People Analytics is not just for the Big Players


A few months ago I attended a mini conference, the title of which was something akin to “HR game changers”. But don’t let the title fool you. It was a self-organised, by the sector for the sector, event. We have a good network but it’s fairly insular, and as not for profit organisations we’re relatively poor. Therefore a free event really appeals to us, although it means cramming into a room above a shop in Leeds to hear speakers whose quality is by no means guaranteed.

Coming from that background I do remain humble and realise how lucky I am to have recently attended the Tucana People Analytics Conference in London. When something costs a lot of money, yet you’re almost as unsure as with the free event whether it’s going to be worthwhile, it’s a tough decision. But boy was it worth it. I believe I can make that investment back, and more, with all I have learned.

The conference was full of big, impressive companies. I was fascinated rather than intimidated but felt almost apologetic as the inevitable size comparisons were dropped into each networking conversation. My stock phrase ended up being that my organisation was “small” (I think at one point I said tiny) quickly tempered with “but with plans to grow”.

The sector is trying to evolve, but in my experience is still not able to see the wood for the trees. At the free event we had the old workshop scenario of sitting in groups determining what we thought were the major three issues affecting HR for the next few years. This was preceded by an obviously well practiced (and therefore outdated) presentation of the top 20 issues (can “top” and “20” really be used in the same sentence in that context?). Like I said, it was nothing new and pretty much a list of standard HR functions, with a couple of external factors thrown in. No prizes for guessing who was the lone voice insisting that HR data (analytics) deserved a place right up there. Unfortunately this fell on deaf ears.

So I was happy to hear at The Tucana conference that, despite not even making it into my sector’s top 20, analytics is going to be massive. Suppressing my inner “I told you so” I’m just relieved to have found some like-minded people (finally!). This has given me renewed energy to try, once again, to get the message across. I’m formulating an overview of my experience at the conference which I will not only share on my blog, but with my network (in the spirit of the sector for free of course!). If I’ve learned nothing it’s that presentation of information is powerful, and hopefully I can harness this to bring my colleagues along with me! What I want them to realise is that people analytics isn’t just for the big players, it’s for everyone. Wish me luck!

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