People Implications In A VUCA World

People Implications In A VUCA World

People Analytics, also referred to as 'HR Analytics', has become dramatically popular over the recent years. Organisations are using data-driven analytics to improve the way they identify, attract, develop, and retain talent. These tools are increasingly being used by managers and senior talent leaders to identify behavioural patterns, reduce bias, and improve performance. People Analytics is fast emerging as an effective way to understand employee behaviour and gauge the extent to which it is aligned to the organisation's culture, using psychometric data.

Prediction of employee behaviour is essential for talent acquisition, and for creating specialised teams. These decisions, in turn, are linked to the organisation's strategies like hiring, compensation, etc. For example, market surveys to benchmark compensation help to understand the latest trends, and devise compensation policies accordingly. Employer brand positioning is also being shaped by information provided by new data mining techniques. Another vital aspect is that of designing Learning Pedagogy. Training and learning strategies for an organisation are again being designed depending on how a majority of employees respond to a particular learning tool or medium. This data is used to design learning courses by making use of employee experience and reflective thinking to create concrete learning and training strategies and processes. For instance, if a majority understands a particular topic better through experience, experiential on the job training would be the way to go.


Social Analytics


Apart from these predictive aspects of analytics, another key area that is gaining salience is the use of 'Social Analytics' for HR and organisational decisions. In its most primitive form, water coolers/canteens and other channels of informal conversations provided insights about an employees' mindset with respect to the organisation, their grievances, major reasons for attrition, and so on. Now, such conversations happen on social media platforms.


Organisations at large are predicting personality by way of social footprints. The type of posts, and the frequency of posts and interactions with friends are major data points on the social environment. Many organisations look at insights from an employee's/prospective employee's activity status on LinkedIn, the type of companies followed, and the size and nature of their network. However, the question that remains is whether one can actually devise a behavioural framework based on social media. This would at best be a single-dimensional approach to People Analytics. Juxtaposing the data on individuals and enriching it with data about the interplay among individuals, is equally or more important. And even more crucial is the usage of these data points to enhance behavioural assessment tests and tools, not only to make the right hiring decisions but also to evaluate job success rate.


For Human Resource professionals, operating in this VUCA world of disruption, it is important to make the best of both - the human as well as the artificial side of Analytics. Effective analysis of data for decision-making provides them with an opportunity to position themselves as fact-based partners of the Strategic Board, using state-of-the-art techniques to recruit and retain great managers as well as innovators who are crucial for driving superior value in companies. 


Vinay Deshpande is Executive Vice President & Chief People Officer at Mahindra Finance. He has over 34 years of rich and versatile leadership experience in several Indian and global companies. He has lead roles in both Corporate and Business HR and has contributed significantly to OD, Learning, Talent Management, and ER & HR Strategy. Vinay has completed his MBA in HR from SIBM, Pune.


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