Last week #HRTechChat and #TChat both looked at employee assessment. On #HRTechChat, we looked at the ways in which employee assessment technology enables a big organization to generate big data on employees over the course of their entire employee lifecycles. Actually, we discussed more than just that, but for the #HRTechChat Episode Seven Recap, we'll focus on this aspect of last Wednesday's discussion. The issue of data vs. making sense of it is multidimensional and cuts to the heart of how #HRTechChat intersected last time with the softer side of HR.
Data do not a wise man or woman make. It's an aphorism we wish we'd coined, but we'll tip our hats to #TChat Co-host Kevin W. Grossman (@KevinWGrossman) for that insight.
And here's the thing: We humans generally and rightly intuit that science has generally improved the human condition rightly. Sure, a few not-insignificant warts along the way have shaken our faith in science (and our fellow man), but science isn't about faith. What science does is to inform our humanness, to make our capacity for wisdom all that more useful applicable. And beyond theories and hypotheses, what is science? It's data.
Without data, wisdom is uninformed, a mere shot in the dark, and the most informed decisions are bereft of the quantifiable intelligence that increases our perceived wisdom about any given matter to matter, to actually be accurate and right. Here is where technology has improved the employee's and employer's condition.
Aberdeen Group research included in a January 2012 report titled "Data Management for BI" reveals that best-performing organizations are 60 percent more likely than poorly performing ones to profess that they have a data-driven culture. Additionally, they're 1.6 times more likely to use data quality tools. That would be technology, and among five categories of characteristics that best-performing organizations share, according to Aberdeen, is effective use of technology—i.e., "the selection of the appropriate tools and the effective deployment of those tools," the report reads.
The technology for employee assessment is surely among these appropriate tools, and it probably generates a big portion of that big data. At the risk of pointing something out one too many times, we'll politely lobby once more for the ability of properly integrated analytics to yield data that makes business decision-making easier and better. Effectively deploying these tools means interpreting the data wisely. And tht's why we'll also give the nod to wisdom, the one indispensable ingredient. Wisdom is necessary to make useful sense of data, but at the same time, the wisest person without data will probably be less effective than a marginally wise person who has access to a wealth of data. Let's take it a step further and say the wise person understands that data are necessary, and additionally, we'd be hard pressed to find a wise person without good, solid, actionable data today.