Abhijit BhaduriBook ReviewGuest Author

Book Review: An Introduction to People Analytics

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist

People analytics can help organizations become fair. People decisions are hard and human beings are often biased. This book by Dave Millner and Nadeem Khan can help. But before that here is a small story about my interest in People Analytics.

A Sketchnote by @AbhijitBhaduri on People Analytics

The year was 2009. I had spoken to Atanu Basu who was running a company called Data Infocomm that later became Ayata.com He talked to me about the impact Predictive Analytics was making in various industries. Why not use it in HR? You can read about that here

The pandemic has affected every business and forced them to take decisions for which there has been no precedent. During these difficult times, Human Resource Departments have to make the toughest decisions that impact the employees. Many sectors like airlines, hotels, etc. have been at the frontline of impact. Businesses have dropped by as much as 90 percent to 100 percent in many cases. Think of the decisions that have to be made those impact employees.

The pandemic has only accelerated the pace of decision making and complexity. This is when HR leaders can play the most strategic and central role by the use of analytics. They can impact the bottom line of the business with every decision.

Read about: Business Line wrote about how Predictive Analytics in HR was evolving

  • Data or opinion: One of the airlines announced up to 25 percent pay cuts across the organization. The CEO is taking a 25 percent pay cut, while his other senior colleagues would be taking a 20 percent hit in their salaries. The cockpit crew members will be taking a 15 percent pay cut. The lowest bands have been spared pay cuts. In the absence of data-based decisions, every decision is an opinion or hunch. Analytics can help create alternative scenarios that can be predictive and have the best choices recommended.
  • Projects of strategic importance: Businesses had to ensure the employees could work from home. What has been the impact of this decision on productivity (and the bottom line)? Which managers have been able to keep the teams more engaged and have emerged ahead of the pack? HR has to focus on putting its best people on projects that have strategic importance for the business.
  • Predictions: Can the interviews predict which candidate will be the best fit for the role and who is most likely to succeed in the next role? Which people management practice has the greatest impact on performance? When teams are being formed, what is the best combination of team members to be put together who can finish the project ahead of any other combination of team members?
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Read: Algorithms are biased. So are Humans

Intangible assets

Why HR must use People Analytics, @AbhijitBhaduri

Over the past three decades, 80% of the balance sheet is made up of intangibles like workforce deployment, organizational culture, innovation, talent brand, organizational competence, know-how, etc. The ability to draw insights based on performance data, demographic data, recruitment and retention data, skill data and opinion data, HR can provide valuable insights to business leaders. This is the future that HR has been pushed toward because of the pandemic.

Want to read something counter-intuitive? <read this>

Quick take

If you want to get a view of how to move from data to information to knowledge, this book provides the road map. The world of work has had a reset where HR as a function will be most impacted. They have a choice to take center stage or be a spectator.

Read: Why exceptional people do this even during their internship

People decisions have been created in a world where everyone is co-located in the workplace. Workplace rules, norms and regulation will have to be created for a workplace which is in every workers home. How do we build a people function that is relevant for this setting. HR will need to offer measures of productivity, engagement and skills.

Analytics can be a great conversation starter, because it is hard to argue with insights that are data-driven. This book can be a good read for everyone in HR. The line that stayed with me was, “HR will not be replaced by data analytics. But HR people who do not use data and analytics will be replaced by people who do.”

Republished with permission and originally published at Abhijit Bhaduri’s LinkedIn

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