Currently, there is a fundamental mismatch between what financial services organizations do and what science reveals we should do to make the most of our people. The statistics concerning the performance and engagement of our people, as well as the effectiveness of traditional practices, are less than stellar.

According to some studies, nearly two–thirds of U.S. employees are not fully engaged in their work and are less productive as a result. And in one Accenture study of 674 global executives, only 16 percent of respondents described the overall skill level of their workforce as industry leading.

Clearly, banks and insurers must adapt their practices based on scientific insights so that their people can perform at their best. Forming scientific hypotheses, and testing them through data, can help organizations create fact-based insights into improving human and business performance. Here are some promising new dimensions in HR and talent analytics for the future:

Using Predictive Analytics:Instead of looking backward to analyze “what happened?”, predictive analytics helps executives answer “what’s next?” and “what should we do about it?” It analyzes current and historical facts to make predictions about future events. Accenture measures indicators of overall well-being for some employees to alert managers about employees who may be at risk for leaving the company or for stress-related issues such as health problems or job dissatisfaction.

Mining the digital data stream:  In the future, companies will integrate traditional business and talent data with social and mobile data—tweets, blog posts, RSS feeds, GPS coordinates, customer service feedback, and more—to get a complete picture of their workforce’s abilities, wants and needs.

Big data to see the big picture: Analytics promises to help HR see the big picture from a population point of view, addressing questions like: Where do I have talent gaps, how might they change based on predicted changes in customer demand, and in which geographic regions should I build vs. buy vs. borrow talent to close these gaps?  What are the most effective levers I can pull to improve the overall quality of my workforce?

Big data for the individual: A new trend in analytics is the use of data to transform the everyday lives of individuals, boosting everyone’s performance to boost overall business performance. For example, intelligent systems are being developed that help HR professionals achieve a bottom-up, data-based understanding of each individual employee’s evolving work, learning, or behavior patterns—thereby enabling highly personalized coaching, learning opportunities, rewards, and more.

Brain-and behavior-based analytics: Data can now be collected on people’s actual behaviors and responses to events, opening exciting new opportunities. Responses of employees to organizational changes or programs such as a downsizing announcement, for example, can be collected and analyzed to understand how the change is being perceived and then to test messages that leaders are delivering so that they can be crafted in optimal ways.

Talent profile analytics: As new data becomes available on workers, HR will be able to mine data to more effectively match talent to task, thereby optimizing performance and enabling HR to take on the new and invaluable role of talent broker.

My final post will explore how these tools and techniques will transform the human resources function. In the meanwhile, learn more here: Talent management meets the science of human behavior

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