The Time for Data-Driven HR Is Now

For decades, HR has lived by the adage, “Go with your gut”—trusting our instincts when it came to hiring decisions, recruiting, selecting perks and benefits, and even completing employee assessments. But today’s technology brings us something far more reliable on which to base the future of your company and the management of its most valuable resource: Big data.

Data-driven HR is here, and the time to adopt it is now. Public companies that use data-driven HR methods, or “people analytics,” show 30 percent higher stock market returns than the Standard & Poor 500 index. Additionally, HR teams who use data-driven methods are four times more likely to be respected by their business associates, according to a Bersin by Deloitte study.

But which data should you use, and how can you employ it to make the best hiring decisions? While you may be accustomed to using historical data—for instance, analyzing exit interviews to find out why talent leaves your firm—big data’s biggest strength is in predictive analysis and future casting. Big data can help you determine where your business is headed if you make a certain decision or choose a particular path.

From recruiting to pinpointing how a new hire will work out, here are just a few ways you can adopt data-driven HR practices.

Talent Analytics for Recruiting and Hiring

Clearly, social media puts more job prospects in our field of vision today than ever before—so many that it’s virtually impossible for any single human being to sift through the vast pool of applicants or potential recruits to find the people with the best chance of becoming long-term hires.

But when we combine big data with deep-learning algorithms, not only can we sift through the data quickly, we can also pinpoint the best candidates with a high degree of accuracy. We can even find those new hires most likely to be top performers and make sure we give them the tools and resources they need to shine, along with the benefits that will make them stay.

Predictive Analytics to Aid in Retention

Good HR directors like to think they can keep a finger on the pulse of their organization. But it’s easy to be blindsided by a good employee who decides to leave if you don’t know the factors that may drive them away. You don’t have to rely on your instincts to spot an unhappy employee.

Instead, use predictive analytics to determine which employees are most at risk for leaving based on a number of key indicators. Then see what you can do to reduce those risk factors, whether it’s reducing their overtime hours or providing stock options.

Evaluate Data to Improve Workforce Planning

Some of our country’s most important jobs, from truck drivers to nurses to tech and security positions, face severe talent shortages. Previously, workforce planning was more a function of budget vs. headcount. However, companies that evaluate only these factors overlook key components. Rather than just balancing the budget to the headcount, use data to predict who is most likely to leave your organization nextwhen they will leave, and how this will affect your company.

Big data can help you foresee mass retirements, what skills you’ll need to hire for in the future, and how you can keep your workforce stable in a world of ever-changing factors, which includes a shifting economy and the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics into the workforce.

Relate HR Data to Business Outcomes

Most importantly, hiring, retention, and workforce planning should all correlate to your business outcomes. Break down departmental silos to analyze data from sales, marketing, and accounting to determine your overall business goals for the next one to three years. Then think about which skill sets you’ll need to add to your organization and what action your department needs to take to help meet these goals.

If you’re sensing you don’t want to be left behind as HR undergoes a data-driven disruption—well, this is one time you can trust your gut. The evidence supports it. The tools are at your disposal. It’s time to gain the competitive edge with data-driven HR.

A version of this was first posted on

Photo Credit: ELECTROLITE photography Flickr via Compfight cc

HR Is About to Get an Analytics Makeover

Many company departments rely on analytics for decisions they make and strategies they implement. Through using analytics and data, these departments can get a better idea of what their customers and clients need or are looking for.

While analytics may be used primarily in logistics or marketing, HR is beginning to dip its toes into the world of tracking and measuring insights through analytics software. Many companies already implement analytics into their human resources, but those big data metrics aren’t always being used with practical applications.

As we get deeper into 2017 and HR analytics become more popular, we expect to watch businesses take advantage of big data in new ways. Here are some of the areas we see growing with the appropriate implementation of HR analytics.

Data-Backed Hiring and Promotion Processes

The hiring and promotion processes for businesses can become complicated. When a hiring manager is in charge of sifting through applications and selecting the candidates who fit best, their own personal bias comes into play. This can prevent the most qualified applicant from getting the job. The same idea applies when HR is looking at who should be promoted.

HR departments can use the data gathered through analytics to look at who deserves the job or promotion best. Through their analytics, HR professionals can see who is performing better than coworkers and who has the right skills for the position.

Tracking of Engagement, Productivity and Job Satisfaction

Your human resources department is responsible for ensuring company employees are meeting certain standards and performing their jobs correctly. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to track. In 2017, we believe analytics will help HR departments see how engaged and productive employees of the company are.

Job satisfaction is another area HR departments must be aware of. Although very few employees want to openly admit to their boss that they are unhappy in their jobs, employees who do not feel connected or committed to the work that they’re doing can cause the whole company to suffer. Through the use of analytics, HR departments can help make suggestions on how to improve job satisfaction.

Better Management of Operations and Costs

If you’re trying to oversee the costs and operations of an entire company without analytics, there are definitely going to be some key components you miss. Through implementing HR analytics in 2017, business owners can use data knowledge at all levels of their companies to improve operations and reduce costs.

Analytics can help HR departments get a better view of how the company is running and what could be modified to save money or time. With the right programs, systems and software, HR analytics can actually be beneficial to the company as a whole, not just to the HR department.

Plan for the Future

Analytics can also be beneficial for creating plans for the far-off future. While you may have a strong workforce now, this does not necessarily guarantee the workforce will continue to stay strong in the next few years. Through using HR analytics, companies can track what problems may come in the future, what those problems could cost the company, and what the HR department will need to do if that problem happens.

This idea is especially true for companies with employees all around the same age or experience level. If you don’t have a healthy mix of ages working for your company, you risk having each employee retiring around the same time. Without a proper plan on how you’re going to navigate this situation, the HR department could be left scrambling for new hires. With proper analytics, you could see this coming.

When the HR department takes advantage of analytics, the entire company will benefit. With a stronger focus on hiring the right employees, ensuring they’re doing their job productively and efficiently, and overseeing the operations of the entire company, the HR department will give business a better boost.

Using analytics within the HR department will become something companies can’t ignore in 2017. As the technology advances, HR analytics will become just as crucial as analytics in other business departments.

Photo Credit: Jahangeerm Flickr via Compfight cc

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

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

Talent Analytics: Predicting HR’s Way Out Of The Fog

Here’s the average amount of time recruiters spend looking at a resume: 6.25 seconds. That’s how long it takes to evaluate, by brain, whether or not a candidate is the right fit for a job. And here’s another stat: this is the thirteenth month in a row when 200,000 plus jobs have been created.

So, theoretically, to fill 200,000 jobs would require 347 hours of brain time. That doesn’t count all the other candidates who didn’t make the cut. Or what happens after the hire.

The variations on success or failure in HR are always endless: we’re human, not robot, for one thing. But given our profoundly transformed world of work, the variables are now also epic. From multiple generations to global organizations to the enormous impact of Big Data, there’s no turning back. Our era has been called the Talent Age, the Social Age, the Mobile Age. What it’s not: the Pile Of Resumes Age.

Hence HR’s present headache. There’s a lot of talk about how we need to change the culture: become more people-centric, understand what the millennials and innovative talent wants (start by accepting that they are The Future of Work), figure out how to foster engagement and express recognition and make sure no one leaves. And then there’s all this data. Big Data can seem part ether, part mega-entity. As someone told me, it’s like a fog machine was left on and filled the conference room as we all sat there, stunned. And the word unstructured can strike fear in the hearts of even the most seasoned talent managers.

But it’s not a fog of data, it’s our own fog. We need to approach epic change in an epic way and be very clear about it. To really leverage human capital now, we need to turn to the data that is constantly forming, streaming, reforming. Passive and active candidates, onboarding, training, engagement, retention, attrition, performance, recognition: it can all be predicted with Big Data.

The key is that we are not just gazing into a crystal ball, we’re looking with clarity, knowing that the more information, the more time, the more data points, the more accuracy. But this is about modeling, and about forecasting:

  1. Turnover.Predicting the risk for the most turnover — in which functions, which units, which locations, and what positions, and modeling the scenarios in advance
  2. Churn / retention.Identifying where the highest risk of churn is going to be, and who is at risk for it. Determining what resources should be turned to them in terms of retention activities and / or training.
  1. Risk.Building realistic profiles of which candidates are risk for leaving prematurely, and when. Creating models of which candidates are likely to experience drop in their performance.
  1. Talent.Forecasting who, among new hires, are going to be the high achievers and high performers, and decide should they be shifted into fast track programs. 
  1. Futurecasting. Modeling the various changes that an organization may experience, from global to political, and what the impact of talent hiring, retention and engagement could be.

