Data doesn’t lie: It’s time to make data-driven decisions rather than going with the gut

16 December 2016 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Yazad Dalal
How much of our HR related decisions are based on emotions rather than facts? From face to face interviews, to feedback sessions to simple day to day interactions, we are biologically programmed to recognize a gut feeling rather than focus on data driven outcomes.
While ‘going with your gut’ may have some positive outcomes, it also means decisions are often made without having a complete insight of the staff member involved. How do we give factors such as performance management reviews, training and development and prior experience the weight they deserve during the decision-making process?
Data-driven decisions
New digital technologies are rapidly changing how we answer that question. A growing number of organisations are adopting tools that provide a much more analytical approach to staff management.
This data-driven approach centres on the creation of talent profiles for each staff member in the organisation.  While conceptually very similar to traditional HR personnel files, these digital dossiers go much further. They house data from education details and prior experiences to summaries of on-the-job training and real-time feedback on their performance from colleagues and managers.
Qualitative data is data too. In addition to quantitative measure of past achievements, these employee profiles also capture individual’s leadership skills and current performance, as well as reputational standing: how well are they respected by their managers and peers? This holistic data provides a much clearer and complete picture of an individual, their present position, as well as the opportunity to see into the future of the employee within the organisation, based on past behaviour.
“It is a case of using the heart more than the head” 
Once in place, employee talent profiles can be used to map out career progression and succession paths to ensure individuals are in the best position to add maximum value to the organisation and to their own career development. It is critical to provide a two way street – these tools are just as beneficial for a positive employee experience as they are for organizational success. Such insights were simply not possible before we had access to these digital tools that turn qualitative information into actionable data. 
Companies take a similar approach to customer experience. Marketers create rich profiles based on historical customer interactions, which drives greater targeted attention on individual customers, and leads to improved service levels. Modern HR tools bring that same level of data-driven detail to vastly improve the employee experience. Happy employees are more productive, which leads to better services and employees trying their best for the organization.
Data gives direction 
In addition to being an electronic repository for all relevant data about an employee, the digital talent profile offers a broad range of other enhancements to the employee experience. 
For instance, when an employee enters details of their career aspirations, the system can track their progress and make proactive suggestions for extra training or new roles for which they should consider applying. As more information is entered over time, the profile makes more relevant recommendations.
Self-service data = employee empowerment 
Addingfresh information to the talent profile is made easier by granting access to the employees themselves. Rather than being locked away in an HR department filing cabinet, they can access their cloud-based digital dossier anytime, anywhere. This empowers employees to take control of their careers in a very tangible way, from work, home or anywhere they have access to a mobile device. This allows them to be much more engaged with their career progression, and grants them clarity on the steps they need to take to advance through their organisation.
McKinsey Global Institute research suggests that businesses deploying digital talent platforms to their full potential could increase organisational output by up to 9 percent, reduce employee-related costs by up to 7 percent, and add an average of 275 basis points to profit margins. Companies have also been able to reduce attrition, and raise productivity by 3 or 4 percent when implementing digital HR practices.
Schneider Electric, a global energy-management specialist with operations in more than 100 countries, replaced disparate tools and solutions, with a cloud platform to enable the organization to adopt a digital approach to HR. This resulted in the posting of 100 percent of vacancies automatically on LinkedIn, eliminating previous manual processes, saving time, and gaining a greater reach for job advertisements—ultimately increasing the number of applications and helping to compete for the best candidates in the global-technology and energy-management markets. It also enabled an increase in the number of internal hires by as much as 10 percent.
 “An organization’s recruitment platform and process is a potential employee’s first experience with the company, so that first impression must be great. At Schneider Electric, we always strive to evolve and stay ahead, and we need the right tools to convey that vision to potential candidates. Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud offers us that flexibility to grow and evolve into the future,” Yvette Stortz, vice president, global talent acquisition and mobility, Schneider Electric.
It is human to allow emotions to play a part in the decision-making process: Trusting your gut is still a part of effective people management. But a digital-first approach that allows quick and easy access to data, and as a result, rich insights, and gives people leaders the confidence that they are making the best decisions possible. To quote one Oracle customer: “Interpersonal relationships are important in our business, but to continue building trust, we must be one of the first movers in using digital technologies.”
(Dalal is the Head of HCM Cloud Applications, Asia Pacific at Oracle)

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