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Picture - Nigel Guenol - IBM - LondonThis is a guest post by Dr Nigel Guenole. Dr Guenole is a Senior Managing Consultant at the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and a Senior Lecturer in Management at Goldsmiths, University of London. Nigel specialises in Applied Statistics and Psychological Measurement for Talent Management. His work has appeared in international peer-reviewed journals including Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice and Frontiers in Quantitative Psychology and Measurement, as well as the popular press including the Sunday Times.


Workforce analytics is an area of significant growth. Many organisations are increasingly realising the benefits of data analytics that go beyond simple spreadsheets. However, the workforce analytics engine needs data. Most HR functions are awash with employee data, but for the most informed analytics insights, you need access to what might be considered non-routine data for example, activity in online work-based communities and current location. Accessing this kind of non-routine data may not always be easy and it often requires the active participation of employees.

Some employees may initially be unwilling to share this kind of non-routine data. In fact, a recent IBM study[1] found that fewer than 50% of employees would willingly share details of their personal interests or work-related performance for analytics purposes. This reluctance is important because without willing employee participation, workforce analytics efforts may be hampered by a lack of data.  So, how do you encourage employees to be more willing data sharers?  Having reviewed more than 50 years’ of organizational research, the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute has devised the FORT (Feedback, Opt-in, Reciprocal, Transparent) framework to help:


The FORT framework for encouraging employees to share data for workforce analytics


To realise the potential benefits of workforce analytics endeavours, the right employee data is key. It is also critically important to acknowledge employee concerns around data privacy. The FORT framework is designed to address these concerns, and it could also prove particularly useful in some countries affected by the privacy legislation that makes engagement with Works Councils a mandatory requirement on matters related to employee data and privacy.

For more on the positive moves you can make to secure employee participation in workforce analytics efforts and details of the scientific foundation of FORT, read the full IBM Smarter Workforce Institute white paper.

[1] IBM (2014) Active employee participation: A critical ingredient for workforce analytics success