Ever wondered how Google manages to draw the best out of its engineers all the time? It does so with the help of a retinue of smart managers. The data mining giant understands that managers have a much greater impact on employees’ performance and how they feel about their jobs than any other factor. And how did it develop this insight? Not by chance, nor by accident. Its 2009 initiative, code-named Project Oxygen, cranked out what is referred to in popular media as the “Eight Habits of Highly Effective Managers” – traits that have been incorporated into its various training programmes and have given the company “statistically significant improvement in manager quality for 75 per cent of the worst-performing managers,” according to various reports.
While Google was smart in applying knowledge gleaned from months of research to better manage its workforce, several other companies are still learning the ropes. But the fact is workforce analytics is hot topic in HR discussions today and a capability in high demand. To use the words of an eQuest whitepaper, for human resources in particular, big data marks a “historic opportunity” to make the “most rigorously evidence-based human-capital decisions ever”.