The headline on yesterday's WorldatWork Workspan Weekly was, "Tech, Analytics Take Center Stage for HR in 2016, But Are HR Professionals Prepared?" Their worry is that:
The most agile HR organizations are focusing on becoming more information-centric. But skills gaps among HR professionals are hindering their ability to support business-critical areas.
I happen to love statistics and analysis, so I hope I'm not giving you bum advice, but if there ever were a report that could teach us a thing or two about handling data analysis superbly, it's Gallup's recent report, "The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes." They conducted what they considered a "meta-analysis" because they applied statistics to integrate data accumulated across many different studies to:
. . . provide uniquely powerful information because it controls for measurement and sampling errors and other idiosyncrasies that distort the results of individual studies. A meta-analysis eliminates biases and provides an estimate of true validity or true relationship between two or more variables.
The authors walk through the discipline of the process they used, which analyzes historical data from 12 Gallup questionnaire items, chosen by Gallup because they measure issues that a manager or supervisor can influence.
Now, none of us are likely to be involved in a meta-analysis any time soon, but all of us would benefit from understanding a professional's thought process and comments on the pros and cons of the steps that they take. It's pretty easy to calculate correlations, of course, but it is far more important to your executives that you know how sound data analysis provides insights that are predictive and reliable, so you can comfortably base decisions on them.
This paper will show you how the pros think it through, and how much work it takes to provide really sound findings. It would end their career -- and it could seriously affect yours -- to present findings and hear the old refrain, "Garbage in, garbage out." That's why I thought I'd bring this publication to your attention.
By the way, here are some of what the research tells us about engagement (with notes from me in italics).
- Business units with more engaged employees have better odds of achieving the outcomes their organizations want, such as revenue, profit and productivity. (So mid-level managers have real influence on results. Keep that in mind when you're thinking about pay for performance.)
- The relationship between engagement and performance is significant. (Skepticism about engagement as a real measure is misguided. If you have run into problems working on "engagement" in your own company perhaps the definition was flabby, making your areas of focus inadequate to your goal.)
- Findings like these from the meta-analysis are highly generalizable across organizations and have remained measurable regardless of changes in the economy or massive changes in technology. (Look closely at those 12 Gallup questionnaire items. Instead of wishing you could use them in your next survey, understand that they are the areas where HR intervention will have measurable impact.)
Everything you do in compensation is communication, so why not do everything better? Prepare yourself for explaining the DOL overtime changes by getting yourself a copy of the popular ebook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communication @ https://gumroad.com/l/everythingiscommunication. Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP collaborated with Ann Bares and Dan Walter to create this DIY guide to compensation leadership. Margaret is founder and Principal of re:Think Consulting. She brings deep expertise in compensation, communications and leadership to topics like the CEO Pay Ratio and performance management discussions at the Café. Before founding re:Think Consulting, Margaret was a Principal at Willis Towers Watson.