Using talent analytics to improve managers’ decision making is a big challenge for HR executives. In spite of the hype around companies using big data, only 15% of leaders we’ve surveyed, from front-line managers to CFOs, changed a decision in the past year because of data from HR.
Confidentiality and Transparency Required for Credible Talent Analytics
In particular we asked, “Heads of HR need a clear vision, the right people, and the right data to effectively develop and apply data analysis to business challenges. What do you think are the most important things to get right when building the credibility of talent analytics?”
“One of the bedrock principles of how we approach analytics relates to the privacy of the data we gather,” said Mr Bock.
“Employees are used to the fact that the HR department knows their personal information, where they’ve lived, spouses’ names, that kind of stuff. They take it for granted.
What they’re not as accustomed to is having a People Operations team know how they think, how they feel, what they love, and what they hate. There are two very strong principles that underpin any work we do here: confidentiality and transparency.
Confidentiality means when we collect data on employees, there are at most one or two people in all of Google who could link a name to a particular response—and even those one or two people would have to jump through some hoops to do so. And for every survey we always give the option to participate anonymously.
Even if Larry Page our CEO says, ‘Can you tell me what Vic Gundotra our head of social said about X, Y, and Z,’ we’ll say, ‘No we can’t share it.’ The team treats the sanctity of the data as truly untouchable.
Transparency means we then share the results back and explain to Googlers exactly how they’re going to be used. We have about a 90% participation rate for our annual employee survey, called Googlegeist (The Spirit of Google). And it’s not just the company results which are visible to everyone.
For example, on our intranet you can pull down results from the annual survey on my team and on me, and see all the details. My report will show the responses from the People Operations team [Google’s HR team] on how they are feeling about the company and their jobs.
But it will also have data about how I’m doing personally. How is my leadership? Am I a good communicator? Are we doing the right thing for our users and for Google? Are we innovating quickly enough? So while you won’t see my personal views, you will see other people’s views about my performance and conduct. Employees can see this data for every management level of the company.”
This is an excerpt of an interview from the CHRO Quarterly, which examines the most important issues related to managing human capital. Articles feature the latest insights from around the corporate suite, new trends in HR, and personal stories from heads of HR at the world’s largest organizations. Also read the feature article of CHRO Quarterly to learn how to boost the Insight IQ of your workforce to transform big data into business results.
Download an excerpt of The Analytics Era: Transforming HR’s Impact on the Business to learn how leading HR functions are using talent analytics to increase Analytics Impact, improving their talent outcomes.