The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

Real Time Activity Analysis

Real Time Activity Analysis

Jul 6, 2011

Not only am I a geek, I’m a workout geek.  The latest geeky gadget I’m lusting over is a Withings E-Scale.  For just $165, I can get up in the morning, weigh myself, stand on the scale for a few seconds, have the scale measure my body fat, lean body mass, hydration level, and a few other things, and then have all of this uploaded through the home wi-fi to the internet.  I can then go online and see the trend of all of these factors over the time that I’ve been using the scale.  (1) I actually weigh myself 4 times a day when I’m home.  It’s a California thing.   Heck, I already have all of my bike ride data online for the last 4 years – I mean, I can compare how fast I pedal the crank arms on my bike today versus 2 summers ago in August.  Adding some health statistics seems reasonable to me.  Since it supports 8 users, my wife can get the same data on herself, although I’m pretty sure she would not want to, and I would be the focus of much derision for months.  Overall, while my bike stats tell me where I’m getting fitter, the scale would tell me the nuances of my body that contribute to fitness.

If I can get all of this personally for $165, I’m trying to figure out why it feels like I don’t have access to this type of data as an HR professional.

  • Case management tools are readily available:  Call centers do it.  If I go to my HR call center, they are probably tracking the number of cases each rep takes, how long it takes them to clear a call, etc.
  • Transaction data is usually available, but takes some effort:  I suppose I could audit my database tables to see how many employee name change processes there are and exactly how long they are taking.  But it’s not like I’m going to make my data entry staff use an extra minute to create a case for a 2 minute transaction.  Adding 50% effort to a small transaction is rather silly.
  • Data would be pretty impossible to get in an automated way: I mean, how much time does my staff spend in department meetings?  Not project meetings or something useful, I mean department get togethers, communications for what’s going on in the organization.  I’m not saying that this is not important stuff, but I had to run an activity analysis once just to prove to an organization that some of their people were spending 5% of their time in department meetings.

All I’m saying is that I feel like I should have a much better handle on my organization.  If I want to measure effectiveness, we seem to have dashboards for that.  Similar to my example where my bike stats can measure fitness, our dashboards can measure performance, talent acquisition, turnover, etc.  But similar to how a scale would then measure the miniscule core details of why I’m getting fitter (or not), I don’t feel like I have a dashboard for that.   For another example, we track training really well, but I think most of us would acknowledge that learning happens outside of training, and we don’t track real learning activities that well at all.

We’ve come a long way in the last [number] of years.  I’m hoping that in 3 more years, we can look back at 2011 and think, “god I’m glad we have this stuff in (in 2014).”  But no matter how far we go in the next [number] years, there will still be critical gaps.

References

1.
  I actually weigh myself 4 times a day when I’m home.  It’s a California thing.

2 comments

  1. 4 times a day. Sounds right.

  2. Certain pre-employment assessment vendors offer outstanding business analytics software along with their assessment tests. I’ve found it very helpful to track data on candidates and employees – and there are many companies who have seen sizable decreases in employee turnover and improvements in employee performance by doing just this.

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