Data can come from surprising areas in the workplace.
By assigning numeric values to different HR aspects of office life, companies may find themselves with a surprising amount of analytics opportunities. To start applying the principles of analytics to their business, HR departments can think about problems where data has so far been absent and seek the tools that will make accounting for different situations easier.
One surprising example is the case of small thefts in an average office. While employees can regularly take minor items throughout a day, when that extends to personal things such as lunches, the results could impact the worker population.
An article from the Society of Human Resource Management dissected research that showed how putting a money value on seemingly trivial things impacts whether or not coworkers were likely to take them, even if they weren't theirs. Not only does this make the interaction "more real," it introduces numbers into the situation that can be tracked.
However, while data platforms can have numerous applications in the workplace, businesses should be quick not to rely too heavily on automation. Rather, the goal is building smarter processes that have access to more information and are better at serving company needs because of it.
The founder of the employee data company Kanjoya, Armen Berjikly, recently told Fortune magazine about the difficulties in adapting to idiosyncratic human behavior.
"A key problem with gathering and analyzing employee data is that people are irrational and biased," Berjikly said. "They don't do what they say they are going to do, they don't say what they really mean, they favor certain employees over others, and this seemingly mysterious behavior can destroy an otherwise healthy business."
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