Work force analytics touted as way to manage human assets

Craig Madsen
Craig Madsen

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Most business owners and managers keep close tabs on assets, whether that’s equipment, inventories or accounts receivable.

But Craig Madsen believes owners and managers also should pay attention to another important asset: the employees who work for them. Regardless of the opportunities or problems businesses face, employees play a crucial role in success, Madsen said. “The variable is people.”

Hiring the right people makes a big difference, he said. So does assembling the best teams to take on a task or project.

Madsen said the company for which he works can help in using work force analytics to match employee behaviors with business outcomes.

By one estimate, using analytics can double the success rate of selecting the right new hires over a traditional process that takes into account only resumes, interviews and references, he said.

Madsen works as an associate for the Human Shift. The Aspen-based company provides a range of assessments and consultation services to help businesses with everything from hiring, employee engagement and retention to team development, sales performance and succession planning.

Working out of Grand Junction, Madsen said he’s involved in business development and consulting.

Madsen has worked for the Human Shift less than two months. But he brings to the position more than 14 years of experience working in a variety of positions and industries as well as a graduate education in business intelligence.

Madsen grew up in Grand Junction. He earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Bates College in Maine and master’s degree in business intelligence from the University of Denver. He worked in sales positions in media and home improvement in  San Francisco. Returning to the Grand Valley, he worked as a business development manager for the Quality Health Network and financial advisor with Merrill Lynch.

Madsen said he was recruited to join the Human Shift. He said he expects to draw on his experiences in developing relationships with customers as well as his training in using data analysis to solve business problems.

The Human Shift uses work force analytics to solve business problems, he said, including cognitive and behavioral assessments to help in hiring, team building and management.

Those assessments include the Predictive Index. The index was developed by Arthur Daniels, a World War II bombardier who initially worked with a psychologist to determine why some bomber crews were more successful than others. Since Daniels launched the Predictive Index on a commercial basis in 1955, more than 19 million people have taken assessments, and more than 10,000 people are trained in workshops annually.

Madsen said the index quantifies cognitive abilities and identifies behavioral drives to determine if an individual would constitute a good fit for a position or work well with others on a team.

Cognitive assessments measure intelligence and how quickly people learn. In behavioral assessments, the words people choose to describe themselves as well as the words they believe others would choose to describe them can predict the behaviors they’d bring to work, including such attributes as dominance, extroversion, patience and formality. Behavioral assessments also can predict the ways employees approach a task, communicate and work on teams.

While 30 percent of new hires selected through traditional processes go on to become successful employees, the proportion increases to 66 percent using analytics, Madsen said.

Analytics are useful regardless of labor conditions, he said, in identifying good applicants when tight labor markets make recruiting more challenging as well as more efficiently sorting through choices when a lot of applicants apply for an opening.

The assessments also can be used in combining the different talents and behaviors of employees to build effective teams and better managing and motivating employees based on their characteristics, he added. Moreover, assessments can be used to correlate employee behaviors with business outcomes and even can be used in identifying potential purchasers in succession planning.

The same way owners and managers use various accounting methods to keep track of business assets, they should use work force analytics to keep track of human assets, Madsen said.

For additional information about the Human Shift, contact Craig Madsen at 549-7592 or craig.m@thehumanshift.com.