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It’s your workforce data… You should use it

There’s lots of talk about Big Data—and in the past 6 months, there has been a noticeable increase in the dialogue related to Big Workforce Data. Big Data isn’t defined in the printed version of the Oxford Dictionary that I got when I was a wee-lad growing up, but it is defined in oxforddictionaries.com as,

data sets that are too large and complex to manipulate or interrogate with standard methods or tools”.

Image: /www.greenbookblog.org

In many organizations, HR data is abundant, disjointed across multiple systems, complex due to its effective-day nature, and while Excel is the universal tool of choice for manipulating and interrogation, it frequently doesn’t cut it (time, effort, flexibility).

Let’s face it, HR data can be big, even in many small and medium sized enterprises.

Oxforddictionaries.com also says that,

much IT investment is going towards managing and maintaining big data”. I think they need to update that definition because there now amazing new ways to get Big Workforce Data, without big budgets and big IT projects.

In our business, our motto is “It’s Your Workforce Data. You Should Use It.” We feel very strongly that small and medium sized businesses should be able to more effectively use their workforce data for decision-making about making smarter hiring decisions, retaining key employees, and connecting people-performance to business-performance.

While Google and Xerox have the luxury of being able to invest millions into such capabilities, why shouldn’t companies with 50 or more