We need technology that can be used through mobile devices, is interconnected via the cloud so it’s consistent across the board, is intelligent enough to keep learning, is agile enough to refocus. We also need tech to be consistent enough to be a Watson to our Jeopardy. But that’s exactly what predictive analytics offers: the ability to take the past and make sense of it in terms of common factors and key relationships, and to use that information not just to model and predict the future, but to make sound and insightful recommendations.

It may seem like a glaring paradox, but in data lies the future of human resources and talent management. So yes, we do need to change the culture — to one that relies on data. And then we can see clearly.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

How To Be A Good Leader? Get Real

Labor Day’s coming up. To me, national holiday not only reminds me of honoring the workforce (which we’ve been doing as a nation since 1894), it also signifies the start of a new season. I may have left my school days behind, but that feeling of sharpening my pencils for some serious buckling down has never left.

What’s on the curriculum? In the university of HR, celebrating the workforce is more important than ever — and celebrating them every day. That requires good leadership, with a human face. I’ve been spending a lot of airtime on Talent Acquisition’s need to keep pace with the amazing tech innovations happening fast. Yes: we’re about to be hit with a virtual tidal wave of Big Data as Steve Lohr aptly put it. And yes: for HR and talent analytics, that means we have to entirely retool — and fast. But especially in the face of such massive changes, we need to focus on people, not numbers. Say it with me: A company’s success is driven by its workforce’s performance. In one sense, every day needs to be Labor Day.

I’m thinking of a supermarket. We all heard about my local grocery chain Market Basket, the quiet little New England supermarket chain whose loyal employees (and customers) responded with a resounding NO when their beloved CEO was ousted. The organization’s top-down restructuring lost millions during the misstep because it overlooked a key factor in its own success: the authentic, human relationship that Arthur T. Demoulas forged with his workforce. And I do mean authentic: based not on smoke and mirrors, on a pat on the back and a turning of the cheek, but on a mode of leadership with humans at the core. That means real benefits, a real profit-sharing plan, and first-name interactions across the board. As soon as the CEO came back, so did the success of the company.

Good leadership is authentic leadership.

When you align the best interests of your company with the best interests of your workforce, you generating more than employee loyalty. You generate customer loyalty as well.

Good leadership wants its workforce to win.

When you create a company culture that puts your people and their performance first, that will drive the best outcome for your business.

Good leadership wants it workforce to be happy.

When your people are happy, they feel more capable, more confident, and more creative. They’ll transmit that into their communications and interactions, advancing the business and driving innovation. Confidence, as many of us in HR see all the time, is contagious. It imbues collaborations with more positive outcomes, and ultimately inspires customer confidence.

Good leadership means real collaboration.

A recent piece by Rebecca Newton in Harvard Business Review focused on what defines truly collaborative leadership, and I agree:  “I define real collaborative leadership as: facilitating constructive interpersonal connections and activities between heterogenous groups to achieve shared goals. It is proactive and purpose-driven.”  Proactive. Purpose driven. I’d also add: continuous. Collaborative leadership is a perpetual learning process, adapting and growing with every new hire, new promotion, new goal.

Good leadership focuses on people, not numbers.

It may sound like a cliché, but in the face of a profoundly changing world of work (remember that tidal wave of Big Data about to hit?), it’s more important than ever. Regardless of data, regardless of technology, you simply can’t have an optimally performing organization without a genuine, people-centric relationship between leadership and workforce.

So enjoy your Labor Day. And if you’re here in New England, stop at Market Basket. The service rocks.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

Photo Credit: balancedapp via Compfight cc

What to Do Now About the Widening Gap in Data Skills

With the rise of our technology driven, increasingly mobile society, as well as the steady march forward of the Internet of Things, big data is everywhere. And when I say big — I mean big. And many people are wondering just what to do about the widening data skills gap.

Here are some eye-opening stats:

  • Big Data is big news:There has been more data created in two short years than in the entire history of the human race, and 73 percent of companies have already invested or plan to invest in big data this year.
  • Big Data means big money:For a typical Fortune 1000 company, a 10 percent increase in data accessibility could equal more than $65 million additional net income.
  • Big Data means big operating margins:Retailers who capitalize on big data could increase their operating margins by as much as 60 percent.
  • Big Data means big potential:Here’s the kicker, though — less than 0.5 percent of all the data created and tracked is being used.

The rise of the data scientist.

As more businesses complete their digital transformations, we can pity the poor Chief Data Officer, who are finding it increasingly difficult to fill the roles needed. First, there’s a definite dearth of qualified data scientists and data analysts out there: A study by McKinsey reported that “…by 2018, the U.S. alone may face a 50 to 60 percent gap between supply and requisite demand of deep analytic talent.” And that means one thing. When the demand far outweighs the supply, those in demand aren’t going to come cheap. According to a recent Bloomberg piece, the starting salaries for data scientists have already topped the $200,000 per year mark and summer internships pay anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 a month.

Recruiting and hiring for big data.

So how do you recruit and hire for data analyst roles? To start with, you need to look for people who are equal parts number-crunchers and visionaries. Your talent has to be able to decipher what the data means and to describe the “big picture” the data is forming.

  • Next, partner with higher education.The great news is that colleges and universities are starting to wake up to this data skills gap. Deloitte’s Analytics Trends 2016 reports that university analytics and data science programs are gathering steam, both in America and abroad. And this is where companies can benefit. As John Lucker, principal at Deloitte Consulting said recently,” Companies…need to really develop close relationships with these degree programs. Creating a true courtship between companies and universities is becoming more and more important.”
  • Invest in current employees.While you don’t want to try and fit a square peg into a round hole, there’s a possibility you have people on your team already who have that perfect mix I spoke about above. Perhaps the person in business operations who happens to have an affinity for crunching numbers and analyzing data results. Maybe one of your programmers works closely with the digital marketing teams and therefore has a deep understanding of the goals and strategies when it comes to customer acquisition and retention. Keeping your eyes peeled for these types, and developing training programs for existing employees who are interested in big data (or who know big data and are interested in learning more about the company as a whole) can save money in the long run.
  • Keep systems and technology up to date.This might cost at the beginning, but ensuring you have the best technology available will help you whether you’re looking to hire or train from within.A recent Bain study found that of the 400 companies they spoke to (with revenue in the billion dollar range), at least a third didn’t have the state-of-the-art tools, quality data, processes, and incentives in-house that are needed to attract and retain high-level data analysts.

If investing in tech is out of range right now, you could also consider outsourcing your data-analytics to a respected managed services provider (MSP). But be sure and treat that relationship as a partnership, and be involved every step of the way. Your MSP should be privy to how your business runs. Don’t just outsource your data analytics and hope for the best.

The goal of every organization today should be ensuring they have a fully functioning and well-staffed data analytics program in place. This requires a bit of investment, but also requires collaboration and communication between those dealing with the data, and those dealing with the results. Start thinking outside the box now, and take proactive steps to make sure your businesses growth isn’t stifled by the widening “big data” skills gap.

A version of this was first posted on Entrepreneur.

Big, Bad Data: How Talent Analytics Will Make It Work In HR

Here’s a mind-blowing fact to spark up the late-summer doldrums: research from IBM shows that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. I find this fascinating.

Which means that companies have access to an unprecedented amount of information: insights, intelligence, trends, future-casting. In terms of HR, it’s a gold mine of Big Data.

This past spring, I welcomed the ‘Industry Trends in Human Resources Technology and Service Delivery Survey,’ conducted by the Information Services Group, a leading technology insights, market intelligence and advisory services company. It’s a useful study, particularly for leaders and talent managers, offering a clear glimpse of what companies investing in HR tech expect to gain from their investment.

Not surprisingly, there are three key benefits companies expect to realize from investments in HR tech:

  • Improved user and candidate experience
  • Access to ongoing innovation and best practices to support the business
  • Speed of implementation to increase the value of technology to the organization.

It’s worth noting that driving the need for an improved user interface, access, and speed is the nature of the new talent surging into the workforce: people for whom technology is nearly as much a given as air. We grew up with technology, are completely comfortable with it, and not only expect it to be available, we assume it will be available, as well as easy to use and responsive to all their situations, with mobile and social components.

According to the ISG study, companies want HR tech to offer strategic alignment with their business. I view this as more about enabling flexibility in talent management, recruiting and retention — all of which are increasing in importance as Boomers retire, taking with them their deep base of knowledge and experience. And companies are looking more for the analytics end of the benefit spectrum. No surprise here that the delivery model will be through cloud-based SaaS solutions.

Companies also want:

  • Data security
  • Data privacy
  • Integration with existing systems, both HR and general IT
  • Customizability —to align with internal systems and processes.

They also want their HR technology to be:

Cloud-based. According to the ISG report, more than 50% of survey respondents have implemented or are implementing cloud-based SaaS systems. It’s easy, it’s more cost-effective than on-premise software, and it’s where the exciting innovation is happening. 

