Episode 28: It’s my pleasure to welcome Michael Hall, Executive Advisor with Hall & Associates to discuss the topic of Human Analytics. As Mike describes it, think of this as Moneyball for companies. He uses analytics to help business leaders to gain valuable insights when it comes to managing, leading and inspiring employees and managers.
Mike begins with a definition, from Google, that captures the essence of Human Analytics. “The systematic identification and quantification of the human drivers of business outcomes.”
Similar to the move Moneyball, this approach focuses heavily on analytic data, rather than the more subjective evaluations of a person’s innate wiring and likely performance in a particular role. Mike quotes Jim Collins from his book Good to Great, the objective is to “Get the right people on the bus, get the wrong people off the bus and the right people in the right seats.”
How Could I Apply this in My Own Company?
It’s a question Mike is often asked. He answers with a question. “If you could fire your entire workforce or at least the entire leadership team, how many of them would you enthusiastically hire back, tomorrow?” He remarks that if the answer isn’t 90-95% of them, then you could use analytics to help.
People often get promoted up through the organization, but may eventually land in a role they aren’t naturally equipped to perform at maximum success levels. Mike uses the example of a field sales rep who’s an excellent “hunter.” However, those same qualities and skills may not necessarily make that same person a successful sales manager. The job requirements are different. The hard skills and soft skills required to excel in the role may not be those that enabled your top hunter to achieve a particular level of success in the field.
The Importance of Employee Engagement
Mike references a recent Gallup study indicating employee engagement has dropped for the 3rd straight year. Only about 32% of the US workforce claims to be engaged. Basically, being engaged means you like your boss, your job and have an emotional attachment to what you’re doing.
Employee disengagement has a significant, negative, financial impact on the company according to the same Gallup study.
Do You Have Your People in the Right Seats?
According to Mike, he can use human analytics to provide clarity on whether a company has people in the proper roles. Again, the concept is to enable individuals to excel and perform successfully. It benefits both the employee. as well as the company as a whole.
Mike uses a 2-questions assessment to identify and evaluate key factors about that individual. The data and findings can be applied to specific roles to look for alignment or misalignment.
For instance, how an individual responds to the questions and answers can indicate whether he/she is a deductive, analytic problem-solver or an intuitive, inductive problem-solver. Both types of individuals will probably be able to solve the problem, but a specific scenario might be easier for one type over the other. The internal dynamics of an organizational might work better for someone who has a specific approach or tendencies.
Mike relates a story of a client who had 2 managers with different styles. The assessments helped the company to realign the teams to operate optimally based on the leadership styles and the people who worked for each manager. The result was a 20% increase in sales. Again, human analytics can provide extremely valuable insights.
The Platinum Rule
People are generally familiar with the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have done to you. It means treating people the way you’d want to be treated. Mike espouses the Platinum Rule, which is treating others as they want to be treated.
The Platinum Rule can have very positive impacts on employee engagement. It means you can still hold people accountable. However, it means they’ll willingly be held accountable because of how you’re actually doing it.
Mike Hall’s Background
How does one identify the field of human analytics for a career choice? Mike spent his first 20 years in corporate America. He held various C-level roles in multiple industries. He was struck at how he was able to perform well in certain roles, and struggled in others. The logical assumption for Mike was, “Well, I must be broken.” He spent the next 20 years as a serial entrepreneur, with similar results (i.e. some good wins and some hard losses).
As he was wrapping up the sale of a business, someone approached him about the topic of human analytics. It was the first time he realized that, in fact, he wasn’t broken. Combine this realization with a humbling experience in an airport at 2:00am. (Mike tells that story during our conversation). Human analytics provided Mike with the tool to be the person he aspires to be. It’s had a profound impact on his life and his career.
Human analytics enables C-Suite executives to have better insights into their people, so that they can lead those people more effectively.
How Well Do You Know Yourself?
This is an important question Mike asks of the leaders with whom he engages. Effective leaders must have a high level of self-awareness. Human analytics can also help the leader to better understand who they really are, so they can handle situations with optimal outcomes.
Benchmarking for the Role
Mike explains that he can help organizations uncover specific attributes required for particular roles. Those benchmarks can be used to better develop an understanding of the best equipped candidates for a particular role. What attributes should this person bring in terms of not just knowledge and skill, but also in process and “wiring” (as determined by human analytics). This combination should offer both the new hire and the organization the best probability for success, over time.
Who Engages with Mike and What Is the Experience Like?
Often, it begins with someone who takes the free assessment Mike offers. When the results come back, people are both shocked and amazed. That realization often leads to a discussion of the value similar insights could have if they were spread across the management team or organization, whole. It’s a very powerful tool.
Remember, Mike’s initial question. If you could fire everyone today, how many would you enthusiastically hire back tomorrow? Mike can help leaders better understand who their people are and why they may or may not be performing in specific roles.
Mike will work closely with leadership to more fully understand what a particular role will require of the individual. The analysis begins with the job description, but can also involve a deep dive into the characteristics of organizational peers and direct leaders. It provides a better understanding of the true environment into which the individual will be introduced. Analytics will indicate qualities and attributes the successful hire will need to possess.
Mike will remain engaged, as an Executive Advisor, on an on-going basis. Over time, the client tends to become more self-sufficient. There is a workshop training phase so the leaders understand how to leverage the tool most effectively.
Interestingly, 10-20% of what Mike does relates to the actual hiring of the right candidate. The remaining 80-90% focuses on the ongoing management and leadership to help improve engagement and productivity for the client. It comes back to talent optimization through human analytics. His relationships are typically multi-year arrangements, based on the needs of the client.
Mike’s value is best applied to companies with 50-500 employees. His tool is industry-agnostic. While he’s based in Louisville, Kentucky, his clients are located in various states throughout the country.
The Cost of a Bad Hire
The benefits and return on investment of engaging with Mike can begin fairly quickly. We’ve seen article after article detailing the cost of making a bad hire. Human analytics can help an organization to avoid those mistakes.
How High Is Your Turnover?
This is another key indicator Mike uses to evaluate various scenarios. The US turnover rate is 47-55%. This equates to 100,000,000 people who will leave their current positions during the next 12 months. How devastating could the loss of a key contributor be for an organization? The answer isn’t one most want to ponder.
Human analytics can help leaders to look both into the future and around the corner. What would it be worth to know the business was at risk of losing a high-performer, much earlier in the process. It might enable a discussion with the individual and a realignment to increase engagement, before an exit takes occurs.
Mike comments that the dissatisfaction might not be about the role or the organization. There could be home/life issues distracting the individual and resulting in sub-optimal performance. That insight could enable leadership or HR to engage and offer a means of support to help that person to make it through the crisis. Would that also have a corresponding increase in that person’s level of engagement and commitment? Absolutely.
Could You and Your Organization Benefit from a Conversation with Mike?
Contact Mike Hall for a confidential discussion.
Phone: (502) 303-2164
Thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode. From more information on business-related issues, visit my website at www.JimRayConsultingServices.com.
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