SHRM’s Roy Maurer recently highlighted a survey from KPMG showing that corporate leaders around the world remain distrustful toward their organizations’ data and analytics when it comes to using these tools to make business decisions:
In the survey of 2,190 senior executives from Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S., just 35 percent said they have a high level of trust in their organization’s use of data and analytics. Another 40 percent said they had reservations about relying on the data and analytics they produce, and 25 percent admitted they have either limited trust or active distrust in their data and analytics. Nearly all respondents (92 percent) worry about the impact flawed data could have on their company’s business and reputation.
“Executives and managers are being asked to make major decisions based on the output of an algorithm that they didn’t create and don’t always fully understand,” said Thomas Erwin, global head of KPMG International’s Lighthouse, the firm’s center of excellence for data, analytics and intelligent automation. “As a decision-maker, you really need to have confidence that the insights you are getting are reliable and accurate, but many of these executives can’t even be sure if their models are of sufficient quality to be trusted. It’s an uncomfortable situation for any decision-maker to be in.”
One barrier to the credibility of analytics for business leaders is the prevalence of incomplete data; another is that the metrics against which organizations are measuring are often ill-defined. HR metrics like source of hire and quality of hire are particularly hard to measure accurately, Kevin Wheeler, founder and president of the Future of Talent Institute, tells Maurer, and there is significant disagreement on how best to define them.
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Spotting a trend, Bloomberg Businessweek writer Sam Grobart tried out the Executive Health Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, one of several new programs at US hospitals that offer a new style of premium preventive healthcare for business leaders:
During my visit I was subjected to a series of tests and examinations that, if I’d needed to schedule and attend them individually, would easily have taken two months to complete. (Hearing exams aren’t usually atop my to-do list.) More than any particular test, one-stop shopping is the selling point: Captains of industry can simply block out a couple of days in their calendar and get all their poking and prodding in at once. “Think about the kinds of lives many of these executives lead,” says Dr. Stephanie Hines, the program’s director. “They travel all the time, they’re out at business dinners—it’s not a recipe for regular exercise and a good diet. In many cases, patients are coming to us knowing they’re not taking care of themselves. Their visit here is a way to help get back on track.”
These programs have become standard fare at leading U.S. hospitals. You can participate in them not only at Mayo, but also at the Cleveland Clinic, Massachusetts General in Boston, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, the UCLA Medical Center, and many other major institutions. Some of them even have satellite locations in such executive-friendly destinations as Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale, Ariz. With their high fees and generally healthy patients, the programs are a profit center.
Organizations, Grobart adds, are often paying for their executives to undergo these marathon medical examinations, finding them to be worth the steep price given the risk of a leader suddenly falling ill. Recall the high-profile cases of United Airlines CEO Oscar Muñoz and Valeant Pharmaceuticals chairman and CEO J. Michael Pearson, both of whom suffered major health episodes in 2015 that left their companies scrambling for substitute chief executives, rattling investors’ nerves.
When we ask how a change in the business environment affects the tech sector, we ought to keep in mind that Silicon Valley companies aren’t the only participants in the digital talent market. This type of talent now powers so much of our economy that it tops the list of critical talent needs organizations are worried about—and not just the Apples and Alphabets of the world. We have had numerous conversations with chief HR officers who have been surprised at how much they compete with Silicon Valley for digital talent, even though they are in completely different industries.
Fully 57 percent of heads of HR say that attracting and retaining digital talent is either a high priority or essential for them in 2017. To further underscore its importance, one third of HR executives report that this talent segment presents the greatest risk to organizational performance if it is not addressed successfully. No pressure, right?
As organizations’ digital strategies evolve, we’re seeing CIOs and CHROs begin talking more about their digital strategies to ensure the company has the right kind of talent in place moving forward. While heads of HR say the CFO is still their most important C-suite relationship, the CIO comes in second. This partnership will likely only become more important as top-level strategy conversations center increasingly around digital talent, and as new executive positions are even developed to lead them. Last week at the Harvard Business Review, Andrew Ng argued that in some industries, organizations will soon need chief AI officers:
Bernard Marr makes the case for the emerging C-suite role at Data Informed:
The argument for a chief data officer seems obvious from where I sit. First, it makes sense to centralize decision-making and responsibilities for all aspects of data across an organization. In the past, accounting teams were often responsible for not just financial data, but all data by default. But finance professionals cannot be expected to understand, manage, or optimise non-financial data, nor be the stewards of data for every department including marketing, human resources, and supply chain. A CDO would oversee how an organization’s data is gathered, managed, protected, and monetized. Another key function of the CDO would be security and regulations. …
Finally, in my experience, a vast majority of companies are not making the best use of the data they already collect and store. Some hoard data indefinitely, racking up enormous data storage costs, while others miss major opportunities because they are collecting too small a sample or the wrong sorts of data. Some companies aren’t implementing a consistent, cohesive data strategy across all departments. Still others aren’t sure how to properly analyze or implement change from the data they do have. A CDO could take responsibility as point person to ensure that a company is making the most of its data resources.
