Imagine if you were asked to buy a house without ever seeing it. Your real estate agent tells you it has everything you asked for and you should trust her because she has had 100 percent success in predicting her client’s happiness with their purchase. Would you buy it?
What if you were planning a trip to an imaginary island, let’s call it Peopletopia, and the one person you know that has been there said you don’t need sunscreen in Peopletopia because it is so far away from any major continents that the sun has little to no impact on your skin. This is someone you were recently introduced to, who coincidentally, also happens to have a Ph.D. You burn easily and have a family history of skin cancer. Do you go without your sunscreen?
What if everywhere you ever worked people were allowed to wear any color shirt they wanted to work, but now at your new job you are told you can wear any color but purple. You ask why and you are told because a very well-known thought leader presented research that purple clothing causes increased conflict in the workplace, more than any other color. Do you believe it?
Okay, so maybe the last scenario and a little bit of the second one are a little silly or far-fetched, but hopefully, you get the point. Most of us usually do not do things on blind faith, like the first scenario, or make serious life decisions based on information from only one source like the second scenario, even if that source is the world’s most renowned expert on a topic like the third scenario. So why, if we wouldn’t do these things in our personal lives, would we do them as HR Professionals?
So much of what we do as HR professionals and people managers in our organizations today are actually based upon faulty logic, inappropriate application of research, based on what we think makes sense, or what we read in the latest article in XYZ Magazine. And sometimes, we do them simply because it is what we have always done.
Using an evidence-based approach to measuring and managing people can help HR transition from relying solely on gut feel when making people-related decisions. It can help unravel HR mysteries and facilitate better strategic value in your organization.
If you want to learn more, check out my session, “Applying an Evidence-Based Approach to HR Analytics” at the SHRM People Analytics Conference in Seattle, WA, January 14-15, 2020.