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Grow HR Into Something Big - From eQuest’s Floating Point Blog
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Grow HR Into Something Big - From eQuest’s Floating Point Blog

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Gone are the days when HR’s primary role was to handle the Administration and Compliance requirements of the employee population. It wasn’t that long ago that being responsible for the Talent …

Gone are the days when HR’s primary role was to handle the Administration and Compliance requirements of the employee population. It wasn’t that long ago that being responsible for the Talent Management for those employees was HR’s primary mission. Now, the push is to become a Strategic Business Partner, not just supporting, but being part of the leadership team that drives the business.

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  • 1. Grow HR into Something Bigby DAVID BERNSTEIN on OCTOBER 5, 2012I’ve enjoyed watching the evolution of HR throughout my career. Gone are the days when HR’s primaryrole was to handle the Administration and Compliance requirements of the employee population. Itwasn’t that long ago that being responsible for the Talent Management for those employees was HR’sprimary mission. Now, the push is to become a Strategic Business Partner, not just supporting, but beingpart of the leadership team that drives the business.The challenge for the profession is that the competencies previously honed are not what will fuel HR’snext evolutionary growth. It takes a whole new set of skills to grow beyond HR’s traditional functionalrole. If HR is to embrace the Strategic Business Partner role, then the profession must also pursue thedevelopment of their analytic skills and abilities. Getting and keeping the seat at the proverbial “table”means HR must be evidenced-based when making decisions and recommendations. However, leapingfrom one end of the spectrum to the other can be a daunting endeavor.Business today needs their HR organizations to be strong in their ability to examine and analyze the datacollected in all of those HR Systems implemented. Analysis, though, is nothing without context. Only anHR Organization that truly understands the business they operate within can ask the right questions of thedata they’ve collected. More importantly, the analytic Human Resources professional will know how tointerpret what they learn from their number crunching work and then use that understanding as the basisof their business recommendations.Adopting this analytic approach represents HR’s opportunity to become more strategic. One does notbecome expert at this overnight, though. Building this competency within HR will take time. Those HRorganizations that are willing to plant the seed and nurture it’s growth over time, will definitely reap therewards.Today, HR has the advantage of being able to leverage new technologies to support this analyticpursuit. This thing called Big Data better enables HR to make evidence-based decisions, versus “gut”decisions or “hunches.” Big Data analytics provides HR the ability to reliably predict outcomes. Indoing so, they can make evidence-based decisions faster and take quicker action. Big Data enables a shiftfrom hindsight review to foresight planning and real-time analysis.
  • 2. Still, many HR organizations are grappling with “How do we get started?” especially if they have not yetdeveloped the analytic mindset or skills. Big Data capabilities could seem to be light years away. Nomatter, your company needs you to start thinking and being analytic. Competitive advantage is based onthis. Time is of the essence.The first and perhaps most important step is to simply know how HR can have an important impact onrunning the business. For example, for most companies, acquiring the right talent is just as businesscritical as the retention and growth of the existing employees. Start with using data to create your TalentAcquisition and Sourcing strategy. Similar, data can be used to map out the execution plan. Defininghow success will be measured is the next step. Assuming a faster Recruitment cycle creates competitiveadvantage, HR should analyze both the pace of candidate acquisition and the total volume of candidatesmoving into their Talent Pipeline. The interpretation of that analysis will guide HR to determine if achange in the strategy or execution plan is required.As I referenced in my previous post, data is nothing without people—they are the ones who apply humanintelligence to extract insight and value from data. The challenge for HR though is that analytic talent isscarce. According to a recent McKinsey report, by 2018, the U.S. alone could face a shortage of 140,000to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of data to make effective decisions.The talent shortage is further validated by a panel discussion hosted by Georgetown University’s HumanResource Management program. The panel members acknowledged the gap between what is needed andthe skills that currently exist in a typical HR organization. Senior Associate Dean of the program,Christopher Meltzer, Ph.D. talked about how HR needs to be “as competent in discussing data as they arein addressing typical HR topics like Recruitment and Retention.” Fellow panel member, Lee Webster,stated, “The HR professionals of the future have to recognize that the only way we can make compelling,lasting change in organizations is not only that we’re very good with the qualitative part of our roles, [but]we have to be able to speak in terms that are compelling on the quantitative part of our roles.”Just as a seed does not grow into a tree overnight, HR professionals cannot expect to become instantexperts at analytics. Remember, though, you have to start somewhere.

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