Mobile/social. That’s a given. Any HCM tool must have a good mobile user experience, from well-designed mobile forms and ease of access to a secure interface.

They want it to have a simple, intuitive user interface – another given. Whether accessed via desktop or mobile, the solution must offer a single, unified, simple-to-use interface.

They want it to offer social collaboration tools, which is particularly key for the influx of millenials coming into the workplace, who expect to be able to collaborate via social channels. HR is no exception here. While challenging from a security and data protection angle, it’s a must.

But the final requirement the study reported is, in my mind, the most important: Analytics and reporting. Management needs reporting to know their investment is paying off, and they also need robust analytics to keep ahead of trends within the workforce.

It’s not just a question of Big Data’s accessibility, or of sophisticated metrics, such as the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that reveal the critical factors for success and measure progress made towards strategic goals. For organizations to realize the promise of Big Data, they must be able to cut through the noise, and access the right analytics that will transform their companies for the better.

Given what companies are after, as shown in the ISG study, I predict that more and more companies are going to be recognizing the benefits of using integrated analytics for their talent management and workforce planning processes. Talent Analytics creates a powerful, invaluable amalgam of data and metrics; it can identify the meaningful patterns within that data and metrics and, for whatever challenges and opportunities an organization faces, it will best inform the decision makers on the right tactics and strategies to move forward. It will take talent analytics to synthesize Big Data and metrics to make the key strategic management decisions in HR. Put another way, it’s not just the numbers, it’s how they’re crunched.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

Big Data Is A Big Deal

Big Data is all the buzz these days. And with good reason. It is a vast storehouse of information that – with the right algorithms and filters – can be turned into actionable insight. Nowhere is Big Data more valuable than in Human Resources and Talent Management. People often ask me “Meghan – Why do you speak about seeing people in 3D?” Well world – This is one key reason why.

For decades the gold standards in hiring were the resume and personal interview. But a resume can hide a thousand faults and interviews favor those who are articulate and personable. HR and Recruitment staff often had to rely on instinct in making the final decision. By creating new streams of verifiable information about potential hires, Big Data is changing that. As LinkedIn‘s VP of Talent Solutions and Insights, Dan Shapero says: “Recruiting has always been an art, but it’s becoming a science.”

Big Data’s greatest HR value may well be as a predictive tool. By analyzing the skills and attributes of high performers, Big Data allows organizations to build a template for future hires. HR and Leaders can learn what to look for with incredible precision. The results of these analyses can sometimes be surprising. Degrees from fancy colleges have, in some organizations, turned out to be lousy predictors of success. Similarly, an impressive resume may not necessarily mean someone is good match for your organization. Big Data is democratic, supporting a meritocracy and enabling companies to make smarter decisions; Google has an entire HR division devoted to “people analytics” which measures qualities such as social skills, flexibility, emotional intelligence, initiative, attitude (negative or positive or AKA “good fit” vs “bad fit”), and perseverance.

Big Data also widely expands the hiring pool. HR can go online to sites such as TalentBin and LinkedIn and search the world for that perfect hire. A prospect doesn’t even have to be looking to switch jobs. Intuit recruiter Jennifer Hasche, puts it like this: “We found TalentBin to be a massive timesaver and critical tool in our discovery of top talent.”

For anyone looking for a job, Big Data is a game-changing way to increase your visibility. The greater your online presence, the more organizations will become aware of you and your accomplishments. Make yourself known on social media and networking sites; update your profile with new achievements and skills. The goal is build a three-dimensional online portrait of yourself; this can include pictures, letters of praise and recommendation, slideshows, videos, and even your old-fashioned resume. The goal: to make HR look at your online self and say, “We need to hire this person.” By the way, don’t ever deny anything negative in your past: Big Data exponentially increases the odds of it becoming known.

Big Data is a great people detective. It’s unbiased and discovers talent. The right algorithms can pinpoint hidden potential by harvesting and then filtering reams of information to deliver a star in the making. If you find someone who is passionate and engaged — on his or her own time – in online forums and communities that are fanatic about, for example, games or digital infrastructure or cloudware, you have uncovered some very important predictive data.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by Big Data, there is just so damn much of it. So remember: be selective. Know where your organization’s needs and Big Data intersect, and exactly what kind of data you need. You can ignore the vast majority of Big Data. But that sliver you do use can lead to unprecedented hiring success. All you need is one or two nuggets of data. Stay creative and open to all the possibilities.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes on 06/23/2013

photo credit: Buzzword Bingo: Big Data via photopin (license)

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.


Photo Credit: jonahengler via Compfight cc

Big Data: Now an Integral Part of Talent Recruiting

Big data is a driving force behind business strategy today—and human resources is no exception. It’s given recruiters the tools they need to make better hires and is changing the way organizations measure performance, boost employee engagement, prioritize training, and analyze talent needs. HR today has access to a gold mine of data, an unprecedented amount of information: insights, intelligence, trends, future-casting.

There’s a reason the job of data scientist just ranked as the top career opportunity for 2016: There are currently more than 1,700 job openings for a job “…where demand outpaces supply,” said Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor’s career trends analyst.

Making data science one more crucial skill to add to the skills gap HR is dealing with today. But it’s worth the effort to stay on top of big data and data science – here’s why:

Why HR Needs Big Data

Recruiters have access to a lot of information about potential hires: Social media, online databases, employment records, online tests, and even contest results. This information can help them assess leadership qualities, critical thinking skills, and other hard and soft skills that can make the difference between a mediocre and remarkable employee.

For example, personality testing analyzes a candidate’s skills and personality in relation to an existing team—identifying strengths, weaknesses, and complementary skills that indicate how well he or she will fit into a particular role.

But this is only one example of why HR needs big data. In fact, a growing number of HR departments are turning to big data to improve decision-making and efficacy.

The Big Data Difference

Regardless of the industry, both recruiting and training are vital. Many enterprises see human capital as the most influential factor for long-term economic value. Here are a couple of examples of how data has helped organizations make smarter hiring decisions:

  • Customer support. Xerox revitalized its call centers by analyzing information collected during a six-month period. By analyzing the data, they realized a personality assessment was a far better predictor of success than a hiring decision based predominantly on previous experience. As a result, Xerox improved employee satisfaction and cut call center turnover rates by 20 percent.
  • One financial services provider had an epiphany regarding its recruiting strategy. When hiring sales staff, they were using academic excellence as a key performance indicator. However, a look at their sales productivity and turnover rate showed that wasn’t a critical factor. Instead, hiring for previous sales experience, time management skills, and resume quality made a more predictable difference. The shift in their hiring strategy led to a $4 million difference in revenue.

Why a Lack of Big Data Skills Is an Issue

Beyond more strategic recruiting, understanding data and analytics can help organizations track how training impacts employee progress, improve how and where they communicate, and gain insight into factors that affect performance and retention.

Using data to pinpoint how employees are getting burned out, for example, can lead to better hires and internal support. Predictive analytics can indicate where a candidate or employee might run into problems in the future, providing an opportunity to address potential issues proactively.

The trick is that somebody has to know how to read this information. That’s the essence of the big data skills crisis: There simply aren’t enough HR professionals who know how to gather and interpret the information available through analytics.

As I have said before, it’s not just the numbers, it’s how they’re crunched.

Finding a Data Scientist Means Thinking Outside the Box

You may have to use unconventional hiring methods to recruit talent to tackle your HR analytics. Why? First, there’s the previously mentioned talent shortage; like many other technical skills, the competition for experts can be fierce. Creative talent sourcing—like new graduates or freelancers—can improve your odds of finding a match.

However, this field is relatively new, which is why the number of data scientists falls short of demand—but that doesn’t necessarily mean the skills aren’t out there. As noted in a leading site on Business Analytics, Big Data, Data Mining, and Data Science, people working in this field may be educated as statisticians, mathematicians, or computer scientists, or they may have expertise working with data science tools like Hadoop, R, or SAS.

Data mining takes a broad spectrum of skills, so regardless of whether you use social media, crowdsourcing, or other networks to find a data scientist, you should keep an open mind. 

Jump on the Big Data Bandwagon Now

Big data is infinitely useful for HR, and it’s worth investing time and resources to find the right people for your needs.

Start by looking at basic analytics and prepare your team to take a more data-centric approach to its work; identify tools that can help you succeed, and roll out any changes needed to support internal data collection. Beginners may consider outsourcing for some data help, but using a consultant to coach internal staff can be an excellent place to start, too.

Big data improves the recruiting process, making it more efficient and more reliable. It even gives organizations the information to help existing employees grow and become better workers. Businesses should start seriously thinking about finding HR analytics talent to harness data’s real potential.

