Published on February 27th, 2013 | by Jane Chesters


Wood for Trees

An IT director I worked with many moons ago had a favourite expression – “we’re data rich but information poor”. He was bemoaning the fact that the well known food manufacturer we worked for was awash with data of every description but that the organisation was chronically bad at actually using any of it to run the business . That was over 20 years ago – and we were in the world of green screens and dot matrix printers ( she says showing her age..) – Our ability to access data is now greater than ever but I’m not sure that it has improved our ability to generate meaningful information. A recent post in People Management reinforces the challenge. It highlights the issues faced by HR professionals in maximising the value of the reams of data they can now access. They cite a recent study by SHL, their  – Global Assessment Trends Report 2013 – which paints a picture of an HR function overwhelmed, failing to harness power of talent data. It echoes some of the findings of Orion’s own talent management research last year. We discovered that despite many pockets of good practice, the area of measurement was a particular weakness- with limited attempts to measure results in terms of its impact on business strategy execution. Rather than using the right data , business leaders were more often being asked to take a leap of faith that a healthy talent pipeline equals better strategy execution.  We found that most measures were based on the outcomes of talent processes and did not show the impact on business strategy execution and so the debate on transparency rages on. Our research highlighted a number of other issues:  – Strategy There is a lack of a clear process to define the talent strategy with the business. Most HR functions are still selling in their talent initiatives without sufficient buy-in or business understanding of the benefits. HR functions talk about talent strategy but actually just describe talent process. Capability There is limited up skilling of people managers and HR alongside the rollout of process. Both lack the skills to identify potential especially where the business strategy demands new skills and mindset. As a result of the research, we’ve developed a quick talent test so you can assess your own standing against the key success criteria for effective talent management – click here to take it and contact us at info@orion-partners.com if you’d like to know more.

About the Author

Jane is one of our founder partners, and leads our strategy and services practice.

Jane has spent the last 20 years in and around the HR function – both in-house and as a consultant. Her client list reads like a who’s who of household UK names: from Sky and M&S in the private sector to Her Majesty’s Prison Service and Thames Valley Police. Jane leads teams to help our clients formulate and assess people strategies, then makes sure they’re set up to deliver them. So they know where they want to go, and how they’re going to get there.

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