Using HR Data To Guide You Out Of The Darkness With Rob Savette of Almas Insight
Are you ready to step out of the darkness and towards a more efficient and effective approach to managing human capital? Join us for an enlightening conversation with Rob Savette from Almas Insight as we uncover the power of data driven decision making in the world of HR. Together, we explore the obstacles HR professionals face when accessing siloed HR data. Technology has evolved enough to help us understand the true value of making better data driven decisions.
In our discussion, we dive into how this information can give us a deeper understanding of each individual. Rob shares his insights on using data to humanize customers in the digital world. Information literacy is changing the face of HR for the better. We also discuss the importance of creating a baseline for successful job roles and how data can help us understand and contribute to an organization’s culture.
We also delve into the need for keeping data trends updated routinely, crafting an ongoing narrative with the data, and being agile and adaptive when making workforce decisions. Listen in as Rob guides us through the transformative power of information, shedding light on how HR professionals can navigate the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.
Listening Time: 26 minutes
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Using Data To Guide You Out Of The HR Darkness With Rob Savette of Almas Insight
William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today I have Rob on from Almas Insight, and our topic is using data to guide you out of the HR darkness. Rob, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and Almas Insight?
Rob Savette: Sure William. Thanks for having me today. My name’s Rob Savette.
I’m the CEO of Almas Insight and Almas Insight was formed with the concept of measuring human capabilities and being able to factor [00:01:00] the who of somebody into your decisions about things like hirings and reorganization and nutrition and other issues that face businesses today. And it’s a big issue.
It’s a, has a lot to do with how your workforce can produce. As we’ve seen since covid. When things change so rapidly, the who routers more and more.
William Tincup: So the, first of all, let’s talk about how you’ve seen HR prof professionals interact with data. Cuz historically we’ve sat on payroll data, like we’ve sat on a ton of data.
I don’t think we’ve done a great job historically of understanding how important data is to HR and recruiting. So what’s your, just your. If you were gonna doing a data literacy test with HR professionals and again, I think it’s gonna be relatively low, but it’s okay. I just wanna get your take on their approach or what you think they, they they know about data.
Rob Savette: I think that HR is very similar to what we’ve seen in the last 20, 25 [00:02:00] years throughout organizations, piece by piece. We start to recognize in the digital world the value of data and the tools that you can evolve and develop to utilize that data. When we went from mortar and bricks, excuse me, mortar and brick selling to to online selling, then it was a new revolution of tools that enabled you to see those orders, see those customers interact with those customers more, humanize those customers.
And it took a while for those tools to settle out. And I think. The irony is the single most important asset you have in your company is your human capital. But the, like I say, irony is, it’s one of the last areas that we’re really getting to. I think that part of that is because the technology has now evolved with tools like ours and others, where not only can you take the sort of forensic data, the age, gender, location, employment years, hard skills data, but you can augment that and supplant that.
With data that’s live and currently evolving with people who are learning new skills and are developing new abilities and are demonstrating [00:03:00] human capabilities that you can use in different places. So I think the literacy comment is really interesting, but I think part of the literacy issue is we’re just beginning to develop the tool sets that you can use moving forward.
William Tincup: So let’s talk about the darkness, the HR darkness. Okay. So again, in other parts of the organization, some of this stuff is already kinda roughed out in a little bit far further advance, fair enough. But in hr, okay, there, there is a darkness in terms of, okay, now you’re sitting on data.
It’s all kinds of different data, siloed data. And again I think even the practitioners that are good with data don’t trust the data. Like they want the data to be perfect, which I totally understand. But talk to us a little bit about the HR darkness.
Rob Savette: For, to start, for the last to the first.
I think I really respect HR professionals. I think, yeah, they are a little reticent and they are a little careful, but I think a lot of that stems from the fact that they are so cognizant of the fact that these are human beings we’re talking about. And it’s their careers. Yeah. It’s their lives.
So they wanna make [00:04:00] sure that, w we all can make mistakes, but let’s do our best efforts to make sure that we got it right. And I respect that and I think that the best profe, I think I see a lot more of that. Than people who aren’t involved with HR realize. So then that’s really good news.
But it does make them more reticent. It does make them cautious. It does make them, question a little more. I think the darkness part in particular right now is really interesting. The senior execs of companies, my, myself included, we look to those professionals and we say, Hey, what’s going on?
