You Need Analytics' Answers
You Need Analytics' Answers

A reader said on a recent webinar:

My company is scared of people analytics. What if the results show that something is really wrong?

People analytics involves the practice of extracting information from existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. It’s now possible to examine data regarding recruitment, performance, employee mobility, and other factors, and use it to determine what does (and doesn’t) drive business results.

People analytics holds the promise of incredible value. It’s not hard to get started, and analytics implementations are known to pay for themselves far more quickly than other types of technology. Yet there is fear: fear of risk and compliance issues, fear of a lack of available talent to leverage data insights, and fear that data is simply too “all over the place.”

But the biggest fear of all is exactly what this participant articulated: that having accurate measurements of talent management practices will reveal weaknesses. This scenario reminds me of the time I asked a fellow HR speaker why she didn’t use evaluation forms. She said: “I’m afraid they will tell me I’m bad.”

By passing up the opportunity to read evaluation forms, the speaker could not learn from her experiences. She would keep doing things the way she’d always done them, and if her approaches weren’t effective, she’d never know. As other speakers got hired over her, she’d lose business.

People analytics is not a panacea (i.e. implement it, and your talent management practices will be immediately bulletproof). As a human-run organization, you are bound to make mistakes, and bound even to fail totally in some cases. But people analytics will help you identify problems and address them sooner, before they put your business in major hot water. People analytics offer rare opportunities to strengthen your organization, to make it a better place to work and a better place from which to buy products and services.