At the recent CIPD annual conference I presented a session on data led organisational performance. In creating this presentation it made me think hard about the steps we go through to get the most out of clients’ data. What struck me, was that although there is much progress in the HR analytics space, companies will always face data quality issues. Organisations merge, systems shift, processes change, and by our nature we are not as neat and tidy as we might wish! Data ends up in the wrong places, often duplicated, incorrect, or missing altogether.
So, how do you make having good quality data and insights an easy process? Below are 7 steps to get the most out of your people data, and my presentation from CIPD Annual Conference (05/11./14).
1. Merge data from multiple source
Because data will always be in different places you need a way of bringing them altogether. As I laid out in my blog a breakthrough for HR analytics, various work and types of interventions require a different approach. What function is the data going to serve? A one off org design and ongoing kpi tracking require different approaches.
2. Clean data live
In a recent piece of Gartner research, it was indicated the future is one where you can clean data live and visually. Like Tom Cruise in Minority Report, this means the ability to drag and drop data around, changing data live at source through visual manipulation – no need to send corrections back to the source system for reloading. If you have ever used OrgVue you will know just how satisfying and exciting this is!
3. Use tips & tricks to close data gaps
Just the ability to clean data live is not enough in itself. Data is sociable, and owned by different people across the organisation. It is a real challenge to get people to submit data and get them to take time to ensure it is correct. Gamify the process. Could you give data scores to each manager? Could you create a dashboard of each department’s data completeness?
4. Visualise data easily and beautifully
At OrgVue we talk about the beauty of data and the power of visualisation a lot. When it comes to data quality, visualising your data makes it so much easier to focus. It is not just about where the gaps are but also, what data is up to date and complete. Are there some things which people find important to track, and does that mean the other data does not need to be tracked, and if it does, how can you impress its importance on its owners?
5. Intervene early and agile
It’s all very well visualising and analysing data, but it means nothing if there are no outputs. So, use the data and analytics to make the business case for early and agile intervention. Gain trust by identifying and delivering easy wins. E.g. Help a change programme and ensure restructuring mistakes are avoided. Show the value you can add so that people start to take notice and act off your insight and guidance.
6. Understand the organisation as a system
In Rupert Morrison’s blog, an organisation is a system, he outlines the interconnected nature of the organisation. Here, I want to highlight the fact that getting the most out of your data means going beyond just HR analytics. It means doing workforce analytics. Merging data together from across the business is where the real value comes in. What information and links can you find between HR information and sales or customer data that no-one else has been able to see before? How can you make yourself an invaluable partner of the business?
7. Sustain impact by tracking achievements
There are so many times when I hear about change in an organisation and yet no-one is able to quantify the effect of that change. No change is complete at the beginning of its implementation. The hard graft comes in delivery. For any project, initiative, or transformation you have to track it for it to be worthwhile. For example, recruiters Cut-e run validation studies to track the impact of their candidates at client organisations; Housing providers for Home Group connect HR metrics to customer satisfaction and business outcomes. The result is that you can see when things are going awry and even more importantly you can celebrate success when results are delivered.
These 7 steps are not necessarily linear, and they are an ongoing cycle as you battle against the constant changes which are so inevitable in organisations. However, if you can start to operationalise them, you can really start to get the value out of your people data.
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