! Thanks to everyone who contributed to this crowd-sourced idea stream! If you missed the real-time Twitter action, or want to review highlights, watch the slideshow below:

    #TChat Twitter Highlights: “HR Data: What’s The Big Deal?”

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    Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

    GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Christene and Andrew for helping our community gain deeper understanding of how HR data naturally plays an integral role in the world of work. Your passion and real-world perspectives help us appreciate the importance and value of HR analytics.

    NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about HR data issues or opportunities? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

    WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week #TChat events are on pause to celebrate July 4th. Happy U.S. Independence Day! But we’ll be back the following week, with a sizzling summer topic — so keep an eye on TalentCulture social channels for details.

    In the meantime, even through our haitus, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned website. The gears are always turning at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

    See you on the stream!

    Image Credit: Pixabay

    HR Data: What’s The Big Deal? #TChat Preview

    (Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full overview of this week’s events and resources? See “HR Data: What Really Counts? #TChat Recap.”)

    (Also Note: Have you heard the news? Now there’s another reason to look forward to Wednesdays!  STARTING THIS WEEK #TChat Radio moves to Wednesday nights at 6:30pmET — just prior to our popular #TChat Twitter event at 7pmET. So tune-in live, and then join us on stream!)

    Better Data = Smarter Choices

    Past performance can be a good indicator of future performance, right? Well, when it comes to HR decisions, not necessarily — according to a recent New York Times profile of workforce science practices.

    Advances in data collection and analysis are shattering preconceived notions about how to find and manage talent. Increasingly, HR practitioners are looking to data for answers to important business questions. The possibilities span a broad spectrum:

    • Talent Pool Viability
    • Skills + Competency Analysis
    • Hire Quality + Cultural Fit
    • Employee + Contingent Engagement
    • Hiring vs. Workforce Development
    • Workforce Growth Rates + Costs
    • Talent Retention + Turnover
    • Overall Business Impact

    So how can you effectively apply data to HR practices? That’s a question we’ll discuss at #TChat forums with two HR data experts:

    #TChat Sneak Peek Video

    To kick-off this week’s conversation, Christene joined me for a quick G+ Hangout, where she helped clarify the meaning of “Big Data” and its relationship to HR management:

    #TChat Events: The Big Deal with HR Data

    What do you think about workforce data and its role in business management? Whether you’re an organizational leader, an HR practitioner, or a job-seeker who wonders how data analysis will influence your career, data is increasingly relevant to professional life. So bring your point of view, and join us to share your questions, ideas and opinions to the table this week!


    Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

    #TChat Radio — Wed, June 26 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

    Christene and Andrew join our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, for a LIVE 30-minute discussion to examine this topic up-close.

    #TChat Twitter — Wed, June 26 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

    We welcome anyone with a Twitter handle to join our open, online community, as we exchange ideas live on the #TChat stream to explore this week’s questions:

    Q1: Why is Big Data a bit of a misnomer when it comes to HR analytics?

    Q2: What’s the difference between data, metrics and analytics?

    Q3: What metrics and analytics should HR focus on, and why?

    Q4: What can HR leaders do to make a business case for predictive analytics?

    Q5: Why should we stop using spreadsheets to analyze talent management data?

    Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

    We’ll see you on the stream!

    HR Data: What's The Big Deal? #TChat Preview

    (Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full overview of this week’s events and resources? See “HR Data: What Really Counts? #TChat Recap.”)

    (Also Note: Have you heard the news? Now there’s another reason to look forward to Wednesdays!  STARTING THIS WEEK #TChat Radio moves to Wednesday nights at 6:30pmET — just prior to our popular #TChat Twitter event at 7pmET. So tune-in live, and then join us on stream!)

    Better Data = Smarter Choices

    Past performance can be a good indicator of future performance, right? Well, when it comes to HR decisions, not necessarily — according to a recent New York Times profile of workforce science practices.

    Advances in data collection and analysis are shattering preconceived notions about how to find and manage talent. Increasingly, HR practitioners are looking to data for answers to important business questions. The possibilities span a broad spectrum:

    • Talent Pool Viability
    • Skills + Competency Analysis
    • Hire Quality + Cultural Fit
    • Employee + Contingent Engagement
    • Hiring vs. Workforce Development
    • Workforce Growth Rates + Costs
    • Talent Retention + Turnover
    • Overall Business Impact

    So how can you effectively apply data to HR practices? That’s a question we’ll discuss at #TChat forums with two HR data experts:

    #TChat Sneak Peek Video

    To kick-off this week’s conversation, Christene joined me for a quick G+ Hangout, where she helped clarify the meaning of “Big Data” and its relationship to HR management:

    #TChat Events: The Big Deal with HR Data

    What do you think about workforce data and its role in business management? Whether you’re an organizational leader, an HR practitioner, or a job-seeker who wonders how data analysis will influence your career, data is increasingly relevant to professional life. So bring your point of view, and join us to share your questions, ideas and opinions to the table this week!


    Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

    #TChat Radio — Wed, June 26 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

    Christene and Andrew join our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, for a LIVE 30-minute discussion to examine this topic up-close.

    #TChat Twitter — Wed, June 26 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

    We welcome anyone with a Twitter handle to join our open, online community, as we exchange ideas live on the #TChat stream to explore this week’s questions:

    Q1: Why is Big Data a bit of a misnomer when it comes to HR analytics?

    Q2: What’s the difference between data, metrics and analytics?

    Q3: What metrics and analytics should HR focus on, and why?

    Q4: What can HR leaders do to make a business case for predictive analytics?

    Q5: Why should we stop using spreadsheets to analyze talent management data?

    Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

    We’ll see you on the stream!

    Informed Managers Drive Employee Success

    Engagement + Performance = Employee Success.

    And the best way to maximize employee engagement and performance is by empowering managers to lead their teams with intelligence.

    To create success, managers require smart, appropriate tools. In a recent report — Empowering Managers to Drive Employee Success — information technology analysts at Aberdeen Group took a close look at the manager’s role in employee engagement. In that report, Aberdeen found that the best way to optimize talent and improve business results is to deliver solutions that help managers understand activity within their team and highlight areas to manage.

    However, most talent management solutions are fragmented, offering very little useful data or insight. Aberdeen’s report points to three important tools that empower managers — analytics, integration and transparency.

    1) Analytics

    With current technology, executives can keep tabs on major company data points on a nearly constant basis. This information helps inform decisions on specific programs and larger corporate direction. With access to appropriate analytics, managers can make informed decisions based on relevant individual and team performance indicators.

    2) Integration

    When various human resource information systems (HRIS) don’t talk with one another, there is a much greater risk of redundant work as well as errors from entering the same information into separate programs. Integration streamlines that effort and ensures that managers get the most out of all of HRIS programs, connecting talent and workforce management.

    3) Transparency

    Transparency makes it much easier for managers to align with corporate goals, and better monitor team activity. When everyone is “on the same page,” and relying on clear indicators of progress, managers are empowered to move the business forward. Applying this visibility across all corporate initiatives addresses talent and business challenges like the need to manage corporate-wide employee referral programs, increase workforce loyalty, and facilitate knowledge transfer between groups.

    Business Success may start with Employee Success, but Employee Success starts with empowered managers. Learn how to give your managers the right tools to drive success. Download a copy of the full Aberdeen Group report now.

    What dashboard data does your company provide to managers? Let me know in the comments below…

    (Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome. Learn more…)

    Image Credit: Stock.xchng

    (Legal Note: Employee Success is a trademark of Achievers Corp.)