I wrote a column for a Dutch magazine a few months ago titled “The CIO is your new friend.” Back then I quoted an inspiring HR professional from a major organisation at a congress in London: “Our CIO is helping HR to figure out what data matters most is driving the talent analytics effort.” And, as not all HR professionals are seeing eye to eye with the ICT club in their organisations, most professionals attending the congress found that close collaboration challenging. Unfortunately, I’m going to add one more layer to this: marketing should become your best friend as well! Very annoying, because most of the time HR and marketing have no relationship at all.
Collaborating better with finance?
I’m often asked whether HR should be collaborating more strongly with finance to get better analyses. My answer to this is that finance is definitely better at making calculations than HR, and that good collaboration with finance is certainly to be recommended when it comes to reporting and costs. But at the same time, more intense collaboration entails some important risks. Our finance friends analyse everything through the lens of accounting: what does it cost and what does it yield? Advanced HR analytics, on the other hand, aim primarily at company optimisation, mainly by analysing human behaviour in function of the objectives the organisation wants to achieve. And that’s not quite the trade of the CFO and his/her calculation team. Human behaviour hardly interests them.
Marketing predicts behaviour
Who still studies human behaviour? Exactly! Marketeers! They study consumer behaviour and try to optimise the relationship with their customers on a continuous basis. The marketing department uses advanced analytics to predict consumer behaviour as best they can, and the methodologies they use to do this can be readily adopted by HR. On top of that, marketing often has to work with muchless reliable information about consumers than HR has about its employees, giving HR an enormous advantage over marketing. Nothing should keep them from adoptingmarketing techniques.
Experts in predictive techniques
Marketeers are experts in using predictive techniques for customer churn risks, calculating customer life time value, predicting preferences and developing algorithmic suggestions, measuring brand strength, etc. – I could go on for a while, but I’m sure the message is quite clear. They have been using most of these predictive analyses and models for more than 10 years, but this has yet to dawn on HR. This unique opportunity for collaboration is right there for the taking! And, just in case you are not really up to date on marketing, why not give your marketing colleagues a quick ring tomorrow?