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HomeOpinions & PeopleWill People Analytics Frustrate Employees?

Will People Analytics Frustrate Employees?

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People Analytics, multi-generational workforce, assessment methods at different levels, feedback and transparency are becoming standard industry norms. Find out how ZS is linking people analytics with industry standards which could otherwise prove .

Performance management using a model based on analytics:

  • ZS has created a structure understand every employee’s potential. Using specific details such as what the competency requirements are, at one level and at the next, and at the next, creates a clear understanding about their career growth path
  • The model is the foundation of performance management for us, measured against the competency level for that role. It provides a structure by which we interview and hire people and measure against the necessary level of competency for that role, to plan the development of their core competencies when they come in

For every sort of issue that allows us to work fast. It is a great structure where a lot of clear framework built in analytics out of it, to help people see their path forward, development opportunities, and has create a nice life cycle.

Pros about such a structure

In terms of Performance management it becomes an incredibly powerful tool, because you stop measuring by people by comparison. How is this person doing compared to their job competencies versus the requirements of their job. Are they correct against them? Employees too have clarity on what they are working towards.

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  1.  Allows you to recommend performance based reviews
  2. if their objectives are being met
  3. understand their full potential, so you understand how people are doing
  4. completely evidence based model

ZS has project reviews in which project managers talk about how comfortable they are, results, problem solving and other qualities of team members, and also in terms in terms of creating objectives for individuals, one of our core philosophies is rewarding based performance, giving them in a raise, extension in tenure is based on performance, it helps you see how to advance, which is attractive for employees, manage some one’s performance, set objectives for their development.

Challenges in the model

As people progress and grow you should have a challenging role available for them. ZS has an advantage as a growing company. It would be harder if we were bigger. Continuous education to people about the foundation of this model – it is easier to have 5-7 point scale. This requires educating the recruiters, managers and project managers during post project reviews, all of it to build a cohesive culture, one and the same for all employers of ZS across the world.

Feedback from employees and “The Bell Curve

It is one of the things when people come and start with us – they think all companies have a competence model and it is like one more document to have in your desk.Usually it is implemented in such a stand-alone, haphazard way, here instead they see how organized is their progression, put together their development plan, receive advice and people get more excited about it.

People that come from outside or other firms who have come into our performance management style always talk about how different is this approach for performance management and philosophy for learning and development, because it is a very powerful way to get them to talk about their performance. A lot of companies have a performance model in which there they say everybody is average or above average, like a bell curve, they get rid of the ones at the bottom at the end of the year.

With the competency model we can ensure everybody is a good performer, based on evidence and we use that data directly for compensation so it is important that we trust it.

People analytics

Right from recruiting planning and resource management is one of our tool planning, that works on supply v/s demand on a monthly basis. There is a forecast for needs every month, head count plan working on 3-4 months – so that input of hirees matches output for the business.

We use analytics to understand the required staffing, demand, pipeline, expected promotions, expected turnover – Once people are in their performance measurement becomes very important, since compensation is also performance based, but to understand and find high potential employees, we have a program in place for advanced sponsorship, sending people for MBA from schools around the world based on their performance record. We also use it for an annual survey for the whole workforce and then we use all sorts of cuts on the basis of income, or based on location, for a whole capability group, for a big client team, any demographic we can use to study groups since we need to get a big enough reliable sample to understand patterns that make sense of where your strength areas are in terms of engagement as an employer and where you can build on.

In addition to the annual survey we have a smaller pole check survey – where we target experienced professionals using focus groups and qualitative interviews, because senior leaders are outside the pool, so we just come in and talk to them to understand what’s going on, we do a lot of analysis regarding turnover, what are the drivers for high performers? Check by location, any sort of pattern we can step into and interrupt.

Parameters for assessing employees in different roles

People who are in levels where they are engaged in technology, operations or analytics projects, analysts or consultants, they are primarily measured under the competency model.

How busy everyone is and not overwork them, so for people who manage anyone we have a project manager feedback for them, that is the metric of performance for them, for people who are in manager roles, more senior like a principal or at a partner level or an associate role, we have an additional metric, since they have a revenue generating role, they are operating against annual plans.

Where we get how they complete that plan and drive that revenue, may have a practice area role, they could have a secondary development goal, so we measure their progression against that, so we use a combinations of business plans and even like MBO models to understand their achievements and not just the measure against revenue, and then we use qualitative approaches, it is like a complete 360 combination, give and take feedback.


Think about a regular Business Analyst working on a project, their Project manager would give them a feedback based on competencies and they would also give a complete self-evaluation, chart would show both the evaluations, summary of all their projects for them to understand is shared, and they have a development manager, we have biannual (Twice a year) reviews, using summary of projects for them to understand where they stand, the model is very transparent, output of that results in the compensation, no translator in between, to decide if you get a raise, promotion etc.

Adoption by other firms

Many companies do have such a model but don’t use it to drive all their HR: their hiring, their learning, their performance management. They create it as a document, but don’t give it importance or use it to manage people and talent, which is probably an important piece of it.

So it is hard to change your hiring practices, and hard to change the way you understand performance, and we have to introduce them to the competency model and it becomes easy for people understand to, be a piece of advice, for sure companies are all doing all sorts of different types of performance management, from a competency based survey, goal based survey, to throwing out their performance management completely.

Lots of firms tell me that they are getting data from employees but that they can’t use it productively which is one of the advantage of having such models.

Conclusion – Take on multigenerational workforce

All companies are working with a generation of employees that are quite different from the generation of their managers, so the workforce in terms of what they want from their companies and what they want from their jobs is new and being able to give them that context or value in building expertise and learning and investing back in YOU as a company really is important.

For a long time companies didn’t have to do that, but it’s now for us to build a workforce to be trained and determined as expert knowledge workers you really have to make that investment. For us it is not a question, it is guaranteed that, we have to provide such jobs and roles and the companies that can do this are going to win.

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