A version of this post was first published on Converge on 3/22/16

Photo Credit: rodrigo_play via Compfight cc

The Impact of Technology on HR and What’s Ahead

Rapid changes in technology have affected businesses in more ways than we can count, from globalization and organizational adjustments to a workforce clamoring for remote and mobile job opportunities—and human resources has had to adapt swiftly. If HR wants to continue to play a critical role in helping businesses anticipate and manage organizational change, it must have technology at its core.

With Millennials making up more than half of the current workforce—and predicted to make up 75 percent by 2020—HR is going to have to embrace and build on technological advancements to meet both employee expectations and business requirements. Talent analytics and workplace analysis will become more commonplace, and companies using the data available to them will be far more competitive. 

Get Smarter With Big Data

Compliance and risk avoidance are essential principles for HR, underlying every function and task. Because of this, HR has earned a reputation for being mired in time-consuming duties with significant amounts of paperwork.

But technology has changed much of that monotony, via new HR portals and platforms that digitize much of the information HR needs to process. Today’s technology gives HR professionals access to the power of Big Data—impacting the way businesses understand their customers, market to new audiences, and communicate with existing and prospective employees.

When combined with other technologies, Big Data provides a tremendous amount of insight and allows HR professionals to make decisions backed by concrete information and more efficient processes:

  • Big Data gives HR a fact-based view of the current workforce, identifying emerging trends so businesses can adapt.
  • Predictive analytics allow for better risk-management decisions. For example, they can identify employees who could benefit from additional training or highlight teams that may be struggling.
  • Analytics also allow recruiters to assess potential employees based on real information; by basing hiring decisions on facts instead of hunches, they can improve the quality and placement of new hires.

Clean Up Your Office with the Cloud

The cloud is another innovation that’s changing HR in a big way. Both collection and storage of data have always been a big part of HR’s function and, until the cloud, meant hard drive space, piles of paper, filing cabinets, and desk drawers. Naturally, this led to inefficiencies, security issues, data loss, and chaotic office spaces.

Today, all of this information can instead be stored in the cloud—documents and other pertinent information can be easily accessed online while data can be collected through simplified forms and automated processes. Employee information—like tax forms, payroll data, performance reviews, and contact information—can be archived and organized in one secure location.

Cloud-based systems and Big Data go hand in hand. All of this data can provide valuable insight if you know how to interpret it, which has already made a tremendous impact on HR. However, in the future, HR’s challenge will include the need for higher levels of interpretation and broader application of the insights cloud-based systems and Big Data provide.

Give Employees What They Want With Mobile Technology

Cloud security makes it easy to limit access to information. At the same time, cloud-based mobile platforms allow individuals to access their information more readily than ever before.

Imagine if you didn’t need to email HR every time you had a question about your benefits or paycheck; instead, you’d log on to a portal where all that information was at your fingertips. Imagine if you could use the same portal to request time off, change your mailing address, or confirm contributions to your 401(K).

Mobile HR apps make it easy for employees to access this kind of information anywhere and anytime. And that makes life easier for HR workers, too.

Many Businesses Waiting to Make the Change—for Now

Despite the potential impact, many companies still haven’t made the switch to modern HR systems—but I think it’s only a matter of time. As we barrel into the future of technology in the workplace, HR has a lot to look forward to; cloud computing, easier storage, better insights, and greater transparency are only the beginning. Because of efficiencies, cost savings, employee expectations, and the power of Big Data—for HR and organizations as a whole—technology is just too business critical ignore.

This post was first published on Huffington Post on  2/25/2016.

Introducing the TalentCulture #WorkTrends Chat and Podcast

We’ve all seen many a site proclaim significant changes for 2016, but in this case, the proclamation is earned, and real. It’s been quite a ride and I will continue to make new things happen here. My friend in forecasting and futurecasting about the world of work (Kevin W. Grossman) is heading for some exciting new ventures and partnerships, and so am I—right here— with the TalentCulture Community. Kevin is still going to be a featured voice here on the blog as we move forward.

I’m amping up my own podcast, shifting from #TChat to a focus on something new, and we’re incredibly thrilled to announce the launch of #WorkTrends—the new incarnation of our current podcast and Twitter Chat on The Future of Work, but with a sharper lens.

Our new #WorkTrends podcast and Twitter chat kick off on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, from 1-2 PM EST.  It’s the same time and channel for those who participate along with us weekly. 

As you know, my passion is about the workforce and most importantly, its valuable people; both in the workplace as well as how we navigate this amazing new global, multicultural workscape. Things like big data, cloud technology, mobility, and social media continue to influence all things about work as we know it today, and as it will be in the future. How those things impact your brand, recruitment and hiring practices, loyalty, corporate culture, marketing, social media, employee retention and beyond are all things I’ll examine in great detail moving forward.

And yes, I see this as a workscape for The Future of Work. The clarity with which innovation bumps us into a new awareness is the same vision we need to maintain, and that’s what #WorkTrends is all about.

The world of work has so radically evolved in the past decade. It has changed, and when looking back, sometimes it’s hard to fathom the incredible leap we’ve taken. In honor of that evolution, I was reflecting on all the work and adventures Kevin and I have been fortunate to be able to do, and I realized that he and I have taken one incredible social and learning journey together. It’s always a leap of faith to trend cast, particularly when it comes to brand and talent issues these days: like weathercasters, getting it wrong can have profound consequences. We are still searching for answers and asking questions along the way.

But we’ve also managed to get it right. We both share respect for the power of analytics and the importance of cross-generational teamwork, along with an appreciation for the value of employers who understand brand awareness and the candidate experience. We live on mobile devices and in social channels, so the leap to seeing work take on these facets has been a natural one for us, and always exciting to share with the community we’ve created.

As a fellow work-caster, Kevin has been a font of wisdom and a great friend along the way. Kevin also understands, firsthand, the value of seemingly trivial things–like middle initials. I applaud Kevin and all he has accomplished and continues to do at The Talent Board and am looking forward to watching him do what he does best—make great things happen.

As for me, I’m interested in how we dovetail talent, technology and business, enabling the right kind of intelligence without disabling the right quality of interaction for the future of work. What we’re learning about this is incredibly exciting, and in the same vein as we work to forecast new trends. I’m also profoundly impressed by the team of talent and the community I have with me, and you’re going to see the results of all this work I hope.

It’s going to be exciting to set off into 2016 with this super foundation as a jumping off point. So hang onto your hats. Here we go! I have more exploring and collaboration to do. We all do.

Does Your Data Contribute to Sustainable Business Growth?

No matter your business, it all comes down to the bottom line. How do you achieve sustainable business growth?  In the recruiting world, this often means making high impact decisions on data. Data isn’t sexy, but it’s a reality of every business move.  Marketers live in the world of data, always trying to test and refine what’s working. Recruiters are learning to take a page from their marketing coworkers. Recruiting firms need to focus on increasing their volume of sales and profitability to achieve sustainable business growth. What does this mean? It means attracting more clients, more candidates, and sourcing them at a lower cost.

Big Data and Sustainable Growth

The recruiting industry has changed a lot in the past 20 years. And in the last 5 years, it feels like it’s moved at warp speed.  What has emerged is a new form of recruiting, feedback, and monitoring that is driving business. As budgets shrink and demand raises, the following can be helpful to achieve sustainable growth:

Video Interviews. Video interviews are a low cost effective solution that saves both time and money. In the span of time that a recruiter can make a telephone screen, that same recruiter can view 10 on demand recordable video interviews. Many recruiters prefer to choose a set list of questions for consistency and send them to candidates. The onus is on the candidates to then record their responses to these questions and send the video interview to the recruiter. Within this platform, recruiters can share candidate responses, rank candidates and make informed decisions on how to proceed. Advanced reporting tools help inform recruiters how many interviews they’re conducting, their cost per candidate, and more. These tools can help recruiting firms recruit smarter on a tight budget.

Building Talent Pools. Having a bank of resumes is not enough to be able to lower your recruiting costs. Recruiters should be turning these resumes into talent pools. These talent pools should be searchable within narrow search terms, which why many recruiting firms turn to ATS systems. These systems allow recruiters to spend less money on advertising job postings and less time searching for candidates. It’s a cliche that employers say they’ll keep a candidate’s resume on file for future use. But now, recruiters can truly keep all of those resumes and search them at lightening quick speed. The data contained in all of these resumes, references, and attachments can help recruiters source talent at a lower cost, which contributes to sustainable growth over time.

Social Data Tools. Increasingly, social data tools will be able to predict which passive candidates are a good fit for organizations.  And most importantly, they’re beginning to predict when a candidate may be ready to make a move. This kind of data will be able to help recruiting firms identify candidates faster and reduce time to hire.

Data is becoming the new buzz word in recruiting. It’s clear that the data that various technologies are offering can help recruiting firms to identify talent faster and engage with them. Overall, a small investment up front is going to save recruiting firms both time and money. And this is where data is going to contribute to sustainable growth.  If you’re not yet using data to adjust your hiring process, you could be missing out. Gain the insight your recruiting firm needs.

Photo credit: Bigstock

How Data is Being Used To Boost Recruitment and Retention

Big Data and the intelligent use of Analytics has been one of the top business topics of the last year. For anyone working in human resources or recruiting, ever greater use of data promises a revolution in the way decisions are made. Recruitment and retention of top talent differentiates a company from its competitors. The days of gut decisions and interviewer bias are numbered, to be replaced by evidence-based decision making.

To be clear, leveraging data presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to learn the skills – and choose the technologies – needed to analyse the mass of data available within your company. Looking beyond that, we also need to start collecting actionable data that has hitherto not been collected. The opportunity is significant though – to improve outcomes across all areas of HR from recruitment to development to retention.

What Are The Benefits of Using Data In Recruitment?

Have you heard the old adage of “the truth will set you free”? Well for today’s recruiter that could be restated as “the data will set you free”. So many elements of a recruiter’s life are made more frustrating through a lack of data and insights – but all that is about to change.

Have you ever encountered a hiring manager with unrealistic expectations? Or one who’s eager to sell aspects of the role that you fear do not fit with the day-to-day realities of the job or company? The right data can help manage the expectations of hiring managers. Retention data can highlight the elements of your offer where the recruitment team are consistently overselling to candidates.

When it comes to which criteria to include in a job listing to produce the best quality of hire, data can give you the answer. With the right data points you can find out which skills, values and behaviours lead to a hire who is likely to be a success in the organisation and remain in their position long term. Those insights can be derived client by client or department by department. Powerful insights!

Have you ever wondered which of your talent sources are most cost effective? Most companies know the applicant volumes they are getting from each source. Most know the shortlist candidates and even hires that each is producing. But we need more data than this to make informed decisions. Which talent sources bring in our highest achievers? Which talent sources produce hires whose retention rates are the most compelling? If data gave you these insights, you can imagine how your choices of where to invest might be impacted.

How Are Recruiters Using This Data?

To put the uses of big data into context and help you to better comprehend how you might use it, here’s a great case summary from Xerox Corp.  Xerox had estimated the cost of training each of their call centre staff at $5000, yet many were leaving before Xerox could even recoup their training costs.

The business had traditionally assumed that those with call centre experience were more likely to succeed; however, analysis of the data proved otherwise. The data showed that candidates with experience cost more to hire, yet didn’t perform better or last longer than those without experience. The data also showed that those candidates who were active social media users had higher retention rates than other candidates. Another surprising insight was that creative types tended to stay with the company longer than inquisitive types. Analysing big data helped Xerox to cut the attrition rate at their call centres by over 20% – a significant and tangible financial saving, as you can imagine!

So how can you leverage data more effectively? Well one company that is helping recruiters to use data as part of their recruitment process is Talenytics. They’ve developed a clever system that aims to remove pain points in recruitment by first collecting and then analysing the most essential data in the recruiting process. This provides recruiters with the insights needed to make the right hire each time, from a smaller shortlist of candidates and with less time therefore needed to complete the recruitment process.

The Future of Recruitment Lies In Big Data

Research from IBM has shown that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in just the last two years, so Big Data use is expected to accelerate dramatically. In the past the sheer cost and complexity of connecting and analysing so many data points made the use of big data within recruiting impossible. However in the past couple of years we’ve seen a rise in the number of analytical tools available to make the use of such data cost effective.

This new realm of big data analytics affects every area of the recruitment process including:

  • Vacancy marketing
  • Employer branding
  • Filtering of prospective candidates
  • Planning interview questions
  • Talent development
  • Who to retain and promote

With such overarching effects, it’s no surprise that recruiters and employers alike are clamouring to invest in talent analytics software to help meet their talent needs. The future will see recruiters using a 360 holistic approach to finding and assessing talent. One dimensional CVs and applications will be supplemented by social media data, online assessments, departmental profiling and past hiring success and failure data to more accurately assess a candidate’s chances of success.

Further Reading: Big Data and Recruitment

Over the next few years we’re going to see a flurry of cloud based software solutions that look to tackle big data for recruiters. Early adopters are already reaping the rewards but not all companies are equipped for gathering or interpreting data. For those of you who would like to explore things further, below is some further reading that will help.

This article from Staffing Stream includes 5 tips for putting dig data to work for you. I particularly like their tip about using existing tools such as Excel to analyse data and answer questions such as:

  • What is the profile of historically successful employees in this role?
  • Where have we found candidates for these jobs in the past?
  • How long have similar searches taken historically?

Most recruiters will already have data relating to these questions but may not have a simple way of analysing the data – Excel can be a good starting point, or a tool like Talenytics can take this analysis to the next level.

Another article that could be really useful to recruiters introduces a tool called which helps users to easily scrape data from websites. This post includes an easy to follow demo of how recruiters can use the tool as part of their talent sourcing process and also to migrate data from legacy systems to new tools you may wish to deploy.

Concluding Remarks

Hopefully I’ve given you good reason to stop and reflect on how data is going to impact many aspects of what we do today – and given you some ideas of how it’s transforming the ways recruiters will work in years to come. If you’ve any first hand experiences, case studies or tools you can comment on I’d love to hear about these – please do share your insights in the comments section below.

Photo credit: Bigstock

How Big Data Will Develop

There is still much to look forward to in the way of technology in 2015. It’s explosive. It’s all encompassing. It’s big data.

Nearly every aspect of our lives are already touched by data in some way. The annoying emails in your inbox? Flyers for companies you’ve never been to in the mail? Job opportunities at organizations you’ve never heard of? These are all results of big data integration.

As business leaders, the big data space is only getting better and more organized to target candidates, clients and prospective customers more effectively through nimble platforms and streamlined practices. Here’s how you can expect to see big data develop through the remainder of the year.

You’re Only As Agile As Your Data Platform

Companies are beginning to trade in their massive hardware units for cloud-based data aggregation platforms. This is less costly and much easier for organizations to manage as they accrue more and deeper data. This agility facilitates decision-making, and as Andrew Sheridan said:

“[Business intelligence] and data visualization are becoming easier to use and more readily available. This will open up the opportunity for companies of all sizes to gain incredible insights from their data.”

He explains that this shift allows business leaders to ask why customers and candidates go to their pages. Rather than just a collection of information, as big data advances, in 2015 it’s beginning to transition to a true analysis of the information therein.

Personalization And Integration Become Key

The plethora of information available can be overwhelming. Quite frankly, much of it might be irrelevant to the data you truly need to see. That’s why this year will include personalization of the data you pull. Why is this pertinent information? Because with the massive amount of data it becomes more difficult and time consuming to find the numbers you need for the decisions you’re looking to make.

It’s Not All Hype

Despite the number of articles and blogs about the seemingly unending exposure of big data in the workplace, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s not just a marketing ploy, it’s a real effort to help businesses make more educated decisions. Organizations have seen the benefits of big data, as 73% of them have either already invested or plan to invest in a platform in the next two years.

It Will Streamline Business Practices

Granted, companies already use big data to change business practices and have made an impact on the way we make business decisions. But with the integration into the recruitment departments, big data has become more than just a medium to track and file information. It gives business leaders the capability to educated choices based on the actionable information provided by the data platforms. Doug Laney, VP Distinguished Analyst at Gartner Inc., said:

“Customers, employees and citizens will become engaged principally through digital means. With operational processes quickly becoming digitalized, traditional analog and manual processes will be automated, including both physical and human elements. Many, if not most, decisions will be algorithmic, based on automated judgement.”

Big data isn’t just hype, although with all of the information and the two cents from hundreds of thought leaders would tell you otherwise. It has trends within itself, so how then, could it be a trend? It has become an important part of a robust business model, and as the platforms and options for big data aggregation expand, so do the possibilities. Cloud integration increases agility so business leaders can make their educated decisions more easily, and it streamlines various business practices.

These are just some of the trends happening in the world of big data within the remainder of the year; just imagine how much simpler complicated business practices will become as we develop further into the industry.


Image: bigstock

HR Data Won’t Make You Less Human

With all the talk and rush toward people analytics (or talent analytics), there is some justifiable angst today that the H just might be taken away from HR – numbers will make everyone less human.

Everywhere we look, there’s a new article, webinar, conference or seminar imploring us to get with the program, that program being big HR data and the use of analytics in managing HR and the workforce. Analytics is being used across the board in HR, including talent acquisition, performance management, succession planning and more.

Is there a downside? By using data and analytics across HR functions, will HR and the people that make up HR become just machines, with no humanity, no compassion and no common sense?


