HR urged to get analytics-savvy

Author: PM editorial | Date: 13 Oct 2015

LinkedIn chief predicts “data-driven” HR professionals will thrive

Hari Krishnan - ProfileAn HR professional now needs to be a data analyst, marketer and collaborator as well as a human capital expert, according to Linkedin’s managing director for Asia.
 
The business-oriented social network has seen huge growth in the region, with membership tripling to more than 73 million in the last two years. During this time, its headcount has grown to around 1,000 employees in Asia.
 
That has placed increased pressure on its HR capabilities. Hari Krishnan, vice president and MD, Asia Pacific and Japan for Linkedin, said: “[HR professionals] need to be data-driven in their recommendations, think about how to build an employer brand and collaborate more with other parts of the business.’’
 
Employers are increasingly turning to human capital metrics and analytics to assess their workforce and value their contribution to a business. Data analysis can also help predict which employees are most likely to leave the company.
 
Alongside this new analytical role, HR professionals must share the task of brand-building through employees, using them as a marketing tool. ‘’It is everyone’s job to develop talent. Be open to the fact that other people are going to be leaning into what was traditionally part of your role,’’ said Krishnan.
 
Speaking at the Singapore Human Capital Summit, Krishnan explained Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman’s theory of ‘’tours of duty’’ for employees. This involves moving staff around a company giving them varied two- to three-year assignments.
 
Linkedin, like many technology companies, suffers from a relatively high turnover compared to other industries. But it takes a very practical approach to this challenge. “Pretty much the week they join us, we talk about the fact that they will leave the company someday. We don’t want them to leave, but we have to be practical that they might do. So we try to make their three or four years with us meaningful so that they are driving some value to the company. It’s an interesting way of retaining top talent.’’
 
Every single people manager has this mission-driven tour of duty ingrained in them as part of their training, so they can use it with their teams. ‘’While we focus on how to get the best productivity out of them, it’s a two-way street as they get value out of it too.’’ As a result, Linkedin has seen a sharp decline in employees leaving after 12 to 18 months.
 
Krishnan was joined at the summit by Julian Persaud, regional director, Asia Pacific for Airbnb, who previously spent 10 years working at Google. He said: ‘’The HR function is not respected enough in most companies. At Airbnb and Google, the HR team is front and centre of the organisation and a business partner. They are coming to all your business meetings and you are co-designing with them the future footprint of the business.’’
 
One of Airbnb’s innovative engagement tools is a programme where junior managers ‘’buddy up’’ with a peer in another country and visit them to learn more about their role, he added.