I came across an article recently that highlights the differences between HR metrics and analytics. While the author provides many great examples, I thought focusing on the “tangible vs. intangible” synthesizes a key difference between talent technology that measures ‘metrics’ and ‘analytics’ and wanted to expand with a focus on technology.
For the past 20 years, talent technologies have been measuring activity-based HR metrics or what some organizations now call “workforce analytics”. These vendors measure talent headcount, voluntary attrition rate and average compensation. While this talent data may be useful for HR to track, it fails to answer the “so what” for the business and continues to derive skepticism by the executive suite. For example:
- Using talent metrics technology, HR can say “Attrition rate was up 3% last quarter.” So what?
- “Global headcount is 13,584 employees as of the end of Q2.” So what?
- “The average operations manager’s salary is $58,350.” So what?
At best, these are interesting insights for HR but how exactly does this data connect to revenue?
It doesn’t provide enough context to derive any type of business value. As a consultant, it’s important for you to know there are talent measurement technologies that do provide business context.
Is the goal to solve HR or business challenges?
Talent analytics technology is calibrated to the needs of the business first. It’s efficient, high value, low effort technology that provides both short term ROI and long term value. The intention is to provide strategic –not transactional- forward looking insight about an organization’s talent and how it impacts business performance. As I’ve argued in the past, it really depends on who you’re selling to and what problem you’re trying to solve. If you’re selling to HR with the goal of improving how HR manages its talent data, you have countless talent management technology options that measure metrics to choose from. If you’re selling to the executive suite with the goal of tying an organization’s talent directly to its business outcomes, recommend talent analytics technology. This is the primary difference.
For more examples of the many business challenges talent analytics technology solves, download the free Executive Primer.
Mike Kennedy is a Technical Evangelist at Talent Analytics Corp. He can be reached via email@example.com.