“Invest in analytics and put people first”, says Joseph Quan in this latest TecHRseries interview where he discusses how the evolution of technology and digital marketing tools that impacted marketing roles and changed the shape of the typical marketer is a trend that has now shifted to HR, given how the innovations in HR Tech are now transforming the role of the typical HR leader.
Catch the complete interview:
Tell us about yourself Joseph!
I am the co-founder and CEO of Twine Labs. I’ve spent years in people analytics research and the “quantified self” movement at Wharton & Berkeley, and I’ve helped shape an innovation team at Nike that grew 10 fold in a year…
How do you foresee HR Tech shaping or re-shaping the role of the typical future HR lead/HR Head?
The past 10 years has given us the rise of the Chief People Officer, increasing competitiveness in hiring and investment in employee engagement, as well as an explosion of interest in people analytics. Because of this, HR today is in a place similar to where marketing was a decade ago.
As technology and digital marketing tools evolved to become more powerful – but also more complex – marketing leaders started to differentiate themselves. Those who were able to use this new treasure trove of data to their advantage succeeded, and those that didn’t began to fall behind.
The same is happening today with HR. A wealth of HR technology tools has entered the market to help companies retain talent, enhance workplace culture and invest in their people. This has put more data in the hands of HR leaders than ever before. The companies and HR leaders that thrive over the next 5-10 years will be the ones that most effectively analyze and act on this people data.
What according to you are some of the best ways for B2B/Tech organizations to a) attract the right talent and b) create a purpose-driven work culture?
Every company aims to create a purpose-driven work culture, but it’s easier said than done. Our philosophy is that employees are people, and they should be treated like people. Every person in our company – and in any company – will have their own definition of purpose. As a result, I believe that providing meaningful value to employees depends on understanding what they want. Do they want to be challenged and given opportunities to grow? Do they want an opportunity to learn a new skillset? I don’t have a shortcut to generating employee value and engagement, but what I’ve found is that listening to my team and acting on what they tell me is a step in the right direction.
Your top 5 best practices when it comes to overall HR and People Management in Tech/B2B Companies?
I have two top lessons that I would share with HR and people managers:
- Invest in Analytics. From sales to marketing to finance and operations, every function in any business is data driven. A challenge for people leaders is that HR initiatives were often difficult to quantify. To remain relevant, people leaders should be armed with data to inform and drive decision making.
- Know what you are measuring, and why. It’s not enough to just measure everything. Spreadsheets and dashboards without context are meaningless. As a people leader, you should have a clear idea of what your priorities are, how you are measuring results and what your goals are.
Your favorite HRTech/Leadership/Recruitment Quote and any last tips you’d like to share
Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets managed.” This couldn’t be more on the mark when it comes to HR leadership. With people leaders increasingly being put in positions where they must ensure the overall health and culture of the organization, measuring and analyzing the HR function is weightier than it’s ever been.
Can you give some examples of HR tech trends that we might see unfolding in 10 years?
The long-term trend that I’m most bullish on is artificial intelligence (AI) for hiring. We’re going to see AI touching every aspect of the hiring process and permanently shifting the landscape for both employers and candidates.
What will the impact be? Companies will be able to process a dramatically higher number of candidates, reduce human bias, improve response times and candidate experience (through automation), and invest their time more effectively. In the optimistic view, candidates will be exposed to more opportunities, can screen jobs more effectively, and can be recommended to more relevant roles based on their experience and skills.
What are the biggest blind spots for HR leaders when it comes to data?
The single biggest blind spot we see when it comes to HR analytics is data cleanliness. All HR leaders have a desire for better analytics, but often one of the biggest limiting factors to getting meaningful analytics is how ‘clean’ and complete your HR data is. Getting meaningful analytics takes a commitment to ensuring that data is entered correctly, there are consistent best practices for record keeping, and that outliers and data errors are scrubbed. I always say that getting to clean data is a journey, and it requires a commitment from the entire HR team.
What are some criteria for using people data in an ethical way?
There is no silver bullet for the ethical use of people data, but here are two criteria we encourage:
- Put employees first. When considering decisions about which data to collect or how to deploy analytics, think about it from the perspective of your employees. Ask yourself if the decision you are making will benefit your employees. A good litmus test is to imagine your People data practices are shared in a company-wide email; how would your employees respond?
- Be transparent about how data is being used. When collecting data from your employees, be straightforward about how that data will be used. For example, if it will be anonymized and aggregated for analytics purposes, be clear about that fact. If it is going to be used for company-wide benchmarks, share that information up front.
Joseph Quan is co-founder and CEO of Twine Labs. Joseph spent years immersed in people analytics research and the “quantified self” movement at Wharton & Berkeley, and helped found an innovation team at Nike that grew 10 fold in a year. He’s an Inc. 30 Under 30 alumni.