Workforce Analytics/Workforce Planning – A Review from the Human Capital Metrics Conference

I had the opportunity to present at The Human Capital Metrics Conference put on by The Conference Board last month. I had presented several years ago and was very impressed by how far the field has come, although some things never change. Dr. Jac Fitz-enz, the father of human capital strategic analysis and measurement was still front and center as the master of ceremonies – what a steadfast advocate he has been for managing with metrics. One of the differences, was the number of people attending – perhaps more than double. Another was that four or five years ago, it was mostly us consultants and the vendor community talking about possibilities. This year it was much more about what is being done and the value organizations are achieving from the doing. Speakers from the following organizations talked about their journey, their solutions, and their results:

  • Juniper Networks, a leading provider of innovation and technology that transform the experience and economics of networking is applying its “disruptive innovation DNA” to improve its workforce through Human Capital Analytics.  Through the creative application of interactive flashboards (its term for dashboards) and pre-programmed iBots (what I call “push” technology that gets alerts out to managers when actions need to be taken based on metrics), Juniper is improving the performance and credibility of its managers with actionable insights that help them attract, engage, grow and reward the best talent for their organization. Their underlying solution was Oracle BI.
  • JetBlue talked about how trust and collaboration are critical for accurately linking data to bottom-line results from the perspective that the process of collecting, analyzing and reporting data is not done by an isolated team. The speaker also advocated creative experimentation with new measures. For example, JetBlue has taken the concept of net promoter score and  applied it to its workforce as an employee net promoter score. The net promoter score is a customer loyalty metric in which a single question is asked on “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” Easy enough to translate this for employees. The resulting score can then be used before and after any kind of organizational intervention. For example, do a new training, does the score go up or down. And there is clear evidence that employee loyalty translates to customer loyalty translates to increased revenue, so improving employee loyalty means increased revenue. Very cool!
  • Wells Fargo talked about its journey to transform its HRIS metrics and reporting team into an HR insights and analysis team, essentially shifting from a service provider to a real analytical and strategic partner. Instead of doing the work for business partners, they now do things like providing “clinic hours” to help end users help themselves.

One of my observations about the metrics and analytics field is that there is very little collaboration going on between HR and IT. Hallway conversations with HR attendees made it clear that HR groups were going at this alone and not tapping into the technical capabilities of IT where other business intelligence work is underway. Seems to me we should encourage HR to befriend their IT group and to not silo their talent management data and analytics efforts. Talent management data is not business intelligence by itself. It’s just another data set that needs context. It needs to be analyzed with other data …financial, customer, operational data and IT typically knows all about that data. And, of course, it goes both ways – IT should reach out to HR. Thoughts?

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