Really simple questions in our mind, but when people are being, when we, for example, just take the last 48 months, when those kinds of things happen, work at home gets introduced and the great, resignation, the great transformation that we’re going through in the workforce, when, you’re hiring like crazy, you’re letting go like crazy.
You’re, hiring back, at the same time these companies are letting thousands of people go. They’re hiring thousands more that kind of world is, it creates a darkness. It create, the, unfortunately no one wants their boss to come to them and say, so what’s going on there?
And you say I don’t know. It’s changing. [00:05:00] Great. Great question. Yeah. It’s a career liberty question. Bad. What do I pay you for? I pay you to.
William Tincup: Michelle is a fantastic question.
Rob Savette: Yes. I’m so glad
William Tincup: you asked. I am so glad you asked. Oh my God. Oh, wait a minute. I think I have a phone call. Anyhow.
As people listen to this, whether or not, I think a lot of this stuff, especially with data with HR professionals is that everybody’s on a different journey. Some people are they’ve been, they’ve, had great experiences, they’ve got great applications they’ve got great consultants or mentors helping them through whatever.
And they just love data. Okay, so there’s that and there’s other journeys. But for the folks that aren’t quite started yet in the way that we were thinking about it, how do they get started? What’s what’s some of the, I’d say table stakes, but basically, when we look at the data, What should they be starting with and saying, okay, let’s build Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for HR data.
Rob Savette: Yeah, that is similar now and touching upon some of the philosophy of,[00:06:00] it’s it’s, and it’s a little different, I think than pe than people realize, we I’ve run a couple of companies and they weren’t the same, the two companies weren’t the same. And no company I’ve dealt with as been exactly like the company before it.
So one of our, sort of our foundational pillars is when going after this issue, There is no one solution. There is no empiric measurement that works for all. The person who could be a great customer service rep in Company One may not be a great customer service rep or a good fit in Company two. So for us, the data starts with you.
In other words, it’s not just a candidate and it’s not some set of rules out there that say gold star or fail. It’s, what’s gonna work in your organization, what are you looking to add to your organization? Where are the places you can enhance? Where are the directions you want to turn in?
And so for us it starts with measurement in your own company. And so one of the things that we found was some of the data that we wanted, some of this human capability data was lacking. So we we have a very extensive experience in [00:07:00] gathering data through the use of gamification. So we utilized gamification and AI to put together something that.
First steps takes a look at your organization. If these are your top 10% performers in sales, if you go out and find people who have similar capabilities to those people, their probability of success is higher. And you notice the words you’re using. Yeah. It’s not win lose it’s probabilities.
You’re always working probabilities because there is no guarantees and there’s so many things that affect a person’s life and affects a company’s situation. What we do is first we develop baselines. And then from those baselines, you can do what, what’s classically known as culture fit to find people that fit into your culture.
You can do culture add in other words, say, oh yeah, I want people like that, but I wanna, we want to add a little more collaborative skills, or we want to add more drive, or more analytical thinking to the group. And then you can start to augment the base that you have. And then, there’s always the notion of here’s what.
People in job roles look like, or successful people in job roles look like? Let me go [00:08:00] find more of them. So that, converts itself in, in, in sort of HR language to finding your high performance people, your people who have the higher probability of moving forward if you baseline. Your executive team, you or your management team, then you start to develop an understanding, a profile of what that looks like.
And you can use that profile in, in large, scalable ways. That’s the beauty of it. A lot of this work has been done. People will say, oh yeah, we did that. And when you talk to them, It was an 18 to 24 month sort of research. Broad. Yeah. You spend a ton of money with a consulting company, but the stuff that we’re doing, and it’s not just, I’m not just pitching us.
I’m saying this is the real world today. You need now data you don’t need in nine months. We’ll know what’s going on and then we’ll build a plan for the next three years. Yeah, you need to know this quarter, last quarter, where are we trending? How are we changing? When you look at the. The pivots we’ve seen since, certainly since Covid with work at home, then thousands of people coming in, not coming in, hiring a ton, letting a ton go, hiring different [00:09:00] kinds of people.
The data needs to be real time, it needs to scale and it needs to match your company. Those are the three takeaways from that. Long, long speeds that, but that’s the kind of data that really matters, I think, to HR professionals today. And let’s be clear about this, William, they have a ton of data, right?
You have yeah. You have data about people, about your organization. I. What we’re talking about is how can y’all augment that data and then put it in a package so that it’s really usable at what we call business actionable.
William Tincup: So when you first asked the, it was jokingly, you asked the question, Hey, how are we doing?
