Analyse this…

Data comes in many forms. Yet our obsession seems to be clearly focused on consolidated numerical information. Often called BIG data, but ultimately more analytics.

Other than the wonderful ability for the profession to follow a trend, I can’t help wondering how much the data argument is a result of the deconstruction of our profession.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the use of analytics and data in helping to understand and resolve challenges and issues. I’m not against the use of them to help us to identify trends.

I just wonder whether we’re trying to get back, something that we needn’t have lost.

The trend of HR structures has been fragmentation and the repeated calls is for more. Resourcing want to be a stand alone function, learning want to be one too. Talent, leadership, OD, what’s next?

The fragmentation of the HR model is something that I’ve written a lot about before, but is another consequence of it a loss of understanding of the state of an organisation and a need to somehow compensate through apparent “intelligence”?

Evidence starts with what we can see, hear, feel and experience. It starts with our understanding of the environment, when we segment that understanding, we lose knowledge and intelligence that cannot be compensated for.

When I started my HR career we used to know the people that we worked with and supported, we knew who they were, where they came from, what they were paid, how they performed and what they wanted to do. We recruited, trained, supported and developed. We knew which roles were hard to fill, why and what the organisational implications were.

But I fear much of that is now gone.

As we move inevitably forward, we need to ask ourselves how much is really new, how much is really advancement and how much is trying to reclaim the things we’ve thrown away before. Looking back has negative connotations, but sometimes it is the only way we can make sense of the right way to step in to the future.