People Analytics can easily sound like rocket science.
With all the talk of machine learning and artificial intelligence, advanced technology can sometimes be intimidating to non-IT folks.
The magnitude of the investment, the pressure to see ROI, the cultural and systemic changes required to make it successful might seem overwhelming, even daunting. But it’s easier than you think.
You’d be surprised. Very often, what we see as barriers to progress are, in fact, gateways. All you need to do is find the key that allows you to move through to the next level. A systematic approach will help you manage the many moving parts.
Here are four reasons it’s easier to achieve success than you think.
1. Change doesn’t have to be complicated
Managing change can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.
Changing how people think, make decisions, and operate is challenging and bound to be met with some resistance. However, more often than not, the resistance isn’t overt or intentional but takes the form of ambivalence. While this is a normal human response, it is an insidious enemy to growth.
Employees may start with the best intentions, but there is little to no follow-through. You realize you are getting lip service, but you are frustrated when it comes down to receiving support. For example, you might see lengthy delays in gaining system access or getting someone to make time to consult with you on reports or data input because it is not on their list of priorities.
You can avoid this by proactively building awareness of the benefits of people analytics and data-driven culture while openly addressing the assumed difficulties. This way, you can get everyone to pitch in.
What to do:
- Create a cross-functional support team that meets regularly to share input and gain support from different business groups.
- Build relationships with the data management team. They need to be your friends.
- Get a member of the C-suite to be your project sponsor. With a head honcho in your corner, people will sit up and notice that the leadership is watching and invested in the outcome.
- Communicate as much as possible to remind and reinforce its importance and benefits and provide updates on project status and gains—be your own cheerleader.
These measures will help make the change management process smoother.
2. Your data doesn’t have to be perfect to start
There’s no discounting the importance of data quality to the accuracy and integrity of people analytics.
While data cleaning is necessary, it can seem tedious and lengthy. Don’t let the enormity of the task deter you. Much of the data we deal with daily is imperfect. No single data source can provide everything we need at a level of accuracy that we can trust completely, and the more data sources, the more questionable its validity. Nobody has perfect data, and that’s why we have data cleaning tools.
Accept that data cleaning and improving data quality is an ongoing process and, in the meantime, make the best of the imperfect data you have. Some valid data sets are all you need.
One way to see beyond the challenges of poor data is to focus on comparisons and trends instead of absolute numbers. While a metric may not be perfectly quantifiable because the information isn’t 100% reliable, you can still glean insights by moving to a more pattern-based measurement process instead of getting bogged down in the numbers. You can achieve quicker analysis, albeit marginally less accurate, allowing you to focus on strategy and action.
3. Knowing what to measure is not complicated
The sheer volume of data can be overwhelming.
Your plan of attack might be to go for the easy opportunities, those easy metrics, whether they are of value or not to the business. These might be commonly used metrics and analyses you’ve heard of or read about.
Or you might choose to measure what your competitors are measuring.
Neither of these options is advisable.
The list of options can quickly get out of hand and may not be relevant to the business nor answer the burning questions that keep leaders up at night.
If you focus on one problem to solve, you will clarify what needs to be analyzed to produce the desired results.
Start with a problem or a hypothesis that you need to confirm or reject. You must have a strategy to create focus and ensure efficient and worthwhile use of resources.
4. SaaS to the rescue.
The cloud-based Software-as-a-Service model is rapidly becoming the preferred option for people analytics software.
It is an easy, hassle-free alternative that doesn’t require software installation or configuration, allowing for more efficiency all around with the following benefits:
- It offers accessibility to everyone who needs it from everywhere on multiple devices as long as there is internet access.
- The subscription includes automatic software updates.
- It's affordable, with maintenance and servicing included in the subscription.
- It's user-friendly, with a well-designed interface and a short learning curve.
- It's scalable. You can select your subscription package based on your business needs and easily upgrade your plan as the team grows.
With this guidance and the help of a competent team and software provider, you can easily succeed with people analytics and produce positive business outcomes.
Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.