A Review of The Art of Service HR Analytics Complete Self-Assessment: Will This Excel Based, Offline Tool Help HR Analytics Implementation?

A very deep dive into what the self-assessment package contains, the purpose of each asset and how (if at all) The Art of Service product can assist HR analytics implementation

The workforce analytics market may have been “quiet” at the outset but the pace of expansion has picked up and HR analytics is expected to dominate by 2020 with a cumulative value of $860.4 million.

Numbers tell a story. And that seems to be the reason driving the peaking popularity of HR analytics.

North America expected to hold the largest market share

Traditional practice of going by gut instinct or mere organizational precedence is being rapidly replaced by Evidence based HR where good quality data is always the starting point.

Hastily thrown together processes dictated by implicit power hierarchies are falling by the way side and instead talent and outcome centric design thinking is beginning to change the game for Human Resources.

 

Where Does HR Analytics Figure in the Scheme of Things?

The complete definition of HR Analytics is the use of predictive and prescriptive technology with machine learning to crunch potentially unstructured, high volume and diverse data streaming into an organization and applying the mined insights to:

  • Effectively manage employees
  • Identify and improve processes like recruitment, retention, compensation, succession planning, benefits, training & development, performance and appraisal
  • Optimally develop latent capabilities of workers and turn the workforce into a powerful differentiator
  • Determine better KPIs for the talent of the organization

HR analytics puts the spotlight on the narratives inherent in organizational Big Data and leverages the learning to fulfil company objectives more quickly, efficiently and with a singular focus on boosting ROI of initiatives.

 

Why Consider a Self-Assessment?

HR analytics comes with a lot of promises. But it also heralds big changes.

And for a department that still believes in going by the rule book to manage human volatilities, HR analytics poses many challenges.

  • The marriage of Big Data and technology can be intimidating. Managers and professionals already strapped for time feel pulled in several directions and quickly get overloaded with information as they try to navigate the HR analytics landscape and make it a part of their day to day operations.
  • Consultants worth their advice literally weigh their time in gold. Consulting firms may charge up to $2000 a day and this exorbitant fee keeps HR analytics implementation (and success) exclusive to a few companies who can afford the initial and ongoing investment.
  • HR analytics can benefit from the inputs of various departments. But the endeavour is often restricted to Human Resources which might have blind spots around legacy practices and needs fresh, unbiased perspective to build up a system that is usable, tenable and sustainable.
  • Safety is a big concern. HR analytics requires talent related raw data and metrics in one database which can feed the tech stack of solutions tailored to the workflows of the HR department. The myriad threats to this online repository – despite huge strides in encryption – is a constant refrain keeping companies away from reaping analytics rewards.

A self-assessment is a non-intrusive, almost familiar way to:

  1. Introduce stakeholders to the concept of HR analytics
  2. Obtain a 50,000-foot view strategy that can be formulated into goals and next actions and executed at the pace of the organization

 

How does the Art of Service HR Analytics Self-Assessment Package Stack Up?

Art of Service gets it!

Literally – that’s what their tagline says.

They are no stranger to the world of self-assessments and have quite a few powerful modules on their website that claim to streamline management and decision making in the realm of Human Resources. 

QUICK EXPLORATORY SELF-ASSESSMENT GUIDE PRACTICAL TOOLS FOR SELF-ASSESSMENT
Quick exploratory self-assessment guide; Practical tools for self-assessment

The Promise(s) the HR Analytics Self-Assessment Package Makes:

To quote from the sales page, the product should ideally:

  • Help reduce the effort in the HR Analytics work required to solve problems
  • Help ensure that HR Analytics plans of action are complete and they take into account all analytics actions and tasks
  • Help grab low-cost HR analytics opportunities without needing to swim the vast ocean of strategies and tactics
  • Provide tailored HR analytics advice and actionable suggestions

What Does the Package Include?

Despite the rather haphazard glut of information on the sales page, the package itself is simple enough.

It comes with just two assets which can be downloaded and accessed instantly.

1. A self-assessment guide eBook that is fairly easy to understand. The eBook could do with slicker presentation but the information is conveyed simply and the page of contents is complete. It recaps the purpose of the self-assessment test and then does a rather commendable job of explaining what individuals must do to “take” the test.

Self-Assessment ebook
Self-Assessment e-book

2. The Self-Assessment Excel Dashboard which is the heart of the package. It has nine tabs titled “Start”, “Introduction”, “Questionnaire”, “Questionnaire Results”, “Radar Chart Process Average”, “Summary Responses”, “Participant View”, “RACI Matrix” and “What’s Next”.

Human Resources Analytics Self-Assessment Pre-Filled example
Human Resources Analytics Self-Assessment Pre-Filled example

3. The Questionnaire tab consists of an impressive array of 817 MCQ like questions – 200 of which have been added to better explore sophistication of talent analytics practice by probing competency management, advanced safety considerations and psychological response of teams to analytics adoption. These questions cover the 7 categories of the RDMAICS framework and can be answered by up to 10 participants.

Human Resources Analytics Self-Assessment Pre-Filled example
Human Resources Analytics Self-Assessment Pre-Filled example

4. The Radar Chart Process Average plots the averages from the questionnaire results to offer a one glance evaluation of the HR analytics maturity of the organization. It is a snapshot in time and changes as the company or the processes evolve.

