Data is all-powerful. Data is all-encompassing. Data is all… too intimidating to use?
This seems to be the case at many organizations, including those deploying people analytics solutions to address recruitment, onboarding, training and other HR and talent management needs. More than three quarters of companies are investing or are planning to invest in big data initiatives, according to Gartner. However, 72 percent of organizations are gathering data that they never use, according to survey research from Pure Storage. Why? Because they feel that data processing is too time consuming (as cited by 48% of survey respondents); they lack the internal skills to do so (46%); and/or they don’t have the proper tools to sufficiently process data (30%).
All of which creates the impression that you can’t derive value out of talent management or people analytics because the data is too big or too complex to tackle – or both. Thus, too much of it sits somewhere in your network, untapped of its great potential.
So how do you reverse this scenario – to not only “tame” people analytics and Big Data but fully optimize it as a strategic resource?
Did you ever attend an industry seminar of sorts in which a really smart person was doing the presentation? And you realized the presenter had plenty of “good stuff” to offer – yet you learned nothing because he or she couldn’t convey the key thoughts in a clear, accessible way? Let’s face it: Given as little as you take away from these sessions, the presenters could just as well be speaking in a foreign language.
Well, HR-based analytics solutions can be a lot like this. So you should invest in products designed with simple, utilitarian dashboard displays that any staffer – including the least “techie” of employees – can immediately grasp and start using. Streamlining the data goes a long way here. When you pick up a magazine off the rack, after all, you usually go right to the sections and articles that are most relevant to you and your interests or informational needs. In the same manner, users should be able to manipulate analytics tools so that only the information that is important to them and/or their role is depicted.
At this stage, your solution’s presentation has eliminated the “data intimidation” factor. Even relatively technophobic staffers feel comfortable taking a “deep dive” to obtain previously unavailable insights – and, every day, their enthusiasm for analytics grows. What’s more, the enthusiasm is contagious, and your entire organization is constantly making new discoveries via analytics. To take full advantage of the “building buzz,” your tools must make it easy for users to share and collaborate. When a person gains knowledge that can enhance talent management policies and practices, it’s a good thing. But when a person gains such knowledge and shares it enterprise-wide, it’s a better thing. And when employees throughout your organization – no matter where they work in the world – collaborate upon the knowledge and expand its value through comments and recommendations, the potential for tangible impact is limitless.
By now, you’ve completed the first two stages of data empowerment. As part of their daily routine, your talent management team members are extracting new information which greatly supports them in their accomplishment of HR objectives, with maximum efficiency and cost-affordability. They’re sharing and collaborating upon the information to further extend its capacity to make a difference. This is when data ascends from being “a huge collection of numbers” to something more transcendent. Indeed, it has emerged as a “storyteller,” revealing to users new thematic threads about the most promising regions/colleges for recruitment; the likeliest department areas for retirements (i.e. those requiring proactive succession-planning); and the best programs for onboarding, training, etc. For the first time, users gain total visibility of “storylines” within the past and present to make insightful, actionable decisions about the future. For them, data once resembled an indecipherable code. But the code has been “broken,” and they now see pattern after pattern that significantly augments your organization’s ability to recruit and manage talent.
Data can do so many things, but not if we continue to conclude that only a scientist can make sense of it. When your talent management solutions demystify effective people analytics for everybody – even staffers who consider themselves tech-challenged – through the three described stages, you’ll truly empower all of the information you own. And you’ll empower your HR team members as a result.