By Brad Minor, M.Ed. Candidate in Human Resource Development, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University
The future of human capital analytics (HCA) looks bright. Technological innovations and the continuing development of the field of HCA, along with the ever-increasing interest in human capital measures by managers and investors, indicate that HCA will most likely be more widely adopted and more often used for decision making as the years progress.
In 2005, a SHRM survey revealed the following: “76% of HR professionals predict an increase in top-level executive backing for investing in human capital measurement over a three-year period” (HR Focus, 2005, p. 7). It would be great to view more current predictive measures of this, in addition to revisiting these results from 2005 and comparing them with 2008 data to see how accurate the prediction was. Unfortunately, this data was not easily accessible, so such an examination will have to wait.
Kevin Wilde (VP, Organizational Learning and Chief Learning Officer at General Mills) speculates that the bright future of HCA will be enabled by three main things:
- Continued investments in technology, making it easier to access the right information and gain insight
- More critical thinking about what matters and what drives performance
- Advancements in how business HR leaders manage the function to add value (Fitz-enz, 2010, p. 280)
According to Joanne Bintliff-Ritchie, chief strategist at DoubleStar, Inc., HR professionals lack strong analytic and decision science skills (Roberts, 2009). Capabilities needed to be a successful human capital analyst include “quantitative analysis, psychometrics, human resource management systems and processes, and employment law” (Davenport, Harris, and Shapiro, 2010, p. 58). Unfortunately, according to a 2009 SHRM survey (Babcock, 2009), only eight percent of respondents reported that they were “well-staffed and can deliver predictive analytics to the CEO regularly.”
With this in mind, we should try to build these skills in some of our existing employees; it also may be smart to include this type of skill building in MBA, HRM, HRD, and related programs in order to build a work force of tomorrow that is capable of conducting deeper analyses and making better decisions based on the output of those analyses. As Fitz-enz (2009) said, leading indicators, such as the ones discussed previously, will drive the future of HCA, so HR practitioners of the future should be prepared to ask the right questions, collect the right data, analyze it, and use the information to create competitive advantage and value.
Babcock, P. (2009). Predicting corporate success through people data. Retrieved 11 21, 2010, from shrm.org: http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/orgempdev/articles/Pages/SuccessthruPeopleData.aspx
Davenport, T., Harris, J., & Shapiro, J. (2010, October). Competing on talent analytics. Harvard Business Review, 88(10), 52-58. Fitz-Enz, J. (2009, August). Predictive leadership. Leadership Excellence, 26(8), 20.
Fitz-Enz, J., (2010). The New HR Analytics. New York: AMACOM.
HR Focus, (2005, August). SHRM predicts the human capital metrics of the future. HR Focus, 82(8), 7-10.
Roberts, B. (2009). HR metrics, analytics key to advancing business strategy. Retrieved 11 21, 2010, from shrm.org: http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/technology/Articles/Pages/HRMetricsAnalyticsAdvanceBizStrategy.aspx