Let’s begin at the beginning, I’m here today to talk to you about HR and Tech.
Maybe you’re barely using tech to make HR decisions, or still thinking about when you’ll get started. Maybe you’re just not all in yet, not trusting that Tech can make a difference in how you run your business…
That’s a mistake, and if I could meet with you to discuss it, our dialogue would go like this:
Me: You’re not using tech to enhance your HR practices. Why?
You: Why change now?
Me: That’s a good question, let’s dig into this. Can I throw some data at you?
Okay, pause dialogue.
Data and Rocket Science
According to Top 10 Trends In People Analytics “more than 89% of organizations are now using people analytics in some fashion.” And they’re using these analytics in all sorts of ways: recruiting, retention, uncovering sources of talent and insights into what drives employee performance.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because the labor market is not rocket science and change is not only constant, but exponential, getting faster; and the amount of data generated as all of this change is happening is phenomenal.
90 percent of the data in the world was generated during the last two years alone.
Take that in for a moment.
Data and Change
Which is to say, things are changing all of the time, they’re going to keep changing and you need to change as well. Said differently, what may have worked for you last year, may not now, or next year, and regardless, will be obsolete in no time at all. You have to prepare now, today, tomorrow.
You have to be future-forward.
And I get it, this can be intimidating.
Now let me thrown another number at you.
The 89 percent of organizations cited above comes from a survey of “decision makers from organizations with 1000 employees or more.”
Me: Does that describe you?
You: No, we’re much smaller than that.
Me: Great, I prefer to work with smaller organizations and look, when it comes to forward-thinking HR practices, larger organizations are a different animal. You can’t necessarily do all they do. But you can look to them for ideas and inspiration, you can learn from them and you can also use data to make more insightful decisions.
And I want to help.
Data and Your Biggest Asset
What I see is that without a long-term HR strategy, organizations like yours will be left behind. This may be more true with mid- to large organizations, but it’s true for small organizations as well. What I also see, is that your biggest asset is the people who work for you, and most of you don’t have a solid plan for that number one asset. You think HR will deal with it, but its time to think of HR outside of the box. HR started as something focused on payroll, then personnel. Now HR has to be looked at as a strategic partner.
You also have to look at your employees as unique assets, and if you use these assets wisely, your ROI will be exponential, if you misuse them, your liability is exponential.
For example, say you have an employee with a high-level of engagement and lots of personal satisfaction. These employees will go the extra mile. Their role becomes integral to who they are and they will ensure it works.
The flip-side, is the employee who is disengaged. They hate their manager and they’re just waiting to get fired. These employees are not likely to go the distance. They get things done late and the customer will find out, but the employee doesn’t give a shit anyway and so you risk losing that customer.
Who knows how much value that customer has to your organization? You don’t know, but why not try to figure it out and why not engage someone who knows how to approach these questions?
Wait, what’s my approach? I’m glad you asked.
My perspective is that HR works as an asset manager and that HR should have as much importance as the CFO. The CFO is responsible for cash, inventory and the success of those assets. HR does the same thing, but it’s strategically more important to your organization, because HR is acquiring, measuring, maintaining, evaluating and replacing these assets every day.
Data and ROI
But how do we know how these assets are doing?
And now we’ve gone full circle.
CFOs use analytics to evaluate how assets are performing in terms of what kind of return their organization is getting and whether it’s worthwhile. It’s about ROI, or Return On Investment, and very few orgs use ROI on an employee as a means for evaluating their impact.
But you could.
One example is turnover rate: This is a simple number. How many people did we have, how many do we have left? Industry average is say 5 percent, and so maybe you feel like you’re doing fine. But that may be because you’re looking at the top line numbers. If you drill down though, where are the numbers coming from? Are they coming from a specific department, manager or product line?
If you identify why the numbers are why they are, you can take some strategic steps. And then if it’s one area in particular you can assess how it compares to the industry.
Another data point you can look at, is revenue by employee. How much revenue are you generating per employee. Here you can drill down to division, location, etc. And if you can extrapolate from that, you can see if there’s something with the numbers, or whether it’s the market. You can also explore whether you can duplicate it or if it’s an anomaly.
After that, you, we, can make a plan for addressing that.
What I want to stress here, is that any revenue or cost can be drilled-down.
And not all data is helpful, I understand that, but that’s part of it, figuring out what is. Look, you’re generating the data already, you’re probably just not using it effectively, and while that’s not everyone, it is a lot of us.
Data and Tech
Now back to our dialogue.
Me: So, why Tech then? Because Tech allows you to describe what you’re going to capture, where it’s going to reside and what it’s going to look like when you sort it out.
You: I don’t even know where to start.
Me: Most organizations don’t. They don’t know how to use a workforce management system to manage or automate their HR practices. But they could, and so could you. You used to have tons of paper and all kinds of required ways to file that. Now you can automate it, all of it. Tech allows you to do that, while also engaging your employees regardless of where they are, because they have access to a platform.
You: But what are the benefits of that (only slight pun intended).
Me: It allows for consistency and it for nuance as related to geography or function. For example, in California if you fire someone you have to pay them for that day. Each state has its W4 or withholding form. And not all states have withholding. Some have municipal taxes. Nuances include a non-compete, or NDA, background checks for some and not others.
You: But what are the challenges to implementing Tech?
Me: You may have old Tech in place that needs to be replaced. That’s the first hurdle, and that’s not nothing. But you can do it, and once you’ve overcome that hurdle, you have to get people acclimated to how the new tech works. You also have to allow people time to learn it. Everyone learns at different rates. Organizations expect people to all use the Tech at the same. But doing so takes time and people have to be adequately supported and adequately trained.
But again, that’s where I come in.
Please let me know if you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment to discuss any of this further.
And next time, I’ll talk about making the business case for Tech.