Ok, I know what you are thinking. Buzzword, Buzzword, Buzzword. Please take a few minutes to read on as I want to try to put these “buzzwords” into perspective and explain why we all should be thinking about them in our daily work in the HR and Workforce technology space and how they will impact the future of HR and work in huge ways in the next few years.
Two weeks ago I posted a blog entitled “What To Measure, The Great HR Metrics Debate” which has received thousands of views and hundreds of comments. While the purpose of the post was not to slam SHRM or anyone who makes HR metrics their lifelong passion and dream, many raised brilliant points both on the blog as well as the HR Technology LinkedIn Group, which you can access here. It got us talking as a community and we need to continue talking to take advantage of the opportunity looking at us in the face.
I would like to take the conversation further and try to get all of us to open our minds and realize that the data that we analyze into the future will probably not be only the data stored by our old or new HRMS (that stands for Human Resource Management System for those who don’t live in the HR circle), but the interactions between employees, contractors, future employees, customers, partners and prospective customers. Holy cow! We thought we had a hard time getting our hands around our people data, how are we going to capture intelligence about conversations and what value could that possibly add. Lets discuss.
Dion Hinchcliffe, a brilliant leader in the Social Business space, has penned an article for InformationWeek this week that discusses this concept. The link to that article is here. There are many organizations, leaders and specifically HR leaders that do not see the value of Social Business and collaboration tools as of today. I think we have gotten past the point where the question isn’t if employees might be using the tools in their day-to-day life and now the next question of “what is the benefit of these tools in the workplace”. You see, the Social Business tools themselves do drive collaboration; we use these tools extensively within Knowledge Infusion and the engagement, collaboration, knowledge management and team that they build is simply amazing. In a world where the future of work is remote, non brick and mortar employees, these tools are not only nice to have but a requirement for making work “work” into the future.
Many stop at the tools. They implement a collaboration site and no one comes. They implement Sharepoint “MySite” and no one fills in the data. They put in real-time performance and feedback capabilities and no one uses them. Why does no one use them? It is not because the technology sucks – it is better than ever. It is because people don’t see the purpose, the value and the “WIIFM” – What’s in it for me to use the tools. It is our job to show them the what’s in it for them, not just the employees but the managers and executives. Guess what, managers and executives wont take our word for it, they will want and need DATA. That is where Big Data comes into play. As Dion Hinchcliffe points out, it is not the fact that the tools haven’t proven that they and the “crowds” that use them can’t solve many problems, it is the fact that the technologies and the thinking havent existed to think about how to take messy conversations, interactions and discussions and turn them into meaningful stories that talk about the business. What might these new technologies and their findings mean to HR in the future?
- What the employees think about working for us on a day-by-day basis
- What employees think about new policies and procedures
- A collaborative way to solve workplace and workforce issues
- New ways to understand what talents our workforce has and where those talents are in the world
- What new skills are needed across the enterprise on a “real-time” basis
- The ability to stop attrition before it happens
- The insight into how employees are aligned to business goals
- A look into what HR can do to best support the business
- A true view of what our knowledge and intellectual property is what our company has and where it needs to grow
- The ability to provide the business with metrics that matter to them about the business, not only metrics that measure the effectiveness of the HR function
Anyone, yes anyone, working on any form of business intelligence project today MUST include these concepts around Big Data and the massive shift we will experience in just the next 24 months between measuring data from the past and measuring data from the “now”. Historical is helpful, “Now” is invaluable as the world we live in gets faster and faster, employees become more collaborative and business strategy changes before we can respond to what is on our desk today. Once again, this isn’t spaceship stuff that won’t happen in our lifetime, I said 24 months.
Another infusion of knowledge…