Not that there isn’t an opposing view to accompany the angst. Writing in Forbes, Liz Ryan goes all in on the inhumanity of analytics:

“A typical ridiculous, unquestioned business adage is “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” That’s BS on the face of it, because the vast majority of important things we manage at work aren’t measurable, from the quality of our new hires to the confidence we instill in a fledgling manager.”

Whoa – relax, Liz.

People are the backbone of any organization, and the most successful ones recognize that. It’s the reason talent management is such a hot topic and high priority now. Especially coming off the global recession, with top talent at a premium…the best organizations get this!

Liz goes on:

“Measurement requires stopping the action, getting outside of it and holding it up against a yardstick, exactly the opposite of the activity that would create products or ship them, make customers happy or move our business forward in any way…Measurement is our favorite CYA activity.”

That’s simply not true at successful organizations.

At successful organizations, the action doesn’t stop, the creativity doesn’t stop and the innovation doesn’t stop – the people in these organizations are on fire and they stay on fire, from top to bottom. The measurement is all about improving the business, and making the business better for its people…which will make the business better.

That’s a never-ending, iterative cycle that makes the organization better.

When leading HR industry analyst Josh Bersin claims that, through the use of analytics, “high tech companies now know why top engineers quit and how to build compensation and work environments to get people to stay,” he’s not saying numbers magically appear in some algorithm, get crunched and then get spit out. He’s saying that as part of an ongoing evaluation of an organization and the quest for improvement, this is an area that analytics can shine a spotlight on to improve how the organization betters its people management.

And the HR data comes from people. It comes from employees talking to and engaging with their managers, which comes about from smart executives working closely with and engaging their people managers. In successful organizations, it’s not about CYA and finger pointing – it’s about making everyone better – and making the organization better as a result.

Here’s another real-world example of a large, complex organization that has used people analytics to improve its operations, in conjunction with making its people happier, more productive and more fulfilled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employs many people to assist in the hiring of tens of thousands of applicants in it 29 agencies. People analytics was used to improve a wide range of talent acquisition functions – it led to a better allocation of resources, better candidates and improved communication between HR and hiring managers.  Analytics improved the morale of the people in HR and the people hiring candidates. And oh, by the way, the people applying for jobs now have a much better experience based on data provided by analytics. All this happened without stopping the wheel.

CYA? No. Organizational improvements? Yes.

As Bersin says, the geeks have arrived. But don’t let that scare you.

Most topics are not black and white. With all numbers and no people, HR can’t function. With just people and no data, HR is a lot less effective in doing the people part of its jobs.

While noted data scientist W. Edwards Deming is often credited with saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” he also said “the most important things cannot be measured.”

Embrace analytics, even just a little bit. You’ll see how it can help the people side of your job.


Image: bigstock

Simply Knock Three Times For Positive Workforce Impact

“Oh, my darling, knock three times
On the ceiling if you want me
Twice on the pipe
If the answer is no…”

Tony Orlando & Dawn

It started with an e-mail. The latest OnStar diagnostic report from our Saturn VUE chock full of data analysis on nearly every single facet of the car: engine and transmission system, air bag system, antilock braking system and more. We had green checkmarks across the board except for one: emissions system.

Argh. Yes, the engine light was on. “How long has the engine light been on?” I asked my wife who usually drives the VUE.

“I don’t know. I think about two weeks,” she answered.

“Wow,” I said.

“What? It’s been running fine.”

“Wow. Those idiot lights,” I added, channeling my father but not referring to my lovely wife.

So I called OnStar and they ran another diagnostic real-time and sure enough the recommendation was to take it in to a GM dealer and have the emissions system checked.

Which is what I did, and when I was getting a shuttle ride back, one of the other passengers, a young lady in her early 20’s, was on the phone with her dad. She said to him, “I have a question.”

I heard her say, “Knock three times? What? That was a song?”

She smiled and laughed and then I said, “Tony Orlando and Dawn.”

She repeated it to her father and then nodded at me. “Yep, that’s what he was just singing to me.”

Funny. It’s not knock four times or three times on the pipe – it’s repetitive precision is exactly how we remember the 1970’s pop hit. At least, those of us who do remember it. All of us have those single sources of musical truths baked into memory banks year after year.

And then it hit me (finally, right?) – the single source has been lost in the fact that since the early 1980’s cars have become more and more computerized, to the point today that data is constantly streaming from cars to servers to diagnostic outputs alerting us to all things that are well and unwell. This is true of most manufactured electronic “things” today that have microprocessors and they can tell both the manufacturers and the consumers exactly what’s going on inside.

This has also been true of finance, sales, marketing, supply chain management software and technology database systems for decades. Business leaders are now demanding the human resources (HR) data and analytics. The talent data and analytics that inform them about recruiting, performance, compensation and learning strategies. The analytics that will drive the enterprise’s workforce strategy and support the financial results the organization wants.

But aggregating and maintaining the sheer volume of workforce data available today, required to maximize that very investment, can be daunting to even the most progressive enterprise. It’s highly complex and costly for large global organizations due to the number of databases and data systems they maintain.

At the very heart of talent analytics is access to clean, collected, and unified workforce data. Early adoption is now occurring in organizations that are organizing and maintaining data so that it is transformed, standardized and reportable, so that they will be able to glean useful information that can in turn lead to measurable improvement in financial performance.

But they’ll need to have a primary data conduit from which HR and other vital business and finance data can flow to and from every internal and external system, all managed in a unified platform – a single source of truth.

How do we get to that single source of big data truth? I asked Marc Rind this question on the TalentCulture #TChat Show. Marc is the VP of Product Development & Chief Data Scientist at ADP and he told us that they’ve been working on a data exchange platform with a very simple API (application programming interface). It allows companies to bring in data assets from other systems and combine them with workforce data in order to bring out valuable insights into the state of their talent and where they’re going.

For example, Marc referenced a healthcare organization that unifies and analyzes their data to identify hiring patterns as well as projecting their overtime and scheduling needs real-time. Their everyday managers can also get the information they need to what their new hire attrition rate is, why it is, how it compares with their competitors, and what they should do to reduce it and be more competitive.

Another example included a retailer trying to understand not just how the sales are going in various locations or store locations, but also understanding how overtime impacts sales and what are the skills they should be hiring for elsewhere and other factors impacting positive outcomes based on those locations that are beating their sales goals. Nice weather plus optimal customer service leads to an extra 10% jump of foot traffic and great sales outdoors versus the mall stores.

These little ditties of insights can and do pay dividends. They are the HR tech pop songs that many providers of unifying platforms and data integration and management solutions are singing today with more to come tomorrow. Companies no longer have to sacrifice their favorite “tunes” – features and functionality – from the best of breed talent management solutions they’ve invested time and money into in exchange for moving to one unified core HR and talent management platform with subpar TM functionality. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Having access to meaningful data standardization and analysis as a single source of business and HR truth leads to strategic reporting and insightful analytics. Both provide critical guidance for organizational decisions, reinforcing the relationships among HR, finance and supply chain management.

So there you go, HR. Simply knock three times for positive workforce impact. After you’ve unified your data, of course.

#TChat Recap: How HR Drives Positive Workforce Impact With The Right Data Insights

HR has more momentum and presence in driving technology decisions than we have seen in years past. That’s why this week we talked with guest Marc Rind, VP of Product Development & Chief Data Scientist of ADP Analytics and Big Data, about how HR drives positive workforce impact with the right data insights. Marc discussed how do we seize the day and the innovation needed to make a big impact on organizations and workplace?

Our #TChat podcast conversation considered how HR can understand the business and the metrics that drive competitive advantage. Afterall, the right data is key across the HCM space.

Asking business to make decisions based on data insights can be scary if HR doesn’t understand the relevance and credibility of the data. A big lesson was that getting the right data can drive tech innovation towards a positive workforce impact.

Did You Miss The Podcast Show? Listen On BlogTalkRadioiTunes or Stitcher.


What’s Up Next? #TChat returns Wednesday, July 29th: #TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on the Twitters as well.

Next topic: #TChat Preview: Why Recruiting Is A Legitimate Career Choice – Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — 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.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


Photo credit: Big Stock Images

#TChat Preview: How HR Drives Positive Workforce Impact With The Right Data Insights

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

Last week we talked about how to build and market your employer brand, and this week we’re going to talk about how HR drives positive workforce impact with the right data insights.

Carpe Diem HR! Time to seize the business day!

HR has more momentum and presence in driving technology decisions than we have seen in years past. So how do we seize the day and innovation to make it impactful to our organizations and workplace?

First HR has to understand the business and the metrics that drive competitive advantage. Across the HCM ecosystem, the right data is key. Asking the business to make decisions based on data insights can be scary if HR doesn’t understand the relevance and credibility of the data.

Join us and learn what data empowers HR to drive tech innovation towards a positive workforce impact.

