Most of us are familiar with various data points used in sports. First, data starts with body assessment metrics like height, weight, standing reach and so on. That allows teams to have a somewhat subjective evaluation tool regarding the potential of on-field performance. Then, sports data geeks move into athletic performance measurements like vertical leap, 40 yard dash, or bench presses to name a few. Lastly, advanced analytical data provide some deeper insights, like an effective field-goal shooting percentage in basketball, quarterback ratings in football or defense-independent pitching statistics in baseball. The possibilities are endless for creative ways to measure athletic performance. Sports teams are becoming smarter when it comes to drafting players, developing defensive schemes, or molding offense patterns because they apply analytical criterion to their decision-making. In recent years data exploration has become an integral part of all major sports with teams hiring a number of statistical specialists. What can your company learn from these recent trends in athletic performance evaluations?
It is fair to say that most companies do not view talent analysis as a crucial part of their business. According to a recent Deloitte research publication, less than 4% of companies engage in meaningful predictive analytics when it comes to HR related data. I believe companies are missing some valuable insights.
What are some of the things we can track when it comes to ‘body assessments’ for your talent pool? Well, understanding the dynamics of your workforce is a good start. What is the percentage of college graduates, percentages of minorities, ratio of females in leadership positions, number of nationalities, type of languages spoken, dynamics of degrees, universities represented and so on? This information provides a view of the organization dynamics, such as, pin-pointing some unseen opportunities or revealing underrepresented staff areas. It could also help you find your strengths and weaknesses. It may provide you that rare glimpse on what makes your company unique. Some interesting and unexpected correlations may come to surface. Maybe your best performers are females with a postgraduate degree from a University outside of the home state or you may conclude that person with an international background and no college degree is three times less likely to leave the company than a local university PHD graduate? Your organization should be able to track these dynamics to find out for themselves.
‘Athletic Performance’ evaluation is another critical analysis tool. This performance can be viewed from the team or an individual perspective. Compiling qualitative data on job satisfaction, motivation or engagement is the key to any organization’s success. Companies that find what makes people click can greatly outperform industry averages. Having measurable performance evaluations are also important in finding your best employees. If you cannot measure then you are not able to evaluate. If you are not effective at evaluating performance, then will have trouble in understanding and keeping your workforce. Having clear, easily measurable performance goals would add transparency and precision into measuring ‘athletic performance’.
Once the ‘Body Assessment’ and ‘Athletic Performance’ are adequately tracked and evaluated we can dig for some golden nuggets of HR data science, starting with some basic people analytics measures like retention rates and moving into more complex algorithms like estimating the likelihood of someone leaving your company within the next 6 months. Finding a correlation between sending someone to conferences and resulting improvement in motivation/performance goals can alter company’s mindset about the cost associated with the convention travel. Exploring the relationship between the monetary rewards and performance shifts for various employee groups can mold the compensation decisions and may redesign promotional strategies.
Use data as a tool, a cold brutal truth, which will allow you to further explore the holy grail of any successful organization – its people. Talent analysis can help improve engagement, productivity, assist in hiring decisions and so much more. Sport teams get it, smart companies get it too. Don’t get left behind.