My mind went to two places, organizational health and workforce planning. I don’t know why, but basically I bifurcated the two things. Like that would be something that I would respond to. Okay, here’s how we’re doing right now, currently, the health of the organization. And then I’d also start to look, especially skills related or culture related okay, how are we doing from that perspective?
How would you answer that question? I know that’s my [00:10:00] mind and how I’d start to answer that question, but how would you answer that?
Rob Savette: I think that your mind is very similar to everybody’s mind. I think you’re asking the right question. I think the shock that we were hit with, and I think that frequently our clients are hit with is it’s not an infrequent thing for people to get back a snapshot of their company that’s not in alignment with the way they themselves saw the business.
Yeah. And that’s a lot of times say, oh yeah, we are, we’re just, there’s a ton of analytical thinkers in this company, and that’s not what the data shows. That’s what you, maybe that’s who that person’s surrounded by. And maybe, or maybe they know how important it is to them.
And so they, and they’ve said a million times, we need more of that. And so they assume we’re getting more of that. So I think it’s really important to, to say, we focus on the big three, descriptive. Predictive and then prescriptive, so descriptive is not something you can gloss over that, first you gotta understand what you got.
And so that’s a big moment and that’s a big findings and that’s a lot of learnings. And [00:11:00] then, from descriptive, you then go to predictive, you then get to a place where you say, how do we make these changes? And. And, not everything’s a quick fix. We all know that I think with humans in particular, it’s not a quick fix.
What you basically start to do is you can better utilize your LMS systems. You can say, oh no, we need to point more people. We need to understand what’s going on and point more people at the learning systems that we have that help develop, some of the skill sets, like collaborative or communication skills that we wanna do.
And then some of it is folding it into your hiring process. Where you just incrementally as you move forward, start to add more people with more capabilities and build teams that more reflect the way you want the business to be and the direction that you’re being in. And then, not to go back to a thing, but that’s why the beauty of having immediate sort of measurement tools at your hands is so important.
Because on a weekly, quarterly basis, you can go back and see, are we incrementally making that change? Are we starting to increase this capability? Are we starting to cover those? Are there new deficits that are starting to come [00:12:00] in? And then you can fold it into sort of the predictive thing, because your senior management always has a significant window of view that’s further ahead than the immediate practitioners in a company.
The, for the HR people, for example. And they’re able to look at that and know where the business is headed. They’ll say to themselves, we know that we’re gonna need to be more collaborative in the future. Are we trending in that direction? If not, we should be. So it’s a game changer in that it really does overlap from the entire continuum, from higher all the way through this future thinking, strategic thinking.
And I think that I think it’s, it sounds hard, it sounds complicated, but it really is not as difficult as people think. Because once you capture the data, Then you can visualize it and we have tools to do that, then you can take a look and see where you’re trending up or down and see what the groups are starting to look like and if the individuals are fitting the groups.
And once you develop more and more expertise, the longer you have, for example, our product or any measurement product, the more you start to [00:13:00] capture that sort of company-wide understanding of when we do more of this than we are doing well, and you’re able to start to baseline it and understand it.
William Tincup: when you ask, maybe you don’t ask, but if you were to ask your clients and HR practitioners in general, or they ask you do I’m wondering if I have the right people. I wonder if there’s is it, is there solving the algebra of values, alignment, cultural alignment or skills alignment?
So what is it like if I were. What keeps me up at night? If I were a C H R O, that’s what it would keep me up at night. And it would be like, do we have the right team?
Rob Savette: Yeah. And again it starts with, where’s the business going? I think it, now we’re getting into that HR darkness sort of comment at the beginning, it, the business leaders represent to the HR professionals what kind of a business they want it to be.
We want this to be a service oriented business in this, in the [00:14:00] next six months of this company, it’s all gonna be all about introducing new products and innovating, the business leaders and they usually have a pretty good sense, certainly in that window of time, like the next six months, 12 months.
They have a good sense of that. And, but the, that has to be reflected to the HR professionals and then the HR professionals can sit down and say, okay, this is where we’re at. And does that, is that reflecting what I’m being told we need to have and make recommendations saying, you know what, we need to start, training up our people in these areas, reskilling.
Or we need to be, bringing in more people with a background in customer service or in innovation or who are more open thinkers, have more drive and more creativity. So that, that kind of dynamic is a great conversation now because you, it’s not let me figure out how we’re gonna do that or how we’re gonna measure that.
