6 Things HR Analytics DON’T Show

HR analytics is great and should be used at all times. However, relying on analytics only can be misleading. There are things no analytics can show. These are the hidden tendencies and gems for which the good ol’ conversations with employees are needed. Here’s a few!

1. Willingness

It is one thing to do one’s job right. It is another thing to do it willingly. Analytics can only show the results of employee output - the speed, the mistakes, the cooperation score. None of that reflects, however, if the employee felt like (s)he was having a good time or not. Why does it matter? Because willingness increases profitability by 21% (Gallup, 2021).

2. Secret Agenda

How do you know if an employee is doing a good job because (s)he wants to stay in the workplace or because (s)he’s working on the CV for the next big thing? The answer is: you can’t. The truth is that all employees in the company have personal agendas. Mid managers are not there to help senior managers climb their corporate ladders. Instead, everyone has their own ladder to climb. And no HRD can know where the employee ladder goes unless they ask. At the right time and in the right place.

3. Subjective Truth

The psychology of truth is that there is no truth. Simply because there is no objectivity. Even in accounts. Especially in accounts. OK, honestly, you can run this test at work. Ask employees to look at the office and name the 3 most important things. You will be convinced by the answers. HR analytics give a good idea of some facts at a particular point in time. But how employees see those facts remains in question. Since the company is made of and for employees, this raises eyebrows and additional questions. The “I think that...” is a good way to start peeling the fact onion to add substantial value to analytics data.

4. Mental Capacity

You always get what you ask for. So, if you ask your employees to perform certain tasks and then measure the results, this is what you get - performance analytics. The important thing that you don’t know, though, is if your employees have the mental capacity to overperform and how you can facilitate and reward that. A to B in no time is great. But what if someone knows how to go from A to Z in no time? You don’t know until you ask, you see.

5. Decisions

Decisions need to be informed, right? And so HRD’s collect as much data as they can, and then… do the guesswork. Don’t get us wrong - guesswork is still a big part of business, it always has been, and it always will be. What we’re advocating here is team decision making. Because no one is smarter than everyone. The toilet cleaner builds the face of the restaurant much like the chef does. And the “little” autonomous decisions (s)he makes add up to the “big” decisions the customers make. Corporate team sessions have proven the rightness of team decision-making time and again, especially when all levels of employees are involved. Because CxO workshops are the thing of the past.

6. The WHY

Motive is king. The problem with finding the motive is that The Why question is the only question you should not be asking at work. Because it is the question that makes people react defensively rather than openly. In order to find the answer to this question, a sequence of related intensity-fluctuating questions is needed. And there is no way around it. It’s important to know The Why behind analytics because addressing facts only is like treating symptoms, and not the disease. It helps. But it doesn’t solve the problem.

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