Informatics, the future of HR

I remember one of my customer meetings last month quite vividly. It was with the HR General Manager of a multi-national manufacturing company. Perhaps one of the most affable people I have met, he spoke at length about his experience managing HR in different companies and interspersed his speech with lively anecdotes and his opinion about the changing role of HR.

“HR owes its origin to Industrial Relations” he began. The nature of the workforce has, obviously, changed a lot since the Industrial Revolution, but it is not difficult to imagine that about a hundred and fifty years back in Victorian England, there might have been a clique of managers specialising in dealing with workers in coalmines or shipyards. Around the turn of the century, with communism in the air, it couldn’t have been too easy for those managers. A seismic change might have begun.

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Digging Deeper

The month of May can be cruel – it’s the peak of summer in most parts of India, and being out for even a few minutes in the sun can be gruelling. But the weather isn’t the only thing you should watch out for in May. If you’re a recruiter, you should be paying extra-close attention to the ‘Experience’ section of resumes that candidates hand over to you.

It so happens that the maximum instances of people lying about their work experience to obtain a job, occur in May. This is why one needs to be extra vigilant at that time.

And what about October? Summer’s well over by then, and even the monsoon has faded – but even then, the heat is on. As the country goes into festival mode, and there is a flurry of shopping before the winter sets in, recruiters would be well advised to train their focus on the ‘Qualifications’ section of candidates’ resumes.

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There is more to Financial Risk than just checking credit ratings!

Financial fraud is all around us. People routinely con banks or simply default on large loans or credit card bills. There are others who take large insurance policies and submit wrong claims. I have had the good fortune of meeting many risk officers and underwriters, and have heard sordid tales of financial crime. The ingenuity of fraudsters never ceases to amaze me. Risk officers and underwriters are forever playing catch-up. Every time they adjust their systems and processes, a new type of fraud emerges!

I have realised that relying on a simple credit score isn’t enough. Neither is just checking one’s address. We have to go back to basics – establish some fundamental facts about the person who is about to take a loan, a credit card, or an insurance policy. It is important to know who the person is and uncover relevant information about their background.

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Better than Vague: Why Data is a Better Hiring Tool than Psychometric Testing

Suppose you’re responsible for hiring at your company, a fast-growing organisation that is causing ripples across the industry, but is not known for making waves yet: if you’re a Tier II company, or a fast-growth start-up, you need to hire the very best talent out there, right?

Wrong.

Hunting for the ‘best talent out there’ doesn’t really help your firm. What you should be looking for is the best talent for your organisation, your situation, and your business aspirations.

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Deciphering the Exit Interview

In 1939, a team of British mathematicians set about breaking the Enigma code, a system used by the Axis forces to send and receive secret messages. The Enigma machine could be coded in 10 19 ways. Armed with statistical weapons, the team built a system that could significantly reduce the set of possibilities required to decode the Enigma machine. The Enigma code was broken every day, saving millions of lives and swinging the outcome of the war towards the Allies.

It is commonly held that people lie a lot during Exit Interviews. Some people therefore consider exit interviews an enigma! If this were true, it would indeed be a tragedy, for Exit Interviews are an excellent way to determine what is wrong with teams and H.R. policies.

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The End of H.R. Theory

Back in 2008, Chris Anderson, the Managing Editor of the technology-focused magazine Wired, wrote an article titled The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete. In it, he argued that we need to relook at the way science is done, because the ‘old’ way of doing science, in essence, a system where we built models and tested them to find out ‘why’ things happen in a certain manner, is irrelevant in the contemporary context where data is abundant. Using the power of Big Data and smart analysis, he argued, we no longer need to hold fast to the adage that ‘Correlation is not causation’ – correlation, he argues, tells us when certain things will happen, and that’s all we really need.

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