This summer, we witness the change in HR leaders’ mindset, here in Tel Aviv, in regards to HR data and business insights. The People Analytics learning session, conducted by the Israeli Association of Human Resources in July 2018, was just a part of this vibe. The growing interest in People Analytics brought 150 HR leaders to gather and learn from the experience we gained in this domain while enjoying the kind hospitality of Maccabi Healthcare. I was honored to be the keynote speaker and to partner in curating the event contents. In this blog, I share some of my messages and my key takeaways from the case studies presented.
My talk meant to answer two simple questions: “What we have?” and “What to do?”. I challenged my self to describe the state of our practice in only five sentences, and to point to the next steps, again, in five sentences. (My future article will include the full content of my lecture, so stay tuned!)
What we have? The state of our practice
– Adoption rates are high, but barrier overcoming is slow.
– Multidisciplinary profession: understanding and misconceptions.
– Combing new data sources, technologies, and good old practices.
– Different objectives and questions of old and new stakeholders.
– Movement from a research perspective to analytics products.
What to do? Links for recommended next steps
– Understand the traditional five perspectives of People Analytics.
– Prepare to interview business leaders.
– HR data is a mess! Do something about it, starting today.
– Understand the profession’s future: Procurement and Ethics.
– Learn, curate, share: be eternal students in open-source culture.
The case studies presented in the event were an interesting mix of organizations from the Israeli public and private sector and global companies who have business units in Israel. All of these organizations deal with the challenge of Employee Engagement and Retention, but each one of them has a unique solution. So from the various talks in the conferences, I picked four creative ways to deal with this challenge:
Best Team Study
Sagit Lesin Shadmon, Global HR Manager at Cisco, presented the “Best Team Study,” and explained how the company revealed which among its 200 teams, is considered excellent, regarding engagement. Cisco has based its research on Gallup’s questionnaire. The company developed an internal platform, called “Team Space” which points to the most characterizing items of Engagement. Managers and HRBPs can use the platform to be constantly aware of team engagement scores, in comparison to the organizational benchmark. The platform assists them to discuss the results of the quarterly engagement surveys, and make sure they use employee strength, share values and get managerial support – all influencing engagement. The research ROI is clear: the best teams tend to retain employees almost three times more!
Yoav Kardontchik, Director of Organizational Development at Bank of Israel, described a variety of HR data resources that derive business insights. Employee reviews, attendance, interview summaries, HR reports, organizational surveys, and inner mobility, were part of the resources he integrated, by using R, Tableau, and other quantitative analysis tools. His research objective was to predict employee engagement and to evaluate the units’ efforts and interventions, by calculating the probability of retaining or improving employee engagement. Since most employees in the Bank of Israel are employed permanently, i.e., the organization can not fire them, Kardontchik coined the term “Mental Attrition” which can be explored by employee attitudes and behavior. He used decision tree algorithms to find that the propensity to mentally leave, is influenced by the quality of interaction with managers. His research results motivated decision-makers to invest more in mentoring and in the organizational culture of entrepreneurship. His presentation inspired the audience to continue to use traditional HR processes and data, yet to add the creative use of research methodologies, to influence the business.
Orit Schwartz Cohen, who globally leads the domain of People Analytics in HP, shared a research brief about career opportunities and attrition. In her analytics initiative, she discovered that at HP people voluntarily leave after 3.5 years in their last role. Her findings encouraged the organization to proactively pull employees who have been in their current role for 3+ years, create a smart segmentation of these employees (i.e., high potential, critical roles, jobs that are expected to fade in 1-2 years), and openly propose relevant development within the role or consider a promotion or experience move. I recently talked with Orit about the opportunity that analytics offer in reinventing the term Career Development, an interview that inspired me to study the domain of Inner Mobility in organizations further. (I’ll publish more insights shortly, so stay tuned!)
Michal Hadas from Maccabi Healthcare shared her use of decision trees algorithms to predict employee attrition in different sectors. Although this approach was widely presented and previously discussed in learning sessions and conferences, including my notes about its controversial use and risks, the impact of this particular research led the organization to update its hiring policy and to further control and document managerial interventions. The operative conclusions and recommendations, on behalf of the people analysts, is an important reminder that analytics should always be actionable. There is no point in using advanced analytics without the actual impact on the organization.