If that is the case, then HR data is financial data. JL
Bernard Marr comments in Forbes:
At many tech-driven companies and start-ups, the humans that make up the company – and the IP that they produce - may literally be its only assets, beyond the commodity hardware and software they need to do their jobs.So, it’s no wonder that across many sectors of industry, employers are increasingly investing in technology capable of measuring and analyzing the behavior and performance of their personnel.
Whether or not they will soon all be replaced by robots, as things stand, a business’s people are its most valuable asset. So, doesn’t it stand to reason that information on people is the most valuable data for a business?
This is becoming increasingly true in the information age. At many tech-driven companies and start-ups, the humans that make up the company – and the IP that they produce - may literally be its only assets, beyond the commodity hardware and software they need to do their jobs.
So, it’s no wonder that across many sectors of industry, employers are increasingly investing in technology capable of measuring and analyzing the behavior and performance of their personnel – at all levels from the shop floor to the boardroom. Big names in the game include Hitachi with its Business Microscope IoT-enabled employee name badges (described as “creepy” in the press) and Deloitte which last year launched its ConnectMe HR analytics platform.
Deloitte have attempted to head off some of the inevitable accusations of employer over-reach or even “snooping” by focusing their platform firmly on the needs of workers. As Deloitte principal Michael Gretczko explained to me, “We didn’t see a solution like this in the marketplace … its designed to offer a modern consumer-based solution that’s tailored specifically for employees … it brings personalized content and experiences based on what employees need.
“Much like when you’re interacting with social media applications in your personal life it begins to learn what you want and need and serves personalized content and activities based on your needs.”
As an example, an employee who knows their immediate future involves getting married and having a child can use the platform to navigate their way through their organization’s requirements and expectations of the situation. Additionally, it could put them in touch with others within the same organization to share advice and information which could be useful.
“It’s really designed to help them be more productive and understand what they are trying to accomplish – and to guide them through things they do at work every day, from getting information from HR, to changing information about themselves, to making management decisions.”
The act of using this platform itself, of course, generates a wealth of data on what employees want, need and talk about, as well as interpersonal networks, how staff communicate with each other, and their career ambitions.
For example - after making a major investment to headhunt and recruit talent, an analytical approach could sharply decrease the time it takes to get the new hire up-to-speed and efficient in their new role, by providing insights informed by past experience, as well as anticipating obstacles which could crop up along the road.
As we are increasingly seeing, industry is again taking inspiration from the consumer internet sphere. The philosophy is that if consumers will give up personal information to Facebook or Google in exchange for the convenience they bring to web browsing, socializing or online shopping, then surely employees will do the same to make their working day more stress-free?
“If you look at what happens in the consumer market, it’s happening all the time,” says Gretczko.
“I think that where the public thinking is shifting is that, as long as it’s being used for good, and not for evil … social sites curate content that’s in-line with your interests so you’re not scrolling through things you don’t care about – there’s a real benefit to that.
“So as long as it’s not used in a way that’s nefarious I think that generally employees, and people, are willing to share – as long as they know about it, and they know what its being used for.”
In other words – the responsibility is firmly with employers to make it clear exactly what data any systems or platforms they are gathering is collecting, when, why, and what decisions are being based on it.
If there is a thorough understanding that the data is being used in a way that is compliant with rights and expectations of personal privacy, in order to drive broad organizational changes based on an understanding of how people are behaving, a workforce is likely to buy into it.
If it is being used to time how long people take for tea breaks or as a basis for disciplinary action, it’s likely to ruffle quite a few feathers!
As more and more aspects of business become managed through “smart” IoT-enabled technology, it’s inevitable that management of human resources will go the same way. In this way, human information will be just as critical as financial data when it comes to informing business strategies and setting goals.
However, the most value is likely to be unlocked by organizations which use these data sources together – combining HR data with financial, operational and customer data – for example, matching customers to the representative most likely to get on with them, based on personality profiling.
A company which understands its employees is without a doubt better placed to keep them motivated, happy and productive. But a great deal of care will have to be taken to gain this understanding in a manner that is transparent and in-line with people’s expectations of privac