Pentagon’s Personnel Focus: Analytics
There is a growing interest in people analytics in both the public and private sectors. I applaud Defense Secretary Carter’s decision to create an Office of People Analytics as one of the first big steps to take a fresh look at their current and future people situation. Not only is it a perfect example of recognizing a missing link in the department’s Force of the Future initiative, it is a great example of how Ash Carter and his team are thinking differently about the situation at hand.
In June I wrote about the Pentagon’s move to reform the military’s personnel system and highlighted a few grounding principles and practices to develop a modernized military talent system. Specifically, I called out data analytics as a critical practice to making successful personnel decisions.
Pentagon leaders, like many organizational leaders, have often relied on intuition to be their guide when making people and other decisions for far too long. We are living in different times with all sorts of structured and unstructured data flooding us on a daily basis, but often without a clear vision for how to analyze and manage it in an integrated way – at the same time we are feeling like some important data is still missing.
What happens next will be the difference maker for the Future Force initiative. Like building a new house, a new office creates a frame and container from which other things can happen. Some of those things that Secretary Ash Carter and others who have newly created people analytics structures should be thinking about and acting on are:
- Identifying benchmarks. What are the important benchmarks that will surface up the true state of affairs for the current and future workforce across the full employee lifecycle?
- Growing analytics talent. What are the needs to train and develop people to perform basic analytics, solve people readiness issues, and rethink the approach to managing talent?
- Managing the change process. How are change management practices being incorporated to create buy-in, communicate frequently, and identify advocates?
- Integrating new and old technologies? How can you combine or compare data in new and different ways to get fresh insights?
- Learning from others. Who can you identify as learning partners as you take new steps to advance the work of People Analytics office?
- Keeping context in mind. How can the important work done to date not be lost or impacted by a major change such as a presidential transition?
If you are looking for support in how to transform your people and other data (old and new) into actionable insights, Management Concepts people and performance consultants can help you build new or different analytics capability and capacity in your organization.