Analytics Driven by Business Accountability

Analytics in the business world serve many purposes, and a recent survey by the American Management Association uncovered the top five reasons analytical skills are necessary today.
Which of the following create the greatest need for analytical skills in your organization?
  1. Accountability for results 67.0%
  2. Competitive environment 61.6%
  3. Complexity of business environment 52.6%
  4. Increase in customer data 51.3%
  5. Risk management 50.7%
I found the results intriguing, because while we say we need accountability within our organizations, our leaders often do a poor job of actually communicating with regard to performance feedback.
If I take the response at face value, it’s possible that we can discern a hidden meaning. Maybe one of the main reasons that leaders have traditionally done a poor job of providing feedback is due to the fact that they can’t quantify someone’s results? In some positions, it’s relatively easy to measure outcomes; however, in others it’s more difficult. It’s also critical that you are asking the right questions to get the right results.
For instance, how do you tell your administrative assistant to be “nicer?” Can you quantify that? How do you get an engineer to work “harder?” Those subjective measures are a pain for managers to enforce and a pain for employees to have to ascertain.
I had a discussion recently with some friends about the ROWE (results only work environment) movement, and it was quite an interesting conversation. A ROWE is a workplace where you work when, where, and how you want, as long as you meet your business objectives/goals. It sounds nice, and I love the idea, but it’s not necessarily easy.
The hard part, as I’ve just mentioned, is determining how to set and measure performance for positions that might not be as clear cut as others. I struggle with that every few months when managers are setting up performance goals for their new staff, because I often have to help them modify the initial goals to incorporate pertinent, measurable assignments.
Back to the study, I would be interested to hear your feedback on some of these items. Do you see any of these five areas playing a part in a need for analytical skills within your organization? Why or why not?
Do you think analytical skills are important for someone in a recruiting/HR role? 
The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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