Is the world of HR really a changing place because of technology? Sometimes I’m tempted to doubt it. Yes, employee self-service and manager self-service is coming, but surely nothing will take away the fundamental HR roles, will it?
We shouldn’t assume the world will stay stable. A comparison with marketing gives a clue to where HR is going. According to a 2014 Adobe survey, 64% of marketers feel that their roles will change in the next 12 months, and 90% thought that “Digital tools and channels are fundamentally changing the nature of marketing”. Yet, Adobe’s 2013 survey had found that only 37% of marketing generalists (and 48% of digital marketers) feel highly proficient in digital tools.
As Sanjay Dholakia, Marketo’s chief marketing officer comments; “Marketing’s changed more in the past five years than in the past 500 years,” with Gartner predicting that by 2017 the Chief Marketing Officer will spend more on IT than the Chief Information Officer. (See the links below for some interesting reads on how the marketing role is changing)
OK, so marketing is going digital. That we can accept. It’s moving from pre-planned campaigns to one-on-one marketing. From customer segmentations to adaptive marketing based on real-time individual data. That kind of analytics isn’t hitting HR right? Let’s tackle 4 myths used as reasons that analytics won’t affect HR…
Myth No. 1: We don’t have the data
HR teams have already got a lot of data. First, there is aggregated data: team level data on engagement; department-by-department data on sales or customer satisfaction. Then, there is individual data: in the performance management system, in the payroll system, in the training database, the HRMIS. The problem has always been not how to get the data, but how to handle it. How do you get that data together, merge it, clean it, analyse it and produce results? (Four strategies to ensure data quality)
Myth No. 2: Numbers don’t give the answers
Numbers do give you answers you just need to look at them in the right way (see the first blog in our HR Tech Europe series; People Data is Beautiful). Becky Statham Veran consultant can tell you that after quickly combining two client datasets and analysing training impact. Hours later, she was telling her client that they were wasting half of their spend on graduate sales training – half the target audience learned nothing. By contrast, the other half was a great investment. The client just needed to know which graduates to target, and Becky could tell them. Forget the males. Train the female graduates; they doubled their sales.
Myth No. 3: It’s too hard to process the data
That’s just not true any more. The University of Washington and Tableau consultants have identified 3 key requirements for data analytics. You have to be able to bring meaningful data together from multiple sources. You have to be able to visualise it and clean it. And you have to be able to do all of this ‘on-the-fly’ so that the flow of thinking is not interrupted. All of this is increasingly possible. We’re proud to be making it happen at OrgVue.
Myth No. 4: We’re not recruiting the right skills
This is the biggest challenge. Are HR teams ready to recruit or train the right skills? Yes, says Annapurna HR chief executive James Ballard, for HRBPs that change is coming: “it is the future. HRBPs will need the skills to analyse, interpret and influence via data. It’s not historically a strength for HR people, but it’s coming. If people have got the stakeholder human skills and the numeracy they’re very very much in demand. We have seen requests for analytical skills in HR BP positions increase from 10% 6 years ago to 30% today, and it is only going to increase. It’ll be 60-80% in 5 years. There’s just much more data to interpret now.”
So, given we can see what’s coming let’s embrace the HR tech revolution and start making the most of people data and analytics.
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See our first blog in our HR Tech Europe series: People Data is Beautiful.
 Source: Adobe, 2013: “Digital Distress: What Keeps Marketers up at night?”
 Source: VentureBeat.com, 2014
 ‘How Marketing has changed’ – Social Media Explorer, 22 Dec 2011
‘The CMO role is dead’ – The Guardian, 19 Feb 2014
‘Marketers Roles are Changing’ – MarketingLand, 06 May 2014
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