For workplace information to be valuable, it needs to be viewable, searchable and most importantly 'queryable'.
In an information age, managing workforce data can soon become overwhelming. While businesses may recognise the importance of digitizing this data, scanning or retyping written documents does not fully achieve this goal. Nor does it assist the business in connecting an employee’s individual role to the overall company objectives.
Jurie van Zyl, human development consultant at Skillogical believes that businesses must move beyond creating static records. Skillogical is a cloud-based tool that integrates, manages and analyses information to inform people development decision-making processes.
“For workplace information to be truly valuable, it needs to be viewable, searchable and most importantly ‘queryable’. When information is queryable, technology can be harnessed to compare data sets, create reports and ultimately support the business leaders to make conclusions.”
Being able to make quicker decisions on a workforce’s learning and development needs is critical in today’s fast-changing business environment. Jurie refers to the British theorist Eddie Obeng’s concept of 'New World Management', also referred to as 'World After Midnight', as a response to a world where the rate of change we experience far outstrips our rate of learning. The most competitive companies do their best to make sure that the gap between change and learning remains as tight as possible.
However, most companies get left behind, by failing to distinguish between essential and non-essential learning. “Business leaders are seldom able to tell me how the millions they spend on training has had any impact on business results,” adds Jurie.
He believes that part of the solution to upskilling employees is to first connect their learning needs to the overall business objectives, and secondly allowing them to self-direct their learning.
“The cell phone becomes a tool for employees to track their own performance. They can see how much time they spend on business essential tasks, track their personal impact against the organisation’s goals, communicate work feedback with managers and peers and indicate where they need additional support.”
This continuous tracking and communication makes the quarterly performance review redundant. Managers can keep a finger on the pulse by reviewing employee’s feedback each week. Importantly, as information submitted is cloud-based and instantly updates, it doesn’t add increased burden on the HR team or employees.
Jurie believes that we are moving into an age of the ‘living CV’ where high-performing employees are able to upload proof of excellence. For example, a panel beater is able to upload a picture of a flawless paint job, while a communications assistant can submit a well-written report. Managers can join the conversation on performance by recording comments on their reports’ work.
For the HR team, having a body of evidence makes internal promotions and new hiring decisions easier. This will go some way to counterbalance ‘gut’ decisions and promotions based on how likeable a candidate is. High-potential employees are recognised faster while the system is less tolerant of ‘passengers’.