Fairy Tales

This article about female roles in Hollywood really intrigued me. It's an issue I see that doesn't get much coverage. I'm not talking about the dearth of female directors, etc. but how our work/our jobs/our careers can reflect our unfinished business from childhood - much like intimate relationships can. I didn't have a male role model/father figure growing up and I'm learning more and more how that experience shaped me. Sneak peek: I have a lot of qualities that are man-like. To wit: a take charge attitude, competitiveness, and a fair amount of emotional suppression.  Thankfully not my hands! They are pretty lady-like.

Big Data and Recruiting

Recruiting is using big data to uncover potential talent. But right now it's unclear if all the data currently aggregated can predict whether a candidate will be a cultural fit or work out in the long run.

Whether these algorithms work in the long run (where it's defined as the employee remaining employed by the employer for X years), only time will tell and it should be fairly simple to collect the retention data on employees.

When it comes to cultural fit understanding a candidate's personality is important. I suspect many of these algorithms may not be factoring in data around personality and soft skills. The ethical/moral issues aside, it's possible that sentiment analysis on the prospect's social media communication might give an employer a sense over time of a candidate's emotional stability. Or even an analysis of pronoun usage - studies have shown pronoun usage can highlight depression. But is it fair to do this?

Still, if you break down soft skills to key components like effective communication, leadership, conflict style, etc., I have to imagine there are ways to determine it with data. We reveal so much about ourselves - the independent variables are out there.

The Quantified Employee

What's next in the data world? The Quantified Employee. The article talks about quantification around influence ala Klout. But that's not how I see it. I think we will start to see more skill based quantification like ongoing education and professional development credit or certification. Peer ranking is inherently problematic in an organization. I believe it's useful as an input, but really has to be a part of other metrics.

I predict we'll see more software that tracks an employee's progress within an organization based on skill building, goal setting and achievement, and eventually other HR metrics, like vacation days taken and of course, peer reviews.

The first step will be data gathering and the enterprise will face the tough data privacy issues that we're only beginning to talk about in the public arena - like should results from a background check be a part of your "data" HR file. The goal, of course, will be to optimize hiring and retention, but the data required to answer important organizational questions may reach beyond the work place.

What do you think?

The Female Olympics

By Carina Chocano, NYTimes Magazine: "One way to think about the 'Real Housewives' shows is as a kind of perverse, televised postfeminist-feminine-status Olympics. Here’s how it works: A group of highly competitive, thoroughly confused women are pitted against one another in five events: wealth, youth, beauty/body, husband and glamour career. In order to participate, the housewives must qualify in at least three of these categories. They need not have all of them in order to win, but it helps. Some categories trump others. For instance, wealth trumps beauty, and husband trumps glamour job. Kids-plus-husband trumps job, too — especially if the process of acquiring them leads to a show of one’s own. Every show features at least one aggressive instigator whose job it is to ratchet up the jealousy and paranoia and keep the interpersonal conflicts coming. All you really have to do to be a real housewife is take pride in your privilege, your leisure, your profligacy and your willingness to amplify the melodrama at every possible opportunity. You can’t win unless somebody else loses. "