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Director of Online Marketing for Salesforce Work.com. Fascinated with all aspects of digital marketing and social business. David has posted 99 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The Role of Data in Performance Management

02.24.2014
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“In God we trust; all others must bring data.”

So said the legendary analytical mind of W. Edwards Deming.  Despite the vast improvements in both the concept of process improvement, and the supply of data to the workplace, the performance review still seems to be a rather subjective affair.

For instance, a recent report by the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that just 25% of organisations are equipped to meet the analytics needs of modern business.  They lack both the skills and the acumen to make the most of the data at their fingertips.

It went on to highlight four ways that the best organisations are making use of the analytical capabilities at their disposal.

  1. They think analytically – The best performing companies all have an analytical mindset, from the boardroom down to the shop floor.  Does your executive team have sufficient understanding of what big data can do for them?
  2. Data talent is widespread – They also have analytical ability throughout the organisation, not just in departments traditionally associated with data analysis, such as R&D and finance.  HR in particular had high analytical ability ratings.
  3. Recruitment fills the gaps – If the top organisations lack talent in any areas, their recruitment policies ensure that analytical ability is recruited to fill those gaps.  If recruitment isn’t an option then extensive training is provided to bring employees up to speed.  Training is particularly important in an environment where data scientists are scarce commodities, and therefore expensive ones.
  4. Big data is used in HR – The best organisations are using big data for a range of workforce decision making.  Strategic workforce planning, recruitment, and productivity measures are all areas in which they see an opportunity to exploit big data.

The use of social performance appraisal software such as that provided by Work.com gives managers a wealth of new data with which they can analyse the performance of their team.  Are they sufficiently equipped to do so?  Does more training need to be provided in analytical areas?

Computers, the Internet, datafication; the new way of doing business isn’t arriving, it’s been here for years. Organisations that take their time catching up to a data-based world will soon become statistical data themselves.
Published at DZone with permission of its author, David Austin.

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