The Chief Data Officer concept is one we will be hearing more about as data becomes ever more central to how organizations operate. Our colleague Raf Gelders from CEB’s CIO Leadership Council discussed the trend in a recent blog post:
A recent survey of around 400 HR professionals conducted by Marlin Hawk and Hunt Scanlon Media warns that a quarter of US businesses are seeing a rise in C-suite poaching but have no plans to combat it:
Of responding HR experts, 54 percent indicated that their company either has no plan to ward off poachers or, if it does, they’re unaware of it. And of those whose companies have a strategy in place, only 39 percent were satisfied with it. …
This talent retention survey – which collected information from companies in sectors including financial services, technology, retail/consumer goods, healthcare, government, and manufacturing – indicates that while only 4 percent of respondents believe talent raids have been declining during the past two years, just 47 percent of respondents said their companies have a definitive plan to identify vulnerable talent.
This presumes that companies control people, but in today’s labor market, that’s outmoded thinking. If you really care about employees, you make them employable. And if you do it right, they thank you for it and stay. Or if they don’t stay, they’re more willing to come back.
That’s why employer alumni networks are growing. Not only that, given how many CEOs want to reposition their companies in the broader ecosystem in which they operate (according to IBM’s latest global C-suite study), and that CXOs increasingly need to partner with more organizations, having your talent go elsewhere can enable these objectives. That’s because you really know the people on the other side.
In short, thinking of talent as a zero-sum game is, at best, a distraction for a company. Focus on building your reputation as a talent magnet, not forcing people to reluctantly stay at your company so you “control” the best resources.
Going over some new research on the impact analytics has had on their clients, EY’s Chris McShea, Dan Oakley, and Chris Mazzei write at the Harvard Business Review that “efforts to adopt analytics upset the balance of power in the C-suite, and this shift often had a negative impact on analytics initiatives”:
Shaped by history, personalities, and events, levels of influence the members of the C-suite were not all equal. But in order to function effectively, the rivalries and politics had evolved to a tacit equilibrium. While skirmishes occurred constantly on recurring allocation matters (i.e., budgets and plans), the balance of power proved to be quite resilient. This benefited these organizations in many ways, including providing a stable direction for employees.
But the commitment to advanced analytics disrupted this equilibrium. Since there was no natural owner of analytics within the traditional organizational structure, multiple executives competed hard to own the new capability. While not every C-suite member wanted to manage such a high-stakes opportunity, the most powerful members were eager to oversee an influential new pool of talent and command more time on the board’s agenda. With the exception of the “winner,” a feeling of vulnerability settled over the other executive team members when the analysis conducted by the analytics group revealed inefficiencies and missed opportunities in their respective functions.
This is another example of why organizations need enterprise leaders.
Saatchi & Saatchi executive chairman Kevin Roberts is in trouble after telling Business Insider in an interview that he thinks the debate over gender equality in advertising is “over” and that the reason there are so few women in leadership positions in the industry is that women’s ambition “is not a vertical ambition, it’s this intrinsic, circular ambition to be happy.” Publicis Groupe, the Paris-based holding company that owns Saatchi & Saatchi, has forced Roberts to take a leave of absence while its supervisory board decides on his future with the company, Shereen Pathak reports at Digiday:
Publicis CEO Maurice Levy sent an internal memo to employees to “reiterate the Groupe’s no-tolerance policy toward behavior or commentary counter to the spirit of Publicis Groupe and its celebration of difference.” Roberts is a high-ranking Publicis official, serving on its top executive management unit. … After he made the comments, industry activist Cindy Gallop, who was accused by Roberts of fueling the issue just to raise her profile, asked the industry to tweet what they thought at Roberts. Plenty did, including Pepsi exec Brad Jakeman and Taco Bell CMO Marisa Thalberg. …
Sources said that Publicis Communications CEO Arthur Sadoun also sent a memo to employees following Roberts’ comments that said, in part, that he found Roberts’ remarks offensive and that this behavior was not acceptable within the Groupe. “I am sorry that the comments made by Kevin have reflected poorly upon the Groupe and our culture,” he wrote.
The agency itself has quickly moved to condemn the executive chairman’s remarks, Stephen Lepitak adds at the Drum, putting out a statement from its CEO to defend his agency’s approach to diversity and gender equality, while acknowledging that the industry still has a lot of work to do in that department: