In 2017 HR analytics must not forget the people

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In 2017 Capgemini's talent director wants to see HR become more evidence-based but not forget the people

The technology challenge

As we move into 2017 the focus on digital HR and tech solutions to enhance our people processes is becoming ever more topical. Not a day goes by without an unsolicited approach for ‘the next best technology intervention to hit HR’ flying into my inbox. So how do we get the balance right? How do we not get seduced by the savviness and novelty of a tech solution and stay focused on choosing things that will create the right impact? Whether it is automation in recruitment, a new learning app, or an agile platform to support performance management: they are all good areas to generate a shopping list for the year ahead. So how do HR professionals prioritise and empower teams and businesses without crippling them with ever-changing agendas around technology, while remaining agile in our changing environment?

Understanding the problem

As the enablers to the business from a people perspective we must start with understanding the problems we need to fix. Using people analytics to both create hypotheses and then test them is a great starting point for this. Our ability to combine many data sources to get to positions of informing where we are seeing trends and challenges helps us to build the case for change. As we now move to being able to use this data to make predictions we should use this as the cornerstone of promoting our change agenda.

Individuals, not just conventional ‘people’

This analytical approach will suit the majority but we still need to identify and manage those who don’t fit the trend; individuals that without them our business would stand still, those people who have a knack for creating high-performing impact but are perhaps non-conventional according to the data. A little like the ‘millennials’ who are not quite as keen on conforming to the stereotype to which they are prescribed. We should absolutely use people analytics to help us but we should not lose sight of the fact that ‘people’ is quite a loose term for a group of individuals with differing needs, outlooks and motivations; without a recognition of this at the heart of HR we will undoubtedly gravitate towards the wrong solutions.

So my HR new year’s resolution is less of a resolution and more of a recognition to continue to do what we do well. When we get excited about the next piece of technology or the latest solution let’s make sure we’ve understood the problem correctly, and while exploring the solutions always treat our analytics from a point of view of all ‘people’, not just those who fit the mould.

Anouska Ramsay is talent director at Capgemini

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