What are the biggest people analytics trends no one is talking about?

What three topics do you think should be on people’s minds – or that will be soon – that aren’t being discussed today?

Hi, Stacia. Thanks for your question. You tell me! ; )

From my humble perspective, there are several trends that are getting too little air time. This is largely because most are trying to keep the wheels on the bus that is their organization. As such, they’re either dealing with legacy systems and data or, many of the companies thought to be leading edge are, in fact, doing an ever better job actually utilizing the systems, tools, and data of today. One of my biggest concerns, is that most firms are running to where the ball was and not to where the ball is going; and even if they’re running to the ball they’re probably not taking a good angle, as the ball is actually accelerating (no so subtle shout out to all those now playing in the World Cup). What does this mean in terms of People Analytics?

First, it means many are bogged down trying to make magic out of data that is ill-suited to answer the question leaders want or need to know. Similarly, the use of some data may actually erode trust as opposed to enhance it, despite the best intentions. What must happen? We as PA professionals, along with HR and business leaders, must be more proactive, creative, and assertive. What’s not talked about enough is the People Analytics is a discrete, yet complimentary discipline to system implementations, whether such implementations be an HRMS, ATS, LMS, or any other S that’s out there. People Analytics can happen now; and, in most every organization, is should be happening. And even in organizations where it is being done, it’s likely that more resources are warranted. No longer can we hear, “We’ll get to that once we’re done with the _________ implementation.” This is short sighted and plainly wrong. First, an analytics strategy needs a data strategy, and where’s a fair amount of data going to be generated and housed? Yep, it that _______ system. If analytics is going to be done at any point in the future, the processes and technologies that generate and house the data need to be understood and, where appropriate, crafted intentionally with the end in mind. Is that “end” analytics? Kinda. What’s more important is the experience you want to create for the people within the organization. Data quality/appropriateness should not out-prioritize the employee, candidate, or worker experience.

So what are we not talking about? We’re not talking about the need for new, more appropriate data. I believe we’re about a 2 on a 10 point scale when looking at where will be with data-appropriateness 5 to 10 years from now. This means more creativity is warranted, as will be the need to quickly scan and identify appropriate solutions/apps. By this I mean data and/or insights are becoming products that can be purchased, and the ecosystem of technologies that generate people-related insights is going to continue to expand. Again, the ball is moving fast.

Again, while there are more things not being talked about, the one thing I’m particularly passionate about and interested in is the ownership of personal data. Is data owned by the enterprise that bought and implemented the technology? Is it the technology provider? Is it the individual him/herself? As we move forward over time it’s my belief it’s going to be the latter. Individuals will have greater rights, and tools, by which to turn their personal data access on and off. Ultimately, as the thinking goes, individuals - high value talent, for example, - will share their data with those firms they know, trust, and that provide value back to those the individuals that created it (e.g., employees). No longer will employees just be expected to fill out a talent card and keep it up to date. If something like a talent card needs to be filled out then that individual will want, and increasingly will have the right, to take that information with them. They also have the right for that data to be forgotten (or, as the case may be, disassociated with them). If this notion starts to emerge as a popular reality, then organizations will effectively have to market and sell why they can be trusted with people’s data. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually, in my opinion, a good thing. That said, the world isn’t prepared for it. We’re not talking about this much as we’re still looking what’s right in front of us, when we need to also be looking at what’s around the corner. My two cents. Hope you found it helpful, Stacia; and thanks for all that you do! You Rock!

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