My top 5 tips to getting the best out of your analytics
12th April 2019
Nick Shaw, MD at 10x Psychology
It’s always good to put our heads above the parapet from time-to-time, away from the busyness that is life on the ground as an ambitious young company. That is the opportunity that the Unleash 2019 Spring event gave me and my team last month, where we spent two days with HR leaders as well as with fellow tech start-ups and more established HR tech vendors.
And, as always with these things, it got me thinking.
No one could argue that the HR tech arena is a dynamic place to be right now. The Unleash event was replete with vendors, newly formed through to the larger, well-known names in the industry, all dedicated to helping organisations get the best out of their people.
With all these choices available to them, HR leaders should feel confident they are better able to deliver on their people strategies. However, I feel there may still be challenges yet to be addressed with two of the biggest tech game changers in our field at this time — AI and Analytics.
1. I sense a frustration with vendors talking broadly about AI whilst being less able to pinpoint specific applications the technology brings. More specificity is needed about the data analytic techniques being employed and, more to the point, clarity on the business issues that the AI is solving. We try to be very mindful of this at 10x. For example, we demonstrate how our use of machine learning helps recommend learning content depending on what our data shows will make the biggest difference in terms of performance in role.
2. Related to this is how data is visualised, often without really addressing the ‘why’ or providing actionable data. There are many companies offering employee engagement surveys and then visualising the data. However, they all seem to be competing on the model and ignoring the ‘why’ factor. As Josh Bersin mentioned in his Start-Up Zone session at Unleash, there are only so many times companies can survey their people and so vendors ‘need to evolve from systems of engagement to systems of productivity’.
As a first step we need to offer insight and meaningful information instead of simply visualising the data. At 10x we have addressed this by identifying what information the business needs up front to make the best decisions about their people. We also include other areas of strategic value, such as wellbeing. This approach not only furnishes leaders with the most predictive performance information on people in role, thereby helping them better manage their talent, but ensures they have access to this in real-time.
There have been a lot of other learnings along the way for us. Here I’d like to share my top 5 analytics tips that I feel help demonstrate the true value of data solutions and help support HR leaders to get the best out of their people strategies:
- Fully understand the purpose of the data analysis being provided and, equally important, the questions that need to be answered.
- Be clear on how that data will be used in practice to drive better people decision making. Determine the value being provided, for example increased productivity, tangible and improved retention, and note that the speed to realising that value is key — and needs to be established up front.
- Keep an open mind to partnerships (and the larger more established vendors need to take the lead and innovate here). The HR tech space is a busy place right now and solutions to problems we’ve not identified are surfacing every day. No one has the whole puzzle figured out — yet.
- Minimise the jargon, which risks alienating ourselves from those very clients we want to help. Keep it simple and language accessible.
- And, if you are the customer, don’t be afraid to challenge and expect value from every investment you make. Technology now means you no longer need do the hard work mining all the new data you have. You just need to know what you want and find the right blend of partners to work with you to deliver on this.