Uncovering the Blind Spots: Are You Ignoring Most of Your Organisation’s Data? 0

Sarabjeet is an HR professional with 10+ years of extensive experience in the technology field, with specialisation in HR Transformation, Talent Management, Performance Management, OD, People Analytics, Employee engagement, HR Operations and Automation of HR processes. He has worked as an architect (for people, processes, and systems) on complex business initiatives and achieved exceptional results. He currently serves as the Associate Manager - HR at GS Lab.

Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of structured data, but are they using it the right way? People analytics is experiencing a big shift, moving from historic to predictive. And now we also have relational analytics. Let’s understand how this shift in the analytics game can impact the HR function in 2019.

Gartner researchers estimate that less than 20% of all enterprise data is structured. Can you imagine making critical business decisions built on 1/5 of relevant information? If that thought makes your heart skip a beat– it should. The massive volume of unstructured data can fail your analytics which in turn can affect your long-term organisational strategy.

As we enter in 2019, we have a new set of trends announced by industry leaders. And it varies from investing in people to bracing the diversity at the workplace and creating a Digital HR. Having said that, people analytics is something that we have been talking about from the last few years now. Almost every company in the world has realized the importance of data available in HR systems which are mostly unstructured and unused. In fact, more than 70% of companies now claim that they consider people analytics to be a high priority (Google’s Project Oxygen, Dell’s experiment with increasing the success of its sales force are a few examples). People analytics is going through a big shift from historic analysis to predictive analysis and now there is a new term coined as Relational Analytics.

The truth is,

  • People analytics has made only slow progress in HR space over the past decade.
  • A survey by Tata Consultancy Services found that only 5% of big-data investments go to HR.
  • A recent study by Deloitte showed that although people analytics has become mainstream yet only 9% of companies believe they have a good understanding of which talent dimensions drive performance in their organisations.

So, why haven’t results followed?

The reason is simple and clear, most companies rely on a narrow approach to do data analysis. They use only data about individual people when data about the interplay among people is equally, and at times, more important. Relational analytics can help us uncover this data and understand how people function in relation to one another.

People Analytics versus Relational Analytics

People analytics has focused mostly on employee attribute data, of which there are two kinds: The two types of data are often aggregated to identify group characteristics, such as ethnic makeup, gender diversity, and average compensation etc. On the other side, relational analytics is the science of “human social networks”. It primarily focuses on an emerging discipline of “People Interaction”. Using this advanced analytics technique in your existing people analytics strategies, companies can better identify employees who are capable of helping them achieve their goals, whether for increased innovation, influence, or efficiency.

Almost every company in the world has realized the importance of data available in HR systems which are mostly unstructured and unused. In fact, more than 70% of companies now claim that they consider people analytics to be a high priority

In addition to this, companies can also gain an understanding of which high potential employees they can’t afford to lose and where silos exist. The key in relational analytics is finding the “structural signatures”- patterns in the data that correlate to some form of good or bad performance. Company management and HR leaders can add structural signatures in their companies’ social networks and predict how, creative or effective individual employees, teams, or the organisation as a whole will be. Structural signatures are divided into three different levels i.e. individual, team, and organisation. Now, let me walk you through all these signatures.

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Individual Level

  1. Ideation Signature – Predicts which employees will come up with good ideas and ideally these employees should have high connections outside his project/work area so that there are diverse thoughts to solve any problem. As an HR you should identify ideators in different project teams and make a group of those employees to form a team that should come up with new ideas to make the workplace better.
  2. Influence Signature – Predicts which employees will change others behaviour. Here you may have only a few connections in the project/work area but those two connections will have a high level of connecting with the rest of the team using which this person can influence the thoughts within the team. This is very important for us to identify key influencers inside the organisation. This group can be used to do any kind of message that we want to get imbibed in employees.

For example – This group will be highly effective if you use them as cultural ambassadors to set the culture in the organisation.

Team Level

  1. Efficiency Signature – Predicts which teams will complete projects on time. Here, you need to identify the group/project/ team which has high internal density w.r.t. interactions as they will be able to work in collaboration to complete any task in an efficient manner. We all know that every team has some employees who are highly skilled and reliable, so if we want to deliver any project with high demand and aggressive timelines we need to identify the efficient teams within the organisation to deliver the project on time.
  2. Innovation Signature – Predicts which team will innovate efficiently. Any team where internal density w.r.t. internal communication is low but has varied external connections which bring different perspectives will make it a team-high in innovation. Innovation is an important aspect which should not be ignored. Encourage your project teams to interact outside their project so that they get to know how things are done in other projects for the similar situation/problem.
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Organisation Level

  1. Silo Signature – Predicts whether there are any silos in the organisation. Any group which is not connected to the rest of the organisation or any individual which holds a lot of communication but does not pass it on to the rest of the group is creating a silo. We should identify such groups/individuals to ensure that we uncover this blind spot on time. Silos do exist in all organisation and we should not shy away to accept this fact. It is important to uncover this spot and try to engage with this group/individuals so that it does not multiply further.
  2. Vulnerability Signature – Predicts which employees the organisation cannot afford to lose. Anyone who has a lot of direct communication with the customer and the entire teams relies on that one person for any update will make that person vulnerable. Of course, there could be other attributes like performance, criticality of that project/business, the relationship of that individual with the customer which in turn will define the level of low to high vulnerability individuals/group in your organisation. We as HR leaders should work closely with line managers should be able to create back up plans to de-risk any vulnerability in the project/team.

Have regular meetings with employees and line managers to understand the team dynamics and support business by identifying the risk on time for your organisation and customer.

So, in a nutshell, we have 6 signatures which we can start identifying to have better people analytics strategy. Let all of us as HR leaders in our organisations start identifying these buckets to make better people decisions and define our people analytics strategy accordingly. People analytics is a traditional way to make evidence-based decisions that improve people decisions. But using relational analytics, organisations can augment their own decision criteria and build healthier, happier, and more-productive organisations.

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