Talent Analytics recently interviewed Stacy Blanchard, Organization Effectiveness Services and Human Capital Analytics lead for Accenture Analytics. Stacy continues to serve as the global lead for Accenture’s Culture Community of Practice which provides the education, thought leadership, methods, analytics and capability development for Accenture practitioners and clients.
Talent Analytics recently caught up with Stacy about the value of human capital analytics, characteristics of leading human capital analytics organizations and more.
Talent Analytics: What is the value of establishing an analytics-driven culture?
Stacy Blanchard: Analytics at a high level is about whether an organization is making decisions based on gut versus fact and then evaluating whether those decisions are advancing their strategic position in the market or helping to execute the mission.
- “[Top performers] use analytics in a way that helps them be very prescriptive and forward thinking, versus historical and kind of looking backwards … [which is] very key to achieving and sustaining high performance, whether you’re public or private.”
- “As you step back and think about how you’re running your business, most organizations don’t necessarily take that step back and say, am I translating my strategy in the five to ten key decisions that my organization needs to make?”
- “And when I’m thinking about those decisions, do I then go as far to say, what are the key kinds of data inputs that I need in order to make those decisions?”
Talent Analytics: What are some characteristics of progressive, analytics-driven corporate cultures?
Stacy Blanchard: The most powerful attributes of progressive and forward thinking analytics-driven cultures are the ability to create a culture that supports [analytics] and the talent that supports it.
[Being] progressive and forward thinking is what’s kept them out in front and sustained that success for years for sure [but] I don’t know that it’s the end all, be all. You were seeing it as one of those added levers of success.”
Progressive analytics organizations:
- “have figured out how to align strategy to key decisions, key decisions to data and insight to action;
- they won’t stand for antiquated systems, people that are making gut decisions, and investing massive capital dollars that may not be forwarding the strategy or advancing the business.
Talent Analytics: What are some examples of Human Capital Analytics being used?
Stacy Blanchard: “Today, most organizations have a lot of data on their people. But the system that it sits in, how it’s housed, is it well connected, are they able to get it to tell them anything or help them with how they select, retain, develop, succession plan, motivate and inspire, we’re finding they’re dealing with ERP systems that have a set of data that is just so massive they just don’t know what to do with it.
The human capital analytics that they’re using underneath that has to do with a combination of structured and unstructured data, plus looking at more predictive models around supply and demand, leveraging better existing employee databases, so that data’s not so siloed or hard to get to.
I would think of it more of the consumption layer of being able to look at your people in much more of a balanced way, to not just say, well, how do we look at turnover?”
More forward looking approaches might include:
- “Are you really stepping back and looking at all those factors and understanding correlation and what we call the human capital scorecard and control panel?
- Are you able to actually look at it like dials on an airplane and look forward and say, you know, what do I have in my talent today?
- Why? What’s motivating and driving them to perform in the way that they do what’s in the way?
- How do I need to look at it differently going forward?”
TALENT ANALYTICS: Tell me a little bit about Accenture’s book on the value of measuring Human Capital Analytics?
STACY BLANCHARD: There were two books that Jeanne Harris and Tom Davenport wrote, Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning and Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results. [The first book] generated greater interest in the market, but left people asking how do we implement analytics?
Analytics at Work, co-authored by Bob Morrison, came out as the follow up to Competing on Analytics and was kind of an answer to how to get practical, and break down a businesses analytics maturity level and describe how businesses can progress through the maturity levels.
What we’ve done with Analytics at Work is to also then work on a number of things.
- One, extend analytics into an actual practice. And we’ve been doing forms of analytics work in consulting for years. But we’ve formalized that into a large global practice with 20,000 plus people in our practice.
- [Analytics] is not just about getting the data and the models and statisticians and tools right – It’s bigger than that.
And so getting into what does this actually means is why we’ve put the organization effectiveness practice in place. I would definitely recommend Analytics at Work to people. Accenture’s practice and then the articles that we’ve written in the leadership and culture and talent spaces around analytics, again, further that research and thinking.
TALENT ANALYTICS: Well, thank you again, Stacy, and I hope this has been very helpful for everybody.
STACY BLANCHARD: Absolutely. I do as well. I think this is a great and growing area and look forward to hearing some feedback and comments and opposing views as well.
The interview was conducted by Mike Kennedy, Technical Evangelist at Talent Analytics, Corp. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.