The Deluge of Data

Some Initial Questions and Considerations in the HR/Mobility Space. Discuss.

I’m known to rant here about the industry and the way we should embrace technology, etc. When it comes to data, our arms aren’t yet large enough as we haven’t matured at the same rate as our ability to quantify and capture has. So far, applying mobility program and human capital transition data to organizational strategy without a “supergeneralist” mindset is like trying to get into a kayak after you throw it into the stream. You may be able to hold on for a while and stay afloat, but you’ll ultimately end up over your head. So as we start to look at the best approach, it may help to have an understanding of the flow of people, the mobility program and its costs and results, and the organization’s human capital strategy and associated metrics, as well as a creative mindset that has a high exploratory/risk tolerance.

I bring this up because there are some very interesting discussions going on about data and talent mobility strategy. While they haven’t yet reached the vendor side of the mobility industry in a way that might facilitate RMC’s operating in the strategic partner/consultative role that they are now selling, they are certainly pushing things in the right direction.

As we start down this path, it may be beneficial to ask some questions of our clients (and ourselves for that matter). We could jump into the stream in the same manner that everyone became “global specialists” in the early 2000’s and just put a sign on the door, but it really does behoove us to put some effort into things, since the possibilities are endless (and evolving on a daily basis).

The questions start with the assumption that we are already testing our capabilities in mining and applying program feedback. The amount of reporting we can obtain from our assignment management systems, people, vendors, and just by simply walking/looking around is immense.   So the person (god forbid it’s an individual effort as opposed to an integrated/strategic idea) who is charged with making sense of this has to be able to navigate the objectives of the organization, engage with stakeholders at all levels, be a champion and challenger of the top-level vision (maybe even an apprentice visionary), and remain in tune with the underlying cost, compliance and culture (especially around things like duty of care). Oh, and they need to have the time/bandwidth to embark on such an excursion.

So I’d like to start asking questions to get my bearing. Some of these may have relevance to your individual organization/space, and some may not. But hopefully they may start you thinking in a direction that brings the right course of action into focus. Over the next few weeks I’ll be reaching out to people to hit upon some of these ideas/topics in hopes of creating a lively discussion and if it works, will provide additional context here on LinkedIn. Let’s start the discussion, and I’d suggest anyone at any time can take any of these questions and spin off into their own article to really liven things up:

  • Are we really making evidence-based decisions and setting strategy using the most appropriate feedback from our programs? Is “the most appropriate feedback” consistent or does it flex between organizational type, culture, etc.?
  • Do we have a unified systems approach and how does it translate to benefit for the day to day strategy and tactical program components and the management of people? Or, as some have mentioned, has the overlay of systems in HR/Mobility created fractured data sets that need to be glued together to make sense?
  • Are we undermining our own intent for retention, cost savings, and a unique and positive employee experience by ignoring things like the survey “comments” section and going straight to more easily “quantifiable” answers and data? 
  • Are we seeking more to justify the choice/procurement of a specific mobility vendor using cost and satisfaction data or are we digging into the feedback to tweak programs where necessary? (I always find it interesting that benefits rollouts aren’t checked upon after the fact as much as they should be. I once saw a change in communication of benefits that was recommended by an employee survey process reduce attrition by over 13%)…
  • Is there a bridge between employee experience and systems strategy (do we seek more to feed our systems than to provide ease of use and peace of mind to our employees?)
  • What real analysis is applied to our program-is it appropriately retrospective and does it factor in external conditions and impactors?
  • Are we considering system bias that may circumvent our intentions in hiring/placement/talent mobility, i.e. does our analysis consider our culture and intentions relative to not only A-listers but everyone equally in situations where data is used in selection of a candidate for transfer? Robo-selection may reduce the number of candidates to those that had someone write a great resume for them-caveat emptor.
  • “Who’s responsible for this?” Do you have a champion of strategy that understands the application of program history/data and external environments and players in a way that can knit it all together? Is there multi-level and multi-locational input?
  • Are we able to create a “future retention score” on employees being transferred when we select or hire? Do we understand the benefits of transient and long-term employees in a way that translates to strategy? Do we capture associated data? Is catering to millennials running away with our thought process here?
  • Do we utilize program data to validate a strategy or to create one?

So that should fire things up a bit. I’ll hope to share some feedback on these over the next few weeks and see what shakes out (I’m a bit biased on some of these so it’ll help to rein me in a bit) … Talk amongst yourselves and share at will!

Larry Brouder