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The future is in our hands – and in the data!

For my last post of 2011, I will follow the age old tradition of predictions for 2012. The slight twist is that the post will feature someone else’s predictions—much easier than gazing into my own crystal ball.

“[I]t is clear to me that companies which understand how to analyze and use data will greatly outperform those that do not have these skills.”

So wrote Josh Bersin of Bersin and Associates in their Strategic Human Resources and Talent Management Predictions for 2012. Get the full report here.

The actual prediction contained in this report is that, “Data science and talent segmentation will differentiate leading organizations.” It happens to be prediction number 13!

What is behind this prediction and why are we so keen to feature it? You may have heard the term Big Data. It’s everywhere in the business literature. In essence it means we have worked out ways to capture, structure and analyze vast quantities of digital behaviour and start using it to find and develop sources of value or revenue. Throughout industry, systems and teams are being deployed to dig deeper into this highly valuable and highly successful approach to doing business. They are being deployed everywhere except HR!

In the survey that supports the predictions, it was found that only 6 percent of HR teams rate themselves as “excellent” in data analysis and interpretation, whilst 56 percent rated themselves as “poor.” In our experience, only 50 percent of organizations that are using HR analytics services have a person dedicated to the role. For everyone else it is done from the side of their desk.

Not only do we think this prediction is right; some of the early work we have seen in this area demonstrates that HR has access to the type of data that can drive enormous value for organizations. We also think that collectively as a profession we should focus our efforts on making this prediction come true.

Strategy conversations and decisions involve data and analysis. If HR wants to continue to be more deeply involved in the strategy conversation in their organization, it will need to have data and analysis to contribute. Progress in the area of HR analytics, even if it is slight, will bring the opportunity for enormous further gains relating to HR integration into the strategy picture. A failure to keep up with the rest of the business brings the risk of HR losing the strategy connection we have worked so hard to gain. As always the future is in our own hands, and in the data!

Ian J. Cook

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Ian J Cook

Director, Product Management at Visier Analytics
Ian J. Cook MA, MBA, CHRP, continues to pursue a fascination for people and business. His quest to understand what it takes for organizations, and the people in them, to thrive has led to many fantastic career stages. Ian has been an entrepreneur, an operational manager and spent 10 years, consulting to some of the World’s leading companies. Read more
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