Technology has revolutionized the HR field in many ways, enabling real-time connectivity, providing open access to information, spreading best practices associated with progressive new ideas, introducing the concept of workforce analytics and generally helping to modernize HR philosophies, systems and tools.
The impact of new technologies can be felt most keenly within specific channels typically found within HR, such as compensation & benefits, learning & development, talent acquisition and performance management. Communications and collaboration technologies have enabled viable and productive flex time policies. Real-time, personalized surveying technology provides insight into employee satisfaction and engagement in ways that were not previously possible. Open access to salary and benefits information has produced better informed candidates, employees and employers as it relates to equitable compensation. Technologies that enable learning, performance and goals management, and career development abound.
When combined, all of these examples stack up to sharpen the impact that HR teams can have on these critical focus areas within their domain – but cross-channel insights are still hard to come by.
The CPO and the Modern HRTech Data Landscape
A customer recently shared with me how pleased they were with the investments their organization had been making in HR technologies over the past couple of years. The Chief People Officer had recently deployed a new HRIS, a new employee engagement app and a global sales performance and compensation management platform. The CPO was also in the process of installing a new Learning & Content Management System (LCMS) and exploring technology solutions that would improve employee performance management via goal setting and progress documentation.
For each targeted area of improvement, the CPO was pleased with the measurable results they were seeing. The HRIS provided a single, global source of truth for employee data. The new employee engagement app was delivering real-time insights into how employees were feeling. The sales performance and compensation platform was providing consistent transparency for sellers and sales managers alike. The soon-to-be-deployed LCMS and performance management solutions showed promise of helping the HR team to improve talent onboarding, employee development and retention. And all of this, along with a progressive approach to compensation and benefits, helped to tell a better story for talent acquisition purposes.
Since each application and platform had its own reporting solution, the CPO felt confident that they could demonstrate success within each targeted area of improvement. However, when I asked them how they were knitting all of these solutions and enhancements into a unified ROI analysis, I received a rueful shake of the head. Even with all the availability of new modern data sources, the CPO’s team was spending a significant amount of time each quarter exporting data into Excel and manually munging it together in an attempt to tell a cohesive story. Not only was the CPO concerned that the data integrity would not hold due to manual manipulation of the data, but the resources spent to perform this analysis quarterly were substantial and not sustainable.
Ultimately, telling the success story within each channel independently was easy, but providing a unified view of HR’s success, opportunities for improvement and overall ROI was daunting, if not impossible – and increasingly expensive.
As we discussed further, we determined that technology fragmentation was not only creating opacity into overall performance and ROI, but was also hindering the CPO’s ability to identify and capitalize on cross-channel opportunities. For example, the CPO was assuming that their investment in talent development programming and technologies would result in improved employee performance and higher employee engagement. However, the team had no way to provide analytic evidence of the success or failure of these complementary programs — they had to rely on qualitative, anecdotal evidence alone. More manual reporting and munging would be needed to support any multi-channel analysis and optimization efforts.
Technology and innovation has enabled HR professionals to go deep into specific aspects of their field, but has also created new challenges that prevent them from linking all of those success stories together into a cohesive, optimized experience for managers and employees. HR professionals from the CPO to the program manager find it difficult to gather and organize the data needed to articulate their success stories to key stakeholders and decision makers in their organizations.
The Cost of HR Data Silos
The siloing of people data means missed opportunities across the board. We are missing out on the opportunity to optimize HR programming across channels. We are missing out on the opportunity to directly link HR programs to employee retention and performance. We are missing the opportunity to spot performance slippage in real time, and are therefore unable to provide timely interventions for employees in need. We are wasting precious resources to manually export and munge data from each specialty area - with results that are outdated by the time we have them together and potentially compromised through the data manipulation process.
Solutions to these challenges do exist. Specifically, the Experience API (xAPI) data specification was purposefully designed to inject interoperability between various data sources that produce activity data. Through Yet’s xAPI Learning Record Store (LRS), activity data from across the HR tech stack can be accessed in real time, in a consistent format, and with data integrity intact. With Yet’s interactive and live analytics platform, HR analysts and leaders can produce comprehensive dashboards and reports that provide timely and actionable insights from activity across all channels. Furthermore, the data interoperability and historical preservation of data enabled through xAPI creates the foundation for more progressive analytics, such as correlation analysis and predictive modeling.
The Yet xAPI LRS has the potential to be the connective tissue needed to weave specialty HR platforms into a comprehensive HR strategy. Bringing experience data together to provide a unified view of people data is what we do.
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