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Wasting Time on the Wrong Analytics


Greta Roberts, CEO, Talent Analytics, Corp.
1 September 2011

Chief Executives worldwide describe talent as being their most important asset.  Yet businesses try to predict their future by spending billions of dollars measuring everything BUT talent.

At the end of the day, a company’s talent is the last and most important piece of executing on business strategy.  Why have there been huge efforts to measure everything in the business outcome pipeline other than talent?

Measuring talent has been overlooked and ignored because it’s been very difficult to scientifically measure talent:

  • In a way that is quantifiable
  • In a way that can be combined with all other metrics that a business already gathers, and
  • In a way that allows businesses to predict, intervene and preempt lackluster execution.

Predicting talent performance changes future  business performance.

Businesses now measure most everything in the execution pipeline. Some data has a direct and obvious impact on business execution and some are quite removed.

It would make far more sense for businesses to focus on measuring data points with an immediate, direct and obvious connection to business execution first and then migrate to those data points with less of a connection – but still interesting.

The people doing the work are an obvious direct line to business performance.  Yet, their impact on business performance is one of the least measured and quantified.

Imagine if mechanics, car enthusiasts, car manufacturers world wide have spent time gathering data about a car’s color as it related to performance, the brand of spark plugs, the placement and depth of the seats, the heights of the head rest, the sheen of the paint, its parking spot and toll receipts – all as they relate to overall performance.

All of these data points are interesting and they do add to an overall picture – but if they don’t measure and understand the engine doing the work they neglect the single greatest factor in overall vehicle performance.

No amount of paint changes will affect the performance of the engine. A new brand of spark plugs might momentarily infuse some life into an otherwise low performing engine – but the slow engine will overwhelm it and at the end of the day it’s the engine that matters.

This is precisely the scenario being played out in businesses everywhere today.  They are neglecting the single greatest factor in overall business performance.

Software everywhere purports to measure important business metrics that affect business performance.  They measure attrition, sales numbers, inventory levels, financial health, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, risk, supply chain metrics – all extremely important metrics to the performance and future of an organization.

Chief Executives at innovative organizations are also now measuring the people that do the work – their company’s engine.

Businesses have ignored the people doing the work for good reason.  They’ve been hard to measure, quantify and combine with other existing business metrics.  This problem has now been solved.

Don’t ignore the engine of your business.  It’s time (and it’s possible) to measure and understand the single largest factor in predicting and changing, future business performance – the people that do the work.

Greta Roberts is the CEO of Talent Analytics, Corp. Follow her on twitter: @gretaroberts .




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