Sneak Peek:

#TChat Events: How To Build And Market Your Employer Brand

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, July 22 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about how HR drives positive workforce impact with the right data insights with this week’s guest: Marc Rind, VP of Product Development & Chief Data Scientist of ADP Analytics and Big Data.


Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, July 22

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, July 22 — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, and Marc will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What empowers HR to drive tech innovation towards a positive workforce impact? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How can HR ensure what data is real & impactful to create a competitive edge? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What examples of organizational data insights can HR leverage? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!!

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

BTR stitcher_logoItunes_podcast_icon



Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!


Image Credit: Big Stock Images

Join #panTalentChat #Webinar Can Data Help You Hire Better?

TalentCulture Founder and CEO Meghan M. Biro will present a webinar with pan, an industry-leading talent assessment solution, titled “6 Strategies to Improve Your Quality of Hire.” The free 30-minute webinar will be held February 17 at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST), and will be followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session on Twitter at 2:30 p.m. EST (follow hashtag #panTalentChat). The event is designed for HR, leaders and business pros who want to understand how data-driven hiring can increase their company’s hiring success.

It’s always inspiring when we put our heads together in the area of hiring and talent analytics. I’m about to do a webinar with pan (register for the webinar here).panwebinar on innovations in talent analytics during which I’ll present some interesting data from pan and other reputable sources. The fact is, we’re making huge strides in adapting Big Data to our needs. We’re past the stage of asking if and how Big Data will help us. Now the question is: how can we help Big Data help us? How can we use talent analytics and metrics to answer the same basic six questions we always need to ask?

We’ve accepted this immense resource, and are looking for ways to capitalize on its scope, power, and agility. Meaningful data requires the right measurements and assessments. Here are some tips on how to harness Big Data for meaningful answers to those six questions.

1. Is our recruiting effective?

Same question we’ve always asked, but amped up with data that can be gleaned from a range of channels, including mobile and social. Mine the data to show the diversity of the applicant sample, the ratio of applicants to hires, and the time between the arrival of the application and when the offer is accepted.

2. Are we working with the right assessments?

To get a scaled-up answer to this scaled-up version of “Are we asking the right questions” calls for accurate assessments. First, conduct a job analysis so the job is scientifically and clearly defined, including duties, competencies, and requirements. Then dovetail score-able testing and interviewing phases into the hiring process. The data from these assessments can provide great comparisons between candidates, pinpoint relevant qualifications, and help predict future job performance.

3. Are we measuring the whole person?

It’s a bit outside our comfort zone to replace a traditional judgment call with measurements. But data of late has been disproving some habitual assumptions. Make sure you measure the entire spectrum of competencies, from problem solving to negotiating, statistics to communication. Compare those qualities to the requirements of the job (based on your job analysis). Then compare those qualities among similarly promising candidates to find the best fit.

4. Is our selection program effective?

Even with Big Data at our fingertips we tend to lean on it more up front, during hiring.  But we need better hindsight. Continue gathering data to track and adjust the hiring process (don’t just “set it and forget it”). Measure performance, sales, turnover of hired employees (outcome data). Then, combine that with the predictor data gathered during recruiting and hiring, such as interview and test scoring. The results will indicate how to revise scoring metrics going forward, and how to maximize successful hires.

5. Are we getting a good ROI?

How much does a bad hire cost — in lost productivity, mistakes, and the cost to recruit, onboard, and train a new hire? The value of making an up-front investment in an effective hiring process is similarly measurable. Comparing hiring data to critical metrics for success, you can demonstrate the financial impact of a good hire.

6. How can we create training programs post-hire?

Much of the measurements from the selection process can be used to guide training and development. Work-focused personality assessments offer insights into qualities like flexibility, ambition, and teamwork — giving management a clear blueprint for development programs to build on strengths and counter weaknesses in new as well as existing hires.

New tools, same questions: From application through hire, data can shape strategic talent management. The interesting sidebar to this will be seeing if the new world of work, as hyper-networked, hyper-informed, and global as Big Data is, well, big — will change the questions we ask. I’d venture it’s all part of the HR continuum. Businesses. Jobs. People. Social. And now, better measuring and managing tools than we’ve ever had before.

If you’re interested in improving your hiring results, you’ll want to attend this webinar. Register for it here.

About the Author: Meghan M. Biro is a globally-recognized talent management leader and social business and community catalyst. As founder and CEO of TalentCulture Consulting Group, she has worked with hundreds of companies, from early-stage ventures to global brands like Microsoft and Google, helping them recruit and empower stellar talent.

photo credit: Portable Screening Devices (1359) via photopin (license)

Talent Analytics Key To Unlocking Big Data’s Power

Here’s a fact I find fascinating: research from IBM shows that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.

The clear takeaway is companies have access to an unprecedented amount of information: insights, intelligence, trends, future-casting. For HR, there’s a gold mine of Big Data.

Last spring, I welcomed the “Industry Trends in Human Resources Technology and Service Delivery Survey,” conducted by the Information Services Group (ISG), a leading technology insights, market intelligence and advisory services company. It’s a useful study, particularly for leaders and talent managers, offering a clear glimpse of what companies investing in HR tech expect to gain from their investment.

Not surprisingly, there are three key benefits companies expect to realize from investments in HR tech:

• Improved user and candidate experience

• Access to ongoing innovation and best practices to support the business

• Speed of implementation to increase the value of technology to the organization.

It’s worth noting that driving the need for an improved user interface, access, and speed is the nature of the new talent surging into the workforce: people for whom technology is nearly as much a given as air. We grew up with technology, are completely comfortable with it, and not only expect it to be available, we assume it will be available, as well as easy to use and responsive to all their situations, with mobile and social components.

According to the ISG study, companies want HR tech to offer strategic alignment with their business. I view this as more about enabling flexibility in talent management, recruiting and retention — all of which are increasing in importance as Boomers retire, taking with them their deep base of knowledge and experience. And companies are looking more for the analytics end of the benefit spectrum. No surprise here that the delivery model will be through cloud-based SaaS solutions.

Companies also want:

• Data security

• Data privacy

• Integration with existing systems, both HR and general IT

• Customizability —to align with internal systems and processes.

They also want their HR technology to be:

Cloud-based. According to the ISG report, more than 50% of survey respondents have implemented or are implementing cloud-based SaaS systems. It’s easy, it’s more cost-effective than on-premise software, and it’s where the exciting innovation is happening.

Mobile/social. That’s a given. Any HCM tool must have a good mobile user experience, from well-designed mobile forms and ease of access to a secure interface.

They want it to have a simple, intuitive user interface – another given. Whether accessed via desktop or mobile, the solution must offer a single, unified, simple-to-use interface.

They want it to offer social collaboration tools, which is particularly key for the influx of millenials coming into the workplace, who expect to be able to collaborate via social channels. HR is no exception here. While challenging from a security and data protection angle, it’s a must.

But the final requirement the study reported is, in my mind, the most important: Analytics and reporting. Management needs reporting to know their investment is paying off, and they also need robust analytics to keep ahead of trends within the workforce.

It’s not just a question of Big Data’s accessibility, or of sophisticated metrics, such as the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that reveal the critical factors for success and measure progress made towards strategic goals. For organizations to realize the promise of Big Data, they must be able to cut through the noise, and access the right analytics that will transform their companies for the better.

Given what companies are after, as shown in the ISG study, I predict that more and more companies are going to be recognizing the benefits of using integrated analytics for their talent management and workforce planning processes. Talent Analytics creates a powerful, invaluable amalgam of data and metrics; it can identify the meaningful patterns within that data and metrics and, for whatever challenges and opportunities an organization faces, it will best inform the decision makers on the right tactics and strategies to move forward. It will take talent analytics to synthesize Big Data and metrics to make the key strategic management decisions in HR. Put another way, it’s not just the numbers, it’s how they’re crunched.

This post was adapted from “Big Bad Data: How Talent Analytics Will Make It Work In HR”, which originally appeared on

About the Author: Meghan M. Biro is a globally-recognized talent management leader and social business and community catalyst. As founder and CEO of TalentCulture Consulting Group, she has worked with hundreds of companies, from early-stage ventures to global brands like Microsoft and Google, helping them recruit and empower stellar talent.

photo credit: -Tripp- via photopin cc

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.

photo credit: balt-arts via photopin cc

Work: Employees Rewrite The Script #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you seeking highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? See the #TChat Recap: “New Rules of Employee Engagement.”)

Have you heard the news?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave far removed from the HR grid, you know that employee engagement is alarmingly low — only 30% in the U.S. and 13% globally, according to 2013 reports.

Many workplace experts have examined these engagement trends, considered the causes and suggested solutions. But there’s more to the story than that.

The definition of work is being turned on its head. People are bringing a whole new set of expectations to their jobs today.

