How Do I Get Started with People Data Analytics?

This week’s post is brought to you by David Spring, Optis’ Business Development Analyst.

What people data analytics are you providing to your internal stakeholders?

  • Going 45 days without a driver accident has saved our company roughly $5,000,000 year-over-year.
  • Decreasing, from 15% to 10%, the number of family-related FMLA claims progressing to short-term disability and workers’ compensation paid benefits has dropped cost in those company benefits by 8%.

Maybe these analytics don’t seem meaningful to you, and that’s likely because they might not address current HR problems or strategies at your organization. While they are meaningful to some organizations, you may have other challenges for which people data analytics would be valuable. Whether you’re an HRIS manager trying to reduce turnover or a risk manager working to identify not only the top injuries plaguing your organization but the top medical conditions, you will benefit from people data analytics. The opportunity for leadership and foresight in your company has never been riper. (The following thoughts stem in part from having attended a wonderful 2014 IHRIM Conference (#ihrim2014) in Anaheim, CA, earlier this week.)

Business Strategy The best place to start is to work from existing corporate business strategies. The genesis of successful people data analytics begins with identifying and solving HR challenges specific to your organization. You don’t really want to just use ‘big data’ so that you can appease a superior or attempt to be trendy. Tackle real problems with people data analytics demonstrating positive value. As the keynote speaker at IHRM 2014 (#ihrim2014), Jason Averbook (@jasonaverbook) indicated that strategic HR must be thinking about what’s next. This concept of ‘Nexting’ is partly based on the principle that not all HR departments should be trying to do the ‘next’ same thing. Why? Not all organizations experience the exact same business problems simultaneously and congruently.

Whether it’s unacceptable turnover rates for high performers/regrettables (#ihrim 2014, @SteveSecora) or challenges with the time to productivity for new hires (#ihrim2014, Joanne Bintliff-Ritchie), HR challenges vary by many different characteristics. Whether a symptom of your indicative data such as location or an aspect of your particular industry, such as healthcare, specific variables are associated with these HR challenges. You need to identify the situation individual to your organization.

Initial Data Question Start simple and identify the most important problem area or initial data question that can be answered using your people data analytics. Don’t attempt to solve the needs of all internal stakeholders looking for analytics from your people data resource. This type of approach will not only be lengthy but it may never lift off the ground. An iterative approach is best.

  • Pick 3-5 measures which seem most associated with your business strategy.

If you are successfully able to answer one question for one stakeholder using people data analytics, they will be very satisfied, and not only will they want more analytics; other internal stakeholders will come knocking on the door.

Your success, in these early stages, will be contingent on properly setting expectations related to how the process of obtaining, utilizing and refreshing people data analytics is structured. (#ihrim 2014, Melissa Ackerman) Otherwise, you face the risk of potentially souring the appetite for these analytics because the process of creating, measuring and sharing isn’t yet mature.

Wondering where to begin? Think about what’s is important to the C-suite; one way or another it usually has something to do with the bottom line. Numerous cost saving analytics could be identified, but again, link back to corporate strategies. Many organizations have challenges related to onboarding, compensation, benefit utilization or issues with unexpected and/or unexcused absences.

These are just some initial thoughts to get you started and are just a small sampling of the wonderful sessions I attended at the IHRIM 2014 conference. Make the decision today to improve your ability to use people data analytics for better-guided business decisions and to make significant contributions to your organization.