Talent management analytics

The good doctor, Dr John Sullivan that is, is providing HR practitioners with some of his thoughts around why analytics around talent management is failing and some of the future directions. I looked at the failings of workforce metrics a lot last year when I wrote the HR Technology topic for AHRI‘s Professional Diploma & would agree with him on all points this time, and would possible add a few more.

Some of the failings he identified were:

  • HR Skill deficiency
  • Lack of business knowledge
  • Expensive tools limiting deployment
  • Lack of quality data
  • Complicated nature of talent management

I would add a few other typical failings I have seen:

  • Trying to measure too many metrics or ones that are meaningless to the organisation
  • A lack of a planning culture within the HR function
  • No buy-in from IT to assist with the tools
  • No stakeholder engagement from outside of HR
  • Deployment of a system that is incompatible with the broader IT infrastructure

4 thoughts on “Talent management analytics

  1. Since I work in this domain I have a few observations on your and Dr. Sullivan’s lists.

    First I agree with the competency and business knowledge item. We see this all the time. This can be addressed if it is recognized. Most practitioners are willing to develop in this area. Those that are not should find a new profession. Analytics and HR are inevitable partners.

    And there is confusion about what to measure. However, companies can avail themselves of consulting in this area. It is critical to get this right.

    However I disagree with the other items on your lists.

    Current tools are not too expensive. The on-demand technology available today puts workforce analytics within annual budget range for an HR department in a midsize company. This is no longer an excuse.

    These tools can also address the technology compatibiity issue you raise. Since they are independant of your ERP / application technology they are flexible no matter what your environment is today or tomorrow. Compatability is a non-issue. An on-demand solution can also extract and integrate data from databases, spreadsheets and the sources for your Finacial, Operations, Sales, and Customer data that should be in your workforce analytics solution. Then you can truly connect the workforce to the business.

    A lack of data or quality within your data environment is not a good reason to avoid analytics. It is just a consideration along the way. An Assessment up front will identify key weakenesses. And the use of analytics has been shown to raise data quality. When measures are visible people pay more attention to the underlying data sets.

    Talent Management is not too complex or complicated. Every area of business is using analytics but HR. Those areas are complicated too. This is an excuse, not a barrier.

    Stakeholder engagement can be addressed through good change management. Without attention to change management, failure is a given. Change management can address both the stakeholder and user issues very successfully when done right. This is not a technology implementation. It is a capability development and capabilities involve people, process and technology. You need to pay attention to all three. Change management is the key.

    It is crucial that HR practitioners who are the stewards for Talent Management move quickly and thoughtfully to bring a more quantitative approach to the organizations human capital decision making. The spend on human capital is enormous for every organization and we need to have analytics to guide our development of strategy, design of practices, deployment of resources, and identification of appropriate investment levels.

  2. Joanne thanks for stopping by.

    A question did you read the post or John’s article? I ask as some of your points are exactly what we are saying. We have listed the common reasons for talent management analytics to fail, so that organisations undertaking these projects can learn from past mistakes, we are not listing reasons NOT to undertake the projects.

    Dr John was saying previously technology solutions were too expensive and have contributed to the current state of poor implementations. This has been the case when organisations have been faced with deploument of an SAP BW project or a major Business Objects/Cognos deployment.

    Technology compatibility is still an issue, not everyone wants to or can install SaaS solutions. However even if organisations do use SaaS there are technology issues to be addressed. For example single sign on, is it going to be used? If so does the provider support it and will it work with your environment, ie not all small to medium sized organisations have an LDAP type environment. Other organisations have specific security and data privacy issues that limit the use of SaaS, for example Germany and France.

    Data quality is an issue and a reason for many failed projects and you are right not a reason to avoid analytics. But data quality is a serious concern for many HR departments, especially ones that have not been seen to be adding value to the business. This is a huge area of work that needs to be undertaken as part of any project and as you say the deployment of an effective analytics project will in the long term.

    Sorry but talent management is a complex business area, again a reason why the project have failed, but not a reason to ignore analytics. The complexity is attributed to many factors such as job design, management practices, workforce plans, differences in compensation & benefit programs globally, data privacy etc.

    Change management is a key as you say and probably the largest reason for any type of HR project to fail, talent management, analytics, and even your basic payroll.

    Failure of projects in analytics usually comes down to these issues not being managed so I guess we are all saying the say thing.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: