Among an organization’s most critical decisions made by its management team are those that involve the evaluation of personnel skill sets when restructuring the organization as well as day-to-day project management. The real challenge is how to anticipate the company’s personnel needs, often far in advance of new production or project implementation. Waiting until the last minute to make hiring decisions can cost organizations time and money and perhaps the project itself.
Is it possible, just by daily interaction with employees, for managers to accurately determine who has the skills and experience necessary to enable the company to maintain its competitive edge? As we learn more about the role of contextual analytics, the answer to that question is increasingly “no”: there’s much more to performance than what most managers see on the surface.
For example, it is common for managers and others to make assumptions about employees that turn out to be false, once the true context is fully examined, especially when involved in other group projects. If viewed only through the eyes of a particular group, the employee may appear less dedicated or efficient working on a given project. However, once viewed more closely in context, the reasons for a less than satisfactory performance may become more apparent: total time spent on all projects may exceed 100% or the employee may be experiencing time management issues.
One key metric in determining whether to hire or use existing personnel for a future project or production planning is the ability to identify positions and skills needed not just for today but into the near (two to three-year) future. Use of scenario planning and predictive and contextual analytics enables planners to more accurately predict future as well as current talent needs. Contextual analytics help visualize all possible outcomes, including identifying skills and assessing risks and costs through simulated scenarios.
When a company accurately tracks employee engagement and satisfaction level metrics, it can link the measurements to retention levels and assess hiring demand. Contextual analytics can zero in on employee job performance and satisfaction levels, measure attrition levels and better estimate their effect on corporate retention levels, which in turn provides data necessary for assessing current and future staffing needs.
The bottom line, as Margaret King, director of the Centre for Cultural Studies & Analysis remarked in a recent interview: “Context is the key to everything humans do. Where (we) are at the moment dominates, and directs every decision we make.”