What’s on your CEO’s mind? What business challenges keep them up at night?
Their agenda is bound to be crowded with concerns from sales figures, and revenue, to talent and operations.
Even under the broad umbrella of talent and workforce, there is much to consider. Issues such as corporate culture, DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging), wellbeing, and workforce management strategies vie for their attention.
If you could get inside the head of your CEO, you would understand their expectations and motivations and influence their decision-making. You would know what to do to ensure that HR and people analytics align with organizational goals and get automatic executive buy-in.
Want to get on the same page?
Here are five things your CEO wishes you knew about people analytics.
1. Creating a data-driven culture will take time
A company’s culture is built over time.
Once established, it will take some doing to change it. There will be resistance, barriers to dismantle and attitudes to correct. This undertaking may take months or even years as you revamp the people and processes.
What does a data-driven culture look like?
It’s a people-oriented approach that starts at the top, with the C-suite openly embracing collaboration and innovation.
Changed mindsets mean that data isn’t merely seen as reports and figures but a strategic asset and a tool for decision making. Data is widely available and accessible and leaders acting on data insights becomes a normal occurrence.
You can tell people that data will improve the organization, but they should also believe that it will help everyone perform better. Convincing your people to rely on data comes from showing, not telling. An effective change management plan becomes crucial in order to create a high level of comfort in this area.
The organizational structure must also facilitate and support people analytics. Data literacy is a priority and employees must have the tools they need to harness and optimize the data.
It should be clear by now that the task of creating a data-driven culture, while it doesn’t have to be Herculean, is formidable.
2. Building people analytics capability is the first step in the journey.
One thing’s for sure; people analytics is not a one-and-done process.
A dashboard of aesthetically pleasing visualizations is not the finish line. It’s an iterative practice where one analysis generates another and another reveals new areas for analysis, new insights, and ultimately new value.
Not only that, but it might form part of a more comprehensive, big-picture approach known as Organizational Planning and Analysis.
OP&A is about using data-driven strategic planning to prepare the organization for the future by bringing HR and Finance together to construct a cohesive plan for the workforce.
Therefore, people analytics becomes but a step on the path to business optimization.
3. Poor collaboration between HR and Finance stifles progress.
The bottom line is one of the top items on the CEO’s agenda when it comes down to it. They would not make a business decision without carefully considering the finance data.
People analytics must justify the investment by contributing to profitability or reducing workforce costs. This is where the HR and Finance functions intersect and need to collaborate. HR must integrate financial and people data to analyze the workforce contribution to business outcomes.
A systemic, process-driven approach bolstered by a culture that encourages and reinforces collaboration will help to move the organization forward.
4. Trends matter more than static data.
A report that tells you how many people from each department left the company last year is of limited value.
Throw in information on how much of the total workforce this represents and the length of each person’s tenure, and it becomes marginally more interesting.
If, however, we monitor turnover over two years, trends and triggers will emerge that tell a story that leads to actionable insights.
Observation and measurement of changes over time establish context.
5. If insights aren’t actionable, there is no point in measuring them.
With all the cool features and possibilities in people analytics, it’s easy to fall into the practice of data gathering and analysis just because of curiosity.
Collected data can only be meaningful and add value when analyzed. This analysis leads to the “Aha moment” when we draw conclusions. But it does not end there. You should understand the “why”.
However, true insights should not merely answer a question. They should provoke action. While most insights are helpful, not all of them are actionable. Your findings might lead you to a place where the apparent remedy is impractical or simply not feasible.
An actionable insight must be relevant and have value.
Your boss wants you to know that delving into people analytics is part of a journey that will take some time.
Everyone needs to get on board, and collaboration between HR and Finance is vital.
Observing data trends over time trumps information about the status quo, and if it isn’t actionable, don’t measure it.