Workforce analytics is in danger of over-selling itself
Tom Peters gave an excellent advise when he in 1982 said ‘Formula for success: under promise and over deliver’. This goes very much hand-in-hand with the truism in service management (and is HR not one big service organization?) that excellent service = customer perception – customer expectations. The more you raise the expectations the harder it is to deliver excellent service.
My point is; deliver the best product and service possible but just don’t over promise.
The field of Workforce Analytics is in danger of over selling itself. I think stating something like “HR has good data but needs to use them better in order to make better decisions” is a sensible statement and does not over-promise. It is a sort of statement which can lead to a discussion about which decisions we make from pure guess-work (most) and which decisions are so important that we need good data and clever analysis to improve those decisions.
What I do think HR, consultants and vendors should stop saying are things such as:
- “I believe that well thought out predictive HR analytics could become as important to the CEO as the balance sheet and P&L statement,”
- “Workforce Analytics can measure these things [engagement, profit, turnover and customer service] and show a direct, causal relationship to prove the bottom line impact”
- “Workforce analytics will enable us to reach our goal which is to reinvent work”
- “Workforce analytics will provide the language for HR executives to speak the language of business: numbers. This will give HR a seat at the table”
Many of these statements come from people who have a vested interest in the hype surrounding workforce analytics. People such as myself – consultants and vendors. But they are actually doing a disservice to the whole field.
Workforce analytics will contribute a lot over the coming years; it will make use of big data, provide new insights about the workforce and make HR more efficient and effective. But it is not a game-changer. It is not something radically new. And its limitations lies not with the software and the tools themselves – they lie with the mindset of the HR executive, the biases of the people using it and with the level of trust HR has within the organization.
But to get to the place where we can add the value from Workforce Analytics we need to stop over-selling it.