MAY 14, 2014 4:37pm ET

Related Links

Confusion Surfaces about the Data Lake
July 29, 2014
USAA Uses IBM's Watson to Help Members Adjust to Civilian Life
July 28, 2014
Forrester: Social Plus Mobile Effective Way to Engage Prospects
July 28, 2014

Web Seminars

How Intelligent Digital Self-Service with Customer Analytics Can Lower Costs and Raise Revenue
Available On Demand
Improve Omni-channel Shopping Experience with Product Information Management
August 21, 2014
Commentary

On Innovation and Analytics in the Workplace

Print
Reprints
Email

With a little help from Brad Pitt on the way, arguably it was Michael Lewis who first introduced ‘big data’ into the public consciousness with the publication of his book Moneyball more than a decade ago. His account of how a baseball club assembled a competitive and ultimately successful team despite its weak financial situation revealed to a global audience the power of analytical, evidence-based metric approaches in developing winning strategies.

As consumers, we might not always like or fully understand it, but we have mostly come to terms with the knowledge that our purchasing decisions and behaviours are collated into mega data sets and pored over by those that sell us things. After all firms like Netflix and Amazon have built global business empires largely based on recommending films and products to us derived from our earlier interactions. However, our acquiescence about retailers collecting and using the data our actions generate might not extend to our employers doing the same. Yet this is exactly what is set to happen; the world of work is about to get a makeover, at least that is the prophesy of Tim Adams writing brilliantly in this weekend’s Sunday Observer.

According to Adams, job interviews could be a thing of the past as companies use ‘big data’ to predict the best candidates to employ. For example, by analyzing a vast volume of on-line dating digital records (of all things) one researcher has developed an algorithm that is predicting with 95% accuracy, the ranking of teams in business games based solely on a 25-question application form. He is now encouraging companies to use his techniques to identify and engineer the careers of their high performers

More controversially, Adams believes that soon it may be commonplace for employers to electronically monitor their staff. An MIT professor, Alex Pentland has persuaded employees to wear sensory badges to collate the tone and range of their interactions and body language in order to use the data to determine what makes a successful team. Interestingly he has found that experience, education, gender or even personality-type matters less than a willingness to talk to lots of people: open engagement was the major explanation of differences between high and low performing teams in his studies.

If the insurance industry is viewed as essentially the fusion of financial and human capital, then the willingness to embrace data analytics is strikingly uneven. On the one hand the latest models and computer simulations have been eagerly embedded into processes designed to preserve financial resilience. Yet at the same time modern technology has mostly been ignored as a means to manage human resources better. Insurance leaders are fond of taking pride in their people but in reality have invested little in innovating the way we are recruited; how our careers are progressed; how we are rewarded; or where and how we work. Just like the Oakland Athletics in Michael Lewis’ book, there is a similar prize potentially for an insurer who dares to be different and shakes off long held beliefs about how to create a contented and successful workforce.

Get access to this article and thousands more...

All Information Management articles are archived after 7 days. REGISTER NOW for unlimited access to all recently archived articles, as well as thousands of searchable stories. Registered Members also gain access to:

  • Full access to information-management.com including all searchable archived content
  • Exclusive E-Newsletters delivering the latest headlines to your inbox
  • Access to White Papers, Web Seminars, and Blog Discussions
  • Discounts to upcoming conferences & events
  • Uninterrupted access to all sponsored content, and MORE!

Already Registered?

Filed under:

Advertisement

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments:
You must be registered to post a comment.
Not Registered?
You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.
Already registered? Log in here
Please note you must now log in with your email address and password.
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Login  |  My Account  |  White Papers  |  Web Seminars  |  Events |  Newsletters |  eBooks
FOLLOW US
Please note you must now log in with your email address and password.