HR as a Decision Science

In the December 15 issue of Workforce Management, the cover article involves a panel of experts making predictions about what the role of HR will look like in 10 years. Take a look at a few of the predictions:

1. Talent management will become the prime focus of HR.

2. HR will become heavily involved in helping build organizational strategy, including such decisions as which markets to enter, which countries to chose for expansion, and which analytics to inspect.

3. A “decision science” approach will become the foundation of human resources. HR will view talent in a supply-chain fashion and help the business understand workforce trends to make sound decisions.

A “decision science” involves displacing uncertainty with actual data and mathematics. Notice I say “displace” rather than “replace” because we won’t ever eliminate uncertainty when dealing with humans. Decision science was birthed in the world of finance. Capital deployment became very predictable in an economy driven by physical and financial assets. Decision science was then adopted by marketing departments. Companies like Capital One and Harrah’s taught us how to collect and analyze the behavioral data of clients in order to maximize revenue. The next logical use of decision science is to better align and engage people. Our mission at Quantum Workplace is to raise the next generation of organizations that are committed to this practice. Ten years from now, a new crop of companies will become household names based on their reliance on workplace analytics to optimize business growth. And we’ll be reading about these firms in the Wall Street Journal first—because these firms will create wealth for employees and shareholders at a dizzying pace.

Here’s a question for our growing community: what metrics are you using to quantify your firm’s success at attracting and managing talent? In other words, what are the vital signs of your business? If you were forced to take a 1-year vacation—and were only allowed 1 phone call per month to the office—what 10 numbers would you want ask for every call?

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Published December 17, 2008 | Written By Greg Harris