Talent Scientists: 2016 is not the end of theory

Talent Scientists: 2016 is not the end of theory

2015 has seen much ado about big-data and its role in human capital. To this end, and before the year’s ends, I reflect briefly on what we can expect in 2016.

In 2008, Wired magazine’s editor-in-chief trumpeted that the process of traditional discovery – testing hypothesis against reality – was on the way out, and correlation devoid of theory would be incumbent.

Is it realistic that insights in our world would consist solely of massive amounts of data and applied mathematics replace causality? Probably not.

Phew! IT processes won’t take over in 2016 and that means you and I will still have jobs at the end of this! 

Correlation alone, just isn’t enough. It is important, but it is preposterous to suggest big data and automation can replace the human theory in talent acquisition, management and insight.

In Big Data, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier make the point, and rightly so, that big data analysis will shape our methods and results. This is equally applicable to human capital and we need to embrace it, but not bow to it!

In order to capture quantifiable information, to “datafy”, HR and talent functions require the skills to measure and record what we are actually want to measure. Critically, however, talent must also be able to interpret the data and make an industry relevant application of indications drawn from the data.

Data is not the decision maker, the Data Scientist is.

Here in lies three key talent challenge for 2016:

  1. Identifying what Data Science talent looks like and where the talent is (industries, functions and geographies)
  2. Engage the talent to derive intelligence to shape and scope talent attraction campaigns
  3. Scope HR and talent teams to integrate Data Scientist functions

2016 will see greatly increased competition for unique “Data Scientist” talent. Industries currently recruiting these skill sets. Baton down the hatches, focus on talent retention and new sources of this talent to succeed.

The IT revolution continues for all aspects of human capital. Until now, the focus has been on the T, technology. HR analytics/big data is finally moving the conversation into a new generation, focusing on delivering the I, information.

2016 will be a transformational year in integrating new skills to our industry and in-house HR functions.  I will be championing to define the identity and role of Talent Scientists, whom can combine data and causality to bread the best of both worlds professional!

As I began, 2016 is not the end of theory in talent, rather data is a new skills pillar.



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