There's been a lot of talk about skill shortages at the Cafe lately. Jim Brennan points out that the educational system may be incapable of closing the talent deficit, resulting in a broken link between compensation and education. Ann Bares also discusses the skill shortage, and thinks the answer may lie in cooperation between the recruiting and compensation functions.
Addressing the challenge of the skill shortage in today's economic environment requires a new approach, and I think Ann may be on to something. I'm a big fan of interdisciplinary solutions. The interdisciplinary approach has led to advancements in disease prevention, economic development and global climate change. It has even led to the development of new fields of study like nanotechnology, genomics and bioinformatics. It brings fresh perspectives to old problems, and can lead to astonishing breakthroughs.
It may be difficult to find a starting point for this inter-departmental cooperation, given that recruiting and compensation are each unfamiliar with the other's vernacular. Data may be the universal translator, and co-creative analytics may be the ideal starting point.
What is co-creative analytics? Here's how the process was described in a recent HBR blog post:
You put together ad-hoc teams that involve not only analysts with relevant domain expertise but also represent skills from other domains, which brings new ways of thinking to old analytical problems. Over a short two or three day period the team will brainstorm around the problem involved and bring together as much data and as many analytical frameworks as they can to both frame up the problem and outline potential solutions or at least pathways to solutions.
As Ann points out, the solution to the skill shortage may lie in a collaborative effort to better understand alternate candidate pools and identify the rewards strategies likely to attract and retain these candidates. It's easy to see how co-creative analytics could facilitate this collaboration.
This same interdisciplinary approach has applications in other areas of the organization. Performance management immediately comes to mind. A co-creative analytics approach could provide better alignment of individual performance goals with the goals of the organization. It's likely that based on different past successes and failures, different departments will approach a given organizational goal in different ways. Sharing those approaches across departmental lines can spark new ways of looking at old problems, pushing the organization forward.
What other kinds of organizational challenges could co-creative analytics address?
Stephanie R. Thomas is an economic and statistical consultant specializing in EEO issues and employment litigation risk management. Since 1999, she's been working with businesses and government agencies providing expert quantitative analysis. Stephanie's articles on examining compensation systems for internal equity have appeared in professional journals and she has appeared on NPR to discuss the gender wage gap. Stephanie is the founder of Thomas Econometrics Inc., the host of The Proactive Employer radio show, and author of the upcoming book Compensating Your Employees Fairly: A Guide to Internal Pay Equity. Follow her on Twitter at @proactivemployr.