NEW: HR needs to go evidence-based

25 Jun, 2022 - 17:06 0 Views
NEW: HR needs to go evidence-based

The Sunday Mail

Memory Nguwi

LIKE many other professions, human resources (HR) needs to embrace evidence-based management.

It is not easy to migrate immediately to evidence-based HR, but the journey has to start somewhere.

Evidence-based management is the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data to make informed decisions.

It is a process that includes the design and implementation of research to generate data, the use of data to come to a decision, and the interpretation of the decision.

In the past, managers made decisions based on intuition and personal experience. Today, managers use data to support their decisions and improve their performance.

In the workplace, managers often make decisions and allocate resources based on intuition and personal experience.

But what if managers could rely on data and research to make better decisions and allocate resources more efficiently?

The concept of evidence-based management, also known as EBM, is a discipline that aims to leverage research and data to improve the quality of decision making and the allocation of resources within organisations.

As an HR professional, you are responsible for ensuring your organisation operates at its best. You want to ensure that employees are happy, high productivity, and the business is performing well.

But sometimes, it can be difficult to know which strategies will have the biggest impact on your organisation. That’s where evidence-based HR comes in.

Over the last few years, there has been a shift in how HR professionals approach their jobs. Instead of relying on gut instinct, they use data and evidence to make more informed decisions.

This philosophy is based on the notion that the best decisions are based on the best available evidence.

When I think about HR, I think about managing payroll, benefits programs, and the people side of the business. I think about managing the complex, ever-changing laws and regulations that govern the employment relationship.

I think about helping employees find their way in the workplace and assisting them with professional development. I think about being a strategic partner, and delivering value to the organisation through its employees.

HR is a complicated business. It’s about so much more than just salary and benefits. It’s about managing people, keeping them motivated, and helping them achieve their goals.

It’s about finding and keeping the best people and making the most of their talents and experience.

As you migrate to an evidence-based HR, always remember that individual and organisational context matters should never be ignored; do not copy practices without customisation to your environment.

But being an evidence-based HR professional isn’t just about delivering HR services. It’s also about making decisions in the organisation’s best interest and evaluating which decisions are most impactful.

Human Resource is a field filled with fads. There was a time when HR people were all about performance management, and then it was all about hiring, and then it was all about culture.

Today, it seems that everyone is obsessed with a culture suddenly. But that’s only the beginning.

Over the last few decades, organisations have been inundated with buzzwords and fads related to human resources. In the 70s and 80s, companies focused on outsourcing, automation, and “streamlining” their HR functions.

In the 1990s and 2000s, HR professionals focused on empowering employees, creating an “employee-focused” culture, and “empowering” workers. Today, organisations are obsessed with “technology.

Here are some HR findings that can help you start thinking about evidence HR. This shows what works and what does not:
• Studies have shown that 60 percent to 70 percent of the training offered by employers is generic.
• The general view is “that training enhances employee knowledge, skills, and abilities, which improves outcomes such as productivity, product and service quality, and customer satisfaction”. Some researchers suggest that “better training and HR policies may follow from superior financial performance rather than be caused by it.”
• Training decay – McNelly et (1998) looked at studies on skills decay. A year after the training, they found out that trainees had lost 90 percent of what they had learnt. High levels of skills decay were noted in the cognitive tasks compared to physical tasks. High levels of skills decay were noted in longer periods of nonuse or practice of the skill learnt.
• Bloom and Van Reenen (2005): Quality of management practice is related to productivity and profitability.
• Green et al., 2003: There is a relationship between skills and product sophistication.
• Dearden et al. (2000): There is a relationship between training and labour productivity.
• Huselid and Becker (1997): One standard deviation shift in the High-Performance Work Practices index is associated with a $40 000 increase in shareholder value per employee.
• The true score correlation between employee engagement and composite performance is 0.49.
• Companies scoring in the top half on employee engagement are more than double their odds of success than those in the bottom half.
• Those at the 99th percentile have nearly five times the success rate of those at the first percentile.
• Team Building – Team building without addressing psychological safety results in cosmetic changes and a waste of resources.
• Employee Experience – Employees with a positive experience were eight times more likely to stay and four times more committed than those with a negative experience – McKinsey
• 55 percent of employee engagement is driven by non-financial recognition. McKinsey
• Generational differences – scientific evidence shows that the differences are too small to make a huge difference in policies. In practice, these are overhyped.
• Unethical conduct is largely a function of individual personality and ethical climate in the organization. Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
• 80 percent of the time, when large companies pick a CEO, they go for an insider.
• Globally, companies lose an estimated USD112 billion dollars due to the wrong selection of the CEO
• Boards tend to look for subordinates when hiring instead of looking for leaders.
• Charismatic extroverts are likely to be selected for many jobs; Take note that they do not provide a significant performance advantage on the job.
• Women – you are 28 times less likely to be picked for a CEO role for various reasons that have nothing to do with performance.

The research we carried out in Zimbabwe showed:
• We found no relationship between training hours per employee and (branches) performance in a financial services sector.
• We found no relationship between branch performance and the level of education of the branch manager.
• We found that business development professionals with high critical thinking and extroverted brought more business.
• The level of education had no relationship with the performance of Check out Operators.
• Driver Assessment – 26 percent of the accidents involved personnel between the ages of 31 and 35 years.
• Study of retail shops – branches with merchandisers sold significantly more than branches with no merchandisers.
• We found that having a supervisor in charge of a chain of branches had no significant impact on the performance of store branches.
• Employees on fixed terms contracts are more engaged than those on contracts without a time limit.

*Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant- Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm. Email:[email protected] or visit our websites and

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