Moneyball -the movie based on Michael Lewis’ bestselling book spawned countless articles over the past year comparing the Moneyball concept to HR and the approach to hiring by leveraging the “big data” concept. (Yes that is my obligatory buzzword of the year usage!) While the comparison is definitely valid, there are even more concepts from Moneyball that apply to Workforce analytics, beyond just recruiting.
Payroll – That was Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane’s primary challenge from the outset, a limited labor budget, right? He was faced with the challenge of gaining more productivity out of the workforce without increasing his labor cost.
Labor productivity – A core component of Beane’s strategy was to maximize the productivity and efficiency of his workforce. The concept of on-base percentage vs batting average, runs batted in and stolen bases may have changed baseball, but the idea is applicable with any workforce when productivity metrics are collected. Once the analysis is done, and the preferred personnel with the desired skill sets are identified, schedule optimization is critical (put in the right place at the right time). This challenge can be seen in the film, when Oakland’s manager continually ignores Bean’s request to play a certain player at a particular position (Scott Hatteberg at first base).
The Street.com – “You can measure every single event and you can measure the value of that event, which is not dissimilar to every single business,” he said. “Especially now — you can get information at your fingertips as it happens.” Billy Beane, General Manager, Oakland A’s
Visibility and accountability – this is a critical component to workforce management, and is illustrated well in the movie. Beane was innovative. He was visionary. He had a strategy to achieve their organization’s goals which was not being implemented by management. He wanted certain players in the game, at specific positions to execute his strategy. While the outcome of his plan and vision was visible in wins, a think about a retail company with hundreds of stores, or a manufacturing company with dozens of plants. The ability to measure performance and compare results based on implementing certain programs provides the visibility needed to hold management accountable and make the changes necessary to achieve organizational goals.
Moneyball inspired HR leaders to embrace analytics for recruiting and create new metrics for performance management. However, the impact on business operations and the insight into more mature workforce management opportunities seems to be inspiring organizations to evolve their processes and technology strategies with workforce analytics.