Human Resources Analytics Self-Assessment Pre-Filled example
Human Resources Analytics Self-Assessment Pre-Filled example

5. The RACI matrix lays out the top three areas of concern for the company as probed by the RDMAICS framework and clearly delineates who should be responsible, accountable, consulted and informed from among the pool of the organization’s C suite, employees and specialists to capitalize on the promised low hanging HR analytics implementation opportunities available.

Human Resources Analytics Self-Assessment Pre-Filled EXAMPLE
Human Resources Analytics Self-Assessment Pre-Filled example

Does the Package Honour the Promises It Makes?

Let’s break this down and revisit the purpose of the assessment.

1. Will it actually take a thorough inventory of all factors and influences that go into the creation of a comprehensive HR analytics plan of action?

Let’s ignore the fact that the questionnaire is 617 questions long.

Because if these questions do not probe the right vulnerabilities and bottlenecks, the end result will not be particularly helpful.

But the fact that the questionnaire is structured according to the internationally acclaimed Six Sigma RDMAICS framework gives it massive credibility.

There is the option to disregard questions that do not pertain to the HR analytics undertaking of a company without affecting scores and thus keeps the exercise tightly relevant.

Since businesses and their needs vary, nothing can be said with certainty but the foundation seems to be solid enough and the set-up gives organizations the flexibility to return to the questionnaire again and again at different stages of implementation.

2. Will it reduce the effort involved in crafting an HR analytics strategy?

Yes. Instead of sifting and sorting a mound of information, managers and professionals have a definite starting point.

Once the results are delivered, they can then assess the gap between where they are and where they want to be and take action – that is learn more, enrol in workshops or tweak existing practices – accordingly.

This self-assessment can and will eliminate hesitance and procrastination that comes from not seeing the road ahead.

3. Will it deliver tailored advice and help companies identify low cost easy opportunities?

The custom RACI matrix is one of the best features of this self-assessment. It has the potential to fit organizational needs like a glove.

However, it is difficult to vouch for the “top three” areas of concern from the RDMAICS framework that the matrix deals with.

Does the Package Solve HR Analytics Implementation Challenges?

If we have to quantify how well the assessment delivers on its promises – the rating would probably be a 4 out of 5, in respect of uncertainties and disruptions which surround a business and the HR department.

But a more fundamental question begs asking.

Is the package designed to mitigate some of the core challenges obstructing the road to HR analytics implementation?

  • Marriage of Big Data and machine learning can be intimidating. Even though the assessment in and of itself does nothing to make the assimilation of this new topic easier, it at least presents key, personalized insights about the capability of a company to embrace HR analytics and it does so without significant effort. It also helps envision ROI! Both may chip away the resistance stakeholders have to adopting HR analytics.
  • The assessment can’t replace a data strategist. But it costs a fraction of what the top names charge and is good for multiple uses. There will come a time when a company will hit its “local maximum” – that is to optimize its processes further, it will need to take the next step of hiring an expert. But then the package is a very affordable tool to monitor and improve implementation.
  • The RDMAICS framework questionnaire can be filled in by up to 10 participants. There is plenty of room to incorporate fresh perspective from other departments; discreetly filtering HR bias from the responses and ultimately the RACI matrix suggestions.
  • Though the Excel dashboard is an offline asset, the ultimate safety of the generated insights depends on how carefully the assessment is shared with stakeholders. But in organizations where SaaS is still viewed as a threat to data integrity, the assessment may meet with low resistance and that is always a good thing!

Comparing Alternatives

Self-assessment tools that provide actionable insights are difficult to find- especially in the nascent field of HR Analytics.

Most of the offerings in the market hail from capability and maturity assessment professionals who package their services and are an ongoing expense.

The only tool that comes close to The Art of Service package is a free online assessment developed by Stephane Hamel.

It asks a fraction of the same questions and skims the surface of what is a complex, ever-evolving topic perceived uniquely by different companies.

The result includes a brief overview of where a business is at on the road to HR analytics roll-out, without any customized next steps or RACI components.

What Could be Done Better?

The Art of Service has succeeded in creating a product that is amazingly thorough yet light weight – there are only two assets that have to be used.

But given the fact that the assessment is meant for managers and professionals who frequently suffer from cognitive overload, the eBook could have been replaced with an easier to understand instructional video.

For each question of the RDMAICS framework, test takers need to:

  1. First, read the question
  2. Then repeat the statement, “In my belief the answer to this question is clearly defined” to themselves and finally, score the question based on how true the statement is for it
  3. And finally, score the question based on how true the statement is for it

Since the scoring doesn’t happen for the question, but how clearly the answer to the question is known by the company or the organization, it takes a while for the mind to fall into the rhythm.

A rather tedious task – especially since there are 617 questions to go through. Some form of visual reinforcement would be a welcome relief.

 

The Verdict:  

The HR Analytics Complete Self-Assessment package ticks a lot of checkboxes, especially for businesses testing the BI waters for Human Resource decision making and performance enhancement and for companies that can’t have a full-time data professional on payroll to guide the initial implementation of their HR analytics drive.

Ratings:

Ease of use: 3/5,

Value to users: 4/5

Flexibility & security: 4/5

 

To purchase The Art of Service HR Analytics Complete Self-Assessment, please visit this link: http://store.theartofservice.com/hr-analytics-complete-self-assessment/

 

Trina.