You’re able to come back and say what we see here is the workforce needs to come up to speed on analytical thinking. If we’re gonna become a more of an engineering company, or what we see here is we need to go out and get more collaborative communicators [00:15:00] if we’re really gonna stress customer service.
And so I think that. Conversation gets augmented because they can actually come back and say, this is what we got and this is where we think we need to head, this is where our deficiencies are, where our strong points are.
William Tincup: So I did a bit earlier this week on managing expectations, and it was with recruiting in particular.
But basically how does the recruiter sit in the middle of all these different constituency groups, candidates, sourcers, hiring managers, executives, et cetera, and their own expectations and how do they do that? And so I wanted to ask you the question of kinda the intersection points of expectations, data and telling a story.
What with, okay. You could be, you could have a great, you could have great data. Good. Let’s just say you have great data. Can you tell a story about that data? Can you manage expectations, yours or others about that data? Or you got data and you can tell a story, but your expectations are outta whack.
Like any of those three can get outta whack pretty quickly. And [00:16:00] and go sideways really quickly. But I wanted to just get your overview of just how those three things come together for your clients and from some of the practitioners you talk to. It’s the
Rob Savette: world of data is, I gave the snapshot to you, but I spent years of my life in the AI space and a lot of years of my life in the data space.
And it is interesting. It, it can, it’s a conversation that can get really complex. But at the highest levels is really simple. So you, you, you mentioned for example the notion of can you tell a story? And I think in a way what you said is, can it be an ongoing story? In other words, it’s not a conclusion.
Yeah. It’s a work in progress, which I think, I, again, to beat on it, I have a world of respect for HR people cuz they are resilient. They have been through change, they have been through, these dark periods. They know that the light will shine again. No company.
And when I first started out in the business, I got a lecture from a high end consultant, said, no company ever cut itself to winning. Eventually you’re gonna hire people, eventually you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna get the business back on track, but at the same [00:17:00] time, you’re living through the conditions that you’re living through now.
So I do think in the world of data that it’s really important that, sure, you can go out and grab a bunch of data. You can paint a picture. You can sit there and say, look, we really see where we’re at. We really see where our strengths and weaknesses are. But it needs to be an ongoing picture.
It needs to be a story, it needs to be looked at on a routine and regular basis. It’s, the real value of data in business is frequently trending. And if you can have trending data, you can see we’re moving in the right direction, we’re moving in the wrong direction. We need to turn slightly, we need to turn dramatically.
Having that kind of data, I. Is again what we call actionable business data, because that’s what an exec really wants to hear. Which way should we be heading? Most execs know you’re not. There’s some exceptions, but by and large, you’re not gonna, identify a problem on Friday and solve it on Monday, particularly with things like human capital.
But what we need to know is, are we headed in the right direction? Are the decisions we’re making, are the things we’re doing [00:18:00] reflecting themselves in the workforce and are we heading in the right place? And I think that that there’s a lot more tools out there now that help you do that. Our tool certainly goes after a certain piece of that, that puzzle that we think is massively important.
I think in this world of change, we’re seeing things like I, I get a lot of feedback that they’ve never had. So many employees now come and go in less than a year. And so if you’re not Fink hiring the right finding and hiring the right people, then you know you’re gonna have people that tend to leave in short periods of time.
And that becomes incredibly expensive and incredibly disruptive to an organization. And when you start to look at that trend, in other words, they get that data, hire days, longevity when they left, what are you gonna do about that? What are tools you’re gonna use to go after that?
So I think you’re a hundred percent right that in its best form, your workforce should be a narrative. It shouldn’t be, a one and done. It shouldn’t be a, just a snapshot. It’s an ongoing narrative. And to have a good, healthy, ongoing narrative, you have to have a good, healthy, ongoing stream of data.
So you see where [00:19:00] the trends are?
William Tincup: Yeah it’s agility too. What’s great about that is there’s an adaptive na nature to it. It’s agile too. The data’s flowing. It’s almost like water. The data’s flowing and you understand what’s going on with the data at all times. Yeah. Do you forecast. Or do you kinda see HR going in the direction of hiring HR data scientists or hiring data scientists and placing them in HR and more of a specialized position even and or do you see more of the, okay, let’s take the folks that have been in HR for a long time and bring them up to where they can do it themselves which.
If there was one of those paths, which do you see it playing out?
