Should A Computer Be Your HR Director?
If I was an HR Director, which for most people is a very scary thought, I would be slow to hire and quick to fire. Slow to hire because obviously a good employee is the building block of your business; quick to fire because it’s often painfully obvious when someone is not a good fit. It is best for both that employee and the investment of the company to cut the cord as quickly as possible. But what if a computer system could avoid this issue completely by using an algorithm to decide which people are best suited for a given position? That’s exactly what Xerox Corp. is doing.
In a great article this morning, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Xerox is turning over decisions over who to hire for its 48,700 call center jobs to a software program, which uses information developed from the reams of data now available on employees to develop a model of the attributes that make a person best suited for the job. For instance, supervisors used to think that the call center wasn’t a good place for creative people, but the software says to look for creative people and not inquisitive people. Applicants for positions answer questions generated by a computer program to determine the best potential hires. The system is already raising eyebrows at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which is reviewing similar software to make sure that it doesn’t have the impact of discriminating against minorities.
As more and more applications are developed for “big data,” managers of businesses of all sizes will be confronted by decisions that make them choose between their gut and what the statistics say. As pointed out recently in the Harvard Business Review, the successful 21st Century manager is the person who best manages the balance between statistics and instincts to make the best decisions.
Tim Pawlenty to be Named Head of the Financial Services Roundtable
Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota Governor, failed Republican candidate for President and conventional wisdom choice for Mitt Romney’s running mate is reportedly about to join the ranks of ex-Governor’s lobbying for the financial services industry. Pawlenty is going to head the Financial Services Roundtable, the powerful organization that seeks to coordinate the financial industry’s lobbying effort in Washington. Pawlenty used to tell people that he was a proud credit union member, so perhaps he will use his new-found position to tone down some of the vitriol another ex-Governor, Frank Keating, is spewing on behalf of the Bankers’ Association. Somehow, I doubt it.