This shift is real. It’s a force that even the most successful employers can no longer afford to ignore. And according to Josh Bersin, Founder and Principal of Bersin by Deloitte, this reality is supported by hard data from companies around the globe. As he said when he declared 2014 The Year of the Employee:

“The war for talent is over, and the talent won.”

So, what is really driving today’s workplace transformation? And what are its implications for talent strategies in high-performance organizations? That’s the topic the TalentCulture community is tackling this week at #TChat Events, as Josh Bersin shares new insights from rigorous research his team just completed.

Sneak Peek — The Year of the Employee

To frame this week’s discussion, I briefly spoke with Josh in a G+ hangout, where we talked about the fundamentals that are driving workplace change:

Related reading:
China Gorman: A Cutting-Edge Strategy: Developing Business Leaders as Talent Leaders
Aberdeen Group: HCM Trends 2014: Developing a Critical Eye for Talent
HR Marketer: What Will Happen in HR in 2014 — Perusing the Predictions

This topic is vital for talent-minded professionals everywhere, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas!

#TChat Events: Are Employees Finally In The Driver’s Seat?


Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Feb 26 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Josh Bersin about the key talent and HR technology trends that are shaping 2014 and beyond. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Feb 26 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How are high-performing companies improving the way they recruit and hire?
Q2: How do talent analytics help employers understand workforce performance?
Q3: What are the key engagement initiatives for employers today?
Q4: As competition heats up for top talent, how are employees leveraging their influence?
Q5: What issues do employees face today that are shaping the future of work?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Another Kind Of Revolution: Social, Mobile, Cloud

“You say you want a revolution? Well you know, we all want to change the world.” –John Lennon

It’s deja vu on a grand scale — like the Beatles are arriving in America all over again. A huge culture shift is upon us, and the winds of change are blowing in ways that are simultaneously unsettling and exhilarating.

“Boomers” are transitioning out of their careers, and the leadership reigns are slowly-but-surely being handed to Millennials at start-ups, small businesses and enterprises everywhere. Much like when John, Paul, George and Ringo touched down in New York in 1964, at first there was some resistance, but eventually the new guard convinced skeptics and changed minds. In the 60’s, revolution was expressed through music and social change — while today, next-generation leaders are driving disruptive change in technology and business.

New Agents of Change

Cloud computing, mobile devices, “big data” and social media are now prominent fixtures across the business landscape. From solopreneurs to the global enterprise, companies are more connected than ever with their customers, employees, shareholders and stakeholders.

Enabled by connectivity and powered by the cloud, this is more than just “Marketecture,” this is the engine of our business future. Millennial leaders are strongly committed to embracing these technologies and putting them to use in a way that drives their organizations forward, leaning on cloud applications to keep employees connected with anyone, anywhere, anytime. This allows business to continue 24×7×365 if needed, yet provides employees ultimate flexibility to untether from their desks and remain productive.

I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you?

And then there is social media. This phenomenon isn’t just about tweeting #hashtags on Twitter and posting  “likes” on Facebook. Social media offers a whole new way for humans to engage and extend our communities through the most powerful business-building infrastructure in the world — the Internet.

Thanks to social powers, the timeline for building a global business has compressed from decades to days, because word can spread and new markets can be created at a such a dramatically accelerated pace. New ventures everywhere can instantly reach out to potential partners and target markets to ask questions and find solutions for the most simple and complex business problems.

Building the Future, Differently

When the Beatles came to America, they permanently redefined rock and roll. Adding their collective influence to the voices of their time, they made music better for all of us who followed. And today, through social synergy, Millennial leaders seek to do the same for business.

Leaning on the best ideas and innovations that have previously defined success across industries, the CEOs of the future are not content to settle for the status quo. The goals of next-generation leaders may be similar to those before us in some ways, but they are different enough, so our mark will be felt.

We will leverage breakthrough cloud and big data resources to develop businesses that are inherently social, and we’ll create cultures that thrive on collaboration. Like leaders throughout history, our goal is to solve business problems effectively, but we’ll approach those problems very differently. Building a smarter planet through technology is exactly what the Millennial CEO of the future is destined to do.

What role do you think technology plays in next-generation business success? What must Millennial leaders do to succeed in a hyper-connected marketplace? Share your ideas in the comments area.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from the Building a Smarter Planet Blog, with permission.)

Image Credit: Wikimedia Public Domain image archives

Game On! Playing To Business Strengths #TChat Recap

This week, the TalentCulture community took a fascinating look at gamification in the workplace. And in my opinion, everyone earned badges and gold stars, as we shared collective knowledge at #TChat events.

Our two expert guests are masters at explaining the connection between business gamification and big data. These smart senior executives brought key concepts to life with practical ideas and real-world examples:

Guy Halfteck, Founder and CEO of Knack, a company that integrates games into the hiring process to help companies define desired talent characteristics and improve recruiting outcomes.

Mark Howorth, COO at Panavision, who previously served as Partner and Sr. Director of Global Recruiting at Bain & Company. He has seen the power of gamification at work, as three of his #TChat Twitter comments revealed:

(Editor’s Note: For full highlights from the #TChat Twitter event, see the Storify slideshow at the end of this post)

Gamification: What’s In A Name?

“Gamification” is a controversial term, but the concept it simple. It’s about employing game theory and mechanics in business environments to drive problem solving, boost workforce and customer engagement, capture better organizational insights, accelerate responsiveness, improve learning and increase ROI. Last year, Gartner predicted that by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will integrate gamification.

Gartner identified four ways that gamification drives engagement:

• Accelerated feedback cycles. In the real world, feedback loops are slow (annual performance appraisals) with long periods between milestones. Gamification increases the velocity of feedback loops to maintain engagement.

• Clear goals and rules of play. In the real world, where goals are fuzzy and rules selectively applied, gamification provides clear goals and well-defined rules of play to ensure players feel empowered to achieve.

• A compelling narrative. While real-world activities are rarely compelling, gamification builds a narrative that engages players to participate.

• Tasks that are challenging but achievable. While there is no shortage of challenges in the real world, they tend to be large and long-term. Gamification provides many short-term, achievable goals to sustain engagement.

Gamification: What Makes It Tick?

Gamification is serious business. As Accenture explained in a detailed report early this year, companies are striving to understand what makes games so appealing (a shared sense of purpose, challenge and reward). They are decoding gaming mechanisms (personalization, rankings and leaderboards), and applying these mechanics in imaginative ways across business functions. Accenture identified seven essential elements:

Status: Because gamers are motivated by recognition of others in their social circles, game-based business solutions must make it possible to enhance players’ reputations.

Milestones: Levels are everything in gaming, and enabling participants to perceive progress through incremental accomplishments is vital to sustaining interest.

Competition: This is a major motivator that maintains engagement.

Rankings: Visually displaying progress and rankings help participants benchmark their performance to their own goals and others’ performance. Rankings tap into natural human competitiveness, and motivate participants to continue, so they can improve their position.

Social connectedness: Successful gamification initiatives create a strong sense of community.

Immersion reality: With visually rich graphics and animation, digital environments can help immerse participants in their virtual reality.

Personalization: The ability to customize promotes a sense of control and ownership.

In their book, “For The Win: How Gamification Can Transform Your Business,” Wharton professor and gamification expert, Kevin Werbach and New York Law School professor Dan Hunter, take a deep dive into gamification.

In this informative video, they explain how gamification helps people “find the fun in the things you have to do.” They make it easy to understand gamification, with examples of successful companies that are applying these techniques, and advice to help organizations avoid common pitfalls. We hope you find this, along with the collected resource links and #TChat Twitter highlights slideshow below a helpful resource for game-based initiatives in which you may be involved!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Games + Big Data + Talent Management = Trifecta!

SUN 9/15:


Watch the Hangout now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed the topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout videos with Guy Halfteck. Read the Preview:
“Games and Data and Talent — Oh My!”

MON 9/16: Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 compelling reasons for businesses to integrate gaming into workflows, learning and management processes. Read: “5 Ways Leaders Win At Gamification Technology.”

WED 9/18:


Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Guy Halfteck and Mark Howorth about how games are emerging as a highly effective, reliable way to select, recruit and retain employees. Listen to the radio show recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, I joined Guy, Mark, Meghan, Kevin on the #TChat Twitter stream for a dynamic and enlightening discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. For highlights from the conversation, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Games People Play: Ultimate Way To Measure Talent?

[javascript src=”//”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Guy Halfteck and Mark Howorth for adding your voices to this week’s discussion. Your insights and passion for the business benefits of gaming strategies have captivated us all.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about gamification? 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, we tackle another important “world of work” topic — Transparency vs. Privacy in the Workplace with HR/Employment lawyer, Mary E. Wright. So save the date (September 18) for another rockin #TChat double header. And keep an eye out for details in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Graeme Lawton via Flickr