The Dark Room…
You are in a dark room. Suddenly you hear a deep voice. “What is your talent strategy? Do you have a talent strategy? How is your talent strategy going?” “Talentstrategytalentstrategytalentstrategy…”
“Ahhhhh” you scream. A light flickers on a screen in the distance, starts getting into focus, providing a dimmed light. At last light. Light provided by an excel spread sheet.
This may seem obvious to some, that in order for a company to achieve their strategic goals they need to have the right people(skills) in the right place at the right time. In other words a “Talent Strategy”. To visualise where the company is and where they need to go in terms of workforce skill sets.
Although companies know they need a strategy it is not always the case that they have one. In the case that they do, how did they determine exactly what that strategy is? Was it the dim light of an excel?
For companies that do not use analytics how do they know what skills they currently have and what skills they will need? This may then come down to what people “think” which is not always the most effective way to make decisions. They are in the dark.
Despite this I have noticed that when it comes to talking technology with potential customers often we speak to HR regarding the majority of the HR solution but there is a separate IT or BI person in the room to cover off analytics. Different requirements are requested from each side of the room. This is also prominent during an RFP process. There is more often than not a completely siloed section “reporting and analytics” for the IT/BI department to read.
There is a clear dis-connect between HR and analytics both physically and mentally and this is where I believe there could be change. If HR are looking for transformation, to create and meet their talent strategy, then analytics should not be a separate topic or even separate department. Rather, it would be beneficial to discuss embedded analytics so each HR user across all functions will gain instant analytics within the same view for a proactive and quality approach to actions. HR can then become spoiled with the visibility into the business and evolve to take analytics as a standard “must have” as part of their own requirements.
Although, we are not helped by the way others talk about talent management either. A lot of analyst publications that talk about Talent Management include competitive reports as well as future visions. However analytics is not often considered in their competitive comparisons or conclusions. Again analytics is seen as separate topic when it should be the enabler.
I believe that when we talk about HR technology analytics should be a given, entwined with HR, to enable and support strategic goals instead of being an afterthought or a separate conversation. We want the room to be lit. Bright with the light from clear, fact based analytic screens. To ultimately enable companies to visually understand exactly what skills they have now and create an effective talent strategy.