Rob Savette: Not to give a hedging answer William, but I, a derivation of option two. Depends. Definitely a derivation of option two. If we look at things, for example, in the past I said I was in AI for a long time, right?
And I remember years ago AI was gonna be a giant standalone industry and make no bones about it. [00:20:00] AI is a. Real misnomer, right? When you look at ai, there’s, 10 different technologies inside of AI that are completely discreet and, there’s pattern matching and natural language processing, and there’s, machine learning and everybody just bunches ’em all up and says ai.
But, there was a time when they said the AI industry, and then there was a time when they said, oh, the AI industry is dead. And what had really happened was AI had become more and is becoming more and more pervasive and is just inside of everything that you do. And I think that’s what we’re gonna see with HR professionals.
I think it’s it’s certainly unrealistic to expect them to be, data analysts. That’s not what they are. And I, or data scientists. But I think that what we’re gonna see is more and more companies like ours using data scientists. We have a significant investment in data scientists in our organization.
And then putting that data science in a can in a deliverable vehicle that fits within the world that HR professionals work in. So that, our tool, for [00:21:00] example, is frequently embedded. Where somebody will, they’ll not leave and go to the data science world. They’ll be looking at a candidate and then be able at, a click of a button, bring up that facet about them that we bring to the table as well, or bring up that additional data that can augment what’s going on.
And we do the analysis. We, when I talked before about these. These baselines being created. You send out a game, the game people play the game, the data comes in, and then all the data analysis is done internally in the product. And then you go into a dashboard, just slice and dice it. I’m looking for this kind of thing to happen.
I’m looking for people who will stay longer than two years. I’m looking for people that are gonna fit within this group. People who will be high performance people, and we document how that analysis works. There are ways that we can augment it with more data that you wanna do or change it the way you wanna do it, but we enable you.
As opposed to expecting you to become either a data scientist or to have in your organization the capability to have your own data scientist? I think that kind of expectation is I [00:22:00] don’t know if it’s unrealistic, but I think the people that, that we work with, we’re not gonna say to them, Hey, go get your data scientist and we’ll sit down and do some work together.
We’re gonna say, yeah, we’re gonna say, do this, meet your needs, and if it doesn’t, how can we augment it so we make sure it does? So you
William Tincup: used the term earlier, I think it was. Business actionable. Is it the actionable business data? Actionable business data which leads me to think about, okay, there’s data, great, there’s some awareness of your data, and then at one point there’s insight whatever that may be and how that is rendered.
And then you gotta do something with the inside. Or not. Of course not everything is actionable, but take us on a, just where you think. Like conversion of, okay, now you have insight. Before you didn’t. If you’re in the dark, now you’re not in the dark. I wanna get back to the title.
So you’re in the dark now. You’re not in the dark. Great. You have insight now. What’s the conversion of that insight into something that impacts the
Rob Savette: business? Yeah, [00:23:00] you know it, it’s interesting. I think it takes longer to ask that question. That’s the answer it, I think that is some of the misnomers or some of the things, misconceptions that are out there.
Or that you know that this must be really difficult and complex. The problem identification that you just went through is really difficult if you’re measuring data and you’ve embedded those processes into your system. In other words, really simple. I say embed your, these processes. Sounds complicated.
Every organization, for example, has a, 5, 7, 9 step. Path that somebody walks through in order to enter an organization from, first contact through the, forms they fill out and information they have to provide. And, you include something like our tool in step five and they just go through it and now the data’s there.
So that’s easy to do. You’ve done you’ve run the dashboard and you know what, in the last. A hundred people who left our organization, they all had these common attributes or the, we look at our high performance people and they [00:24:00] have these common positive, these two positive things and these two negative things.
And then you simply feed that data back into, that, that game that they’re playing in step five of onboarding. And you’re immediately able to see that’s actionable data, right? You’re immediately able to see this person is very similar to the people who tend to succeed here. Or this person is very similar to people who might struggle in this role, but might be better for that role.
So it’s much simpler to do than, like I said, than the question even is, first you baseline and capture the data, and then you make it actionable by folding it into, say, the higher process or the reorganization process, and it’s just another step within it, except now you’re empowered.
William Tincup: I could talk to you all day and unfortunately you have a job I love talking to you, Wade.
Great. This has been wonderful and thank you so much. We’ll we’ll schedule another one of these.
Rob Savette: Okay. I’ll look forward to that, and I hope
William Tincup: you have a great day, alrightyy, and thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcasts. Until next time. [00:25:00]
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.