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Getting Started With Evidence-Based HR

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Big data, evidence-based, predictive analytics, today these terms are all over the place. Is this just another fad or an irreversible trend? An increasing group of HR leaders relies on science, critical thinking and data analyses to make decisions.

Evidence-based HR, however, is still perceived by many as too time-consuming, narrow or impractical. Meanwhile, evidence-based practice is becoming mainstream in many other disciplines (like medicine). This is the momentum for pioneering HR leaders to seize the opportunity and make a difference with evidence. As part of an inclusive approach, valuing different perspectives.

We will enter into the dialogue about the why, the what, and most of all the how of evidence-based HR. How to get started and how to blend it with softer, less tangible HR practices? A pragmatic introduction, with realistic ambitions and openness towards other approaches.

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Getting Started With Evidence-Based HR

  1. 1. Getting started with Evidence-Based Management Dublin, April 28th, 2016
  2. 2. Evidence-Based HR: is it ‘a thing’?
  3. 3. 25 min EBMgt: What is it and why you you need it? 20 min A practical example Agenda
  4. 4. Evidence based management: What is it?
  5. 5. Evidence-based management Central Premise: Decisions should be based on the ‘best available evidence‘.
  6. 6. Evidence? information, facts or data supporting (or contradicting) a claim, assumption or hypothesis
  7. 7. Evidence? outcome of scientific research, organizational facts & figures, benchmarking, best practices, personal experience
  8. 8. All managers and leaders base their decisions on ‘evidence’
  9. 9. But…many managers pay little or no attention to the quality of the evidence they base their decisions on and use too few sources of evidence
  10. 10. Trust me, 20 years of management experience
  11. 11. Sources of evidence problem solution Practitioners professional expertise Organization internal data Stakeholders values and concerns Scientific literature empirical studies Ask Acquire Appraise Aggregate Apply Assess
  12. 12. Evidence based practice: Where does it come from?
  13. 13. McMaster University Medical School, Canada Medicine: Founding fathers David Sackett Gordon Guyatt
  14. 14. How it all started
  15. 15. 1. Ask: translate a practical issue into an answerable question 2. Acquire: systematically search for and retrieve the evidence 3. Appraise: critically judge the trustworthiness of the evidence 4. Apply: incorporate the evidence into the decision-making process 5. Assess: evaluate the outcome of the decision taken 5 steps of EBmed
  16. 16. Evidence-Based Practice 1991 Medicine 1998 Education 2000 Social care, public policy Nursing, Criminal justice, Policing, Architecture, Conservation 2010 Management
  17. 17. Evidence-Based Practice
  18. 18. Evidence-Based Practice
  19. 19. Evidence-based … whatever = the use of evidence from multiple sources to increase the likelihood of a favourable outcome Focus on the decision making process Think in terms of probability
  20. 20. In general: managers don’t like EBMgt
  21. 21.  Undermines formal authority  They feel it constrains freedom to make managerial decisions  Speed valued and rewarded more than accuracy  Feel they cannot use their own experience and judgment (not true)  Managers not necessarily rewarded for doing what works (organizations rarely evaluate)  THEY LOVE FADS & QUICK FIXES Why don’t managers like EBMgt?
  22. 22. 32
  23. 23. Evidence-Based Decision-Making Why do we need it?
  24. 24. Advice: lie babies down to sleep on their belly (unanimous support through to the 1990s) Example: medicine
  25. 25. Nr of cot deaths (Holland)
  26. 26. Collateralized Debt Obligations > AAA p = 0.12 (about 1 chance in 850) default in 5 years Example: finance
  27. 27. Forecasted Actual Forecasted and actual 5-year default rates for AAA-rated CDO tranches 0.12% 28%
  28. 28. Scared straight Example: policy / prevention
  29. 29. Example: HR management
  30. 30. 1. Incompetent people benefit more from feedback than highly competent people. 2. Task conflict improves work group performance while relational conflict harms it. 3. Encouraging employees to participate in decision making is more effective for improving organizational performance than setting performance goals. Likely or unlikely?
  31. 31. How evidence-based are HR managers?  959 (US) + 626 (Dutch) HR professionals  35 statements, based on an extensive body of evidence  true / false / uncertain HR Professionals' beliefs about effective human resource practices: correspondence between research and practice, (Rynes et al, 2002, Sanders et al 2008)
  32. 32. Outcome: not better than random chance
  33. 33. Relying on only 1 source: bad idea! problem solution Practitioners professional expertise Organization internal data Stakeholders values and concerns Scientific literature empirical studies Ask Acquire Appraise Aggregate Apply Assess
  34. 34. Discuss with your neighbor (1 min) Over a 5 year period, why is an orthopedic surgeon's experience, as a rule, more trustworthy than an change manager’s experience? 0
  35. 35. Developing expertise 1. A sufficiently regular, predictable environment 2. Numerous opportunities to practice 3. Receive accurate (objective) feedback The management domain is not highly favorable to expertise!
  36. 36. Learning from feedback is hard!
  37. 37. Bounded rationality
  38. 38. How your brain works System 1  Fast  Intuitive, associative  heuristics & biases  emotional System 2  Lazy  Slow  Deliberate  Rational
  39. 39. System 1: short cuts
  40. 40. System 1 or system 2? 10 seconds
  41. 41. System 1 or system 2?  A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total.  The bat costs $1 more than the ball  How much does the ball cost? 0
  42. 42. System 1: necessary to survive 95%
  43. 43.  Pattern recognition  Overconfidence bias  Halo effect  False consensus effect  Group think  Self serving attribution bias  Sunk cost fallacy  Cognitive dissonance reduction System 1: prone to cognitive errors  Confirmation bias  Authority bias  Small numbers fallacy  In-group bias  Recall bias  Anchoring bias  Availability bias
  44. 44.  Pattern recognition  Overconfidence bias  Halo effect  False consensus effect  Group think  Self serving attribution bias  Sunk cost fallacy  Cognitive dissonance reduction System 1: prone to cognitive errors  Confirmation bias  Authority bias  Small numbers fallacy  In-group bias  Recall bias  Anchoring bias  Availability bias
  45. 45. “I’ve been studying judgment for 45 years, and I’m no better than when I started. I make extreme predictions. I’m over- confident. I fall for every one of the biases.”
  46. 46. Practitioners professional expertise Organization internal data Stakeholders values and concerns Scientific literature empirical studies Ask Acquire Appraise Aggregate Apply Assess Four sources of evidence (not only 1)
  47. 47. The performance of knowledge workers A Practical Example
  48. 48.  550 beds  3300 employees  210 medical specialists  225,000 admissions  Top Clinical & Teaching hospital Organization
  49. 49. 2015: 7.2 2016: 6.3
  50. 50. How can we increase job satisfaction and employee engagement? Dear HR department,
  51. 51. Evidence-based approach, step 1: ASK problem solution Practitioners professional expertise Organization internal data Stakeholders values and concerns Scientific literature empirical studies Ask Acquire Appraise Aggregate Apply Assess
  52. 52.  What is the problem?  Why is this a problem: what are its organizational consequences?  How big: what is its impact on the organization when nothing is done?  Why does this problem exist, what is the assumed major cause?  What is the assumed causal mechanism? How does the cause lead to the problem and its consequences? Step 1: What is the problem?
  53. 53. problem & underlying cause hidden assumptions causal mechanism Some terminology
  54. 54. A happy & engaged employee is a productive employee Fundamental assumption
  55. 55.  What is the evidence for this assumption?  Where multiple sources consulted?  How trustworthy is the evidence? Step 2: What is the evidence?
  56. 56. Let’s have a look Professional experience and judgment Organizational data, facts and figures Stakeholders’ values and concerns Scientific research outcomes Ask Acquire Appraise Apply Assess problem solution
  57. 57. GREAT! NOW WHAT? Outcome
  58. 58. Evidence-based managers, please
  59. 59. Evidence-based managers, please
  60. 60. Step 1: ASK Translate a practical issue into an answerable question
  61. 61. Population? Knowledge workers! Whether nurses, lawyers, engineers, managers, or staff members, nowadays most workers in organizations are highly dependent on information and communication technology and are involved in work that involves a high level of cognitive activity.
  62. 62. Question “Which of the factors that are related to the performance of knowledge workers are most widely studied and what is known of their effect?”
  63. 63. Step 2: ACQUIRE Search for the best available scientific evidence
  64. 64.  ABI, BSP, PsycINFO  Scholarly journals, peer reviewed  1980 – 2013  English  performance, productivity, knowledge work* ACQUIRE
  65. 65. step 3: APPRAISE & AGGREGATE
  66. 66. Effect size?
  67. 67. Largest effect 1. Social cohesion .5 / .7 2. Perceived supervisory support .5 3. Information sharing / TM .5 4. Vision / goal clarity .5 5. Trust .3 / .6
  68. 68. step 3b: CROSS VALIDATE
  69. 69. Step 4: APPLY
  70. 70. Three examples social cohesion supervisory support information sharing
  71. 71. Social cohesion
  72. 72. Social cohesion … a shared liking or team attraction that includes bonds of friendship, caring, closeness, and enjoyment of each other’s company.
  73. 73. Social cohesion
  74. 74. Measuring social cohesion
  75. 75. Perceived supervisory support
  76. 76. …how employees feel the supervisor helps them in times of need, praises them for a job well done or recognizes them for extra effort. Perceived supervisory support
  77. 77. Perceived supervisory support
  78. 78. Measuring perc. sup. support
  79. 79. Information sharing
  80. 80. Information sharing? …refers to how teams pool and access their knowledge and expertise – which positively affects decision making and team processes. This has led to the idea of a team ‘Transactive Memory System’ (TMS), which can be thought of as a collective memory in a collective mind - enabling a team to think and act together
  81. 81. Information sharing
  82. 82. Measuring information sharing
  83. 83. Outcome The departments with the lowest performance scored under average on most factors
  84. 84. Reactions Who knew?
  85. 85. Evidence-based … whatever = the use of evidence from multiple sources to increase the likelihood of a favourable outcome Focus on the decision making process Think in terms of probability
  86. 86. Multiple sources of evidence problem solution Practitioners professional expertise Organization internal data Stakeholders values and concerns Scientific literature empirical studies Ask Acquire Appraise Aggregate Apply Assess
  87. 87. Postgraduate Course
  88. 88. Postgraduate Course
  89. 89. > 80 Fellows
  90. 90. CEBMa: what we do  Promote (seminars, papers, blogs, tweets)  Educate (universities & business schools)  Train & coach (companies > projects)  Support / REAs (companies)  Support / 2nd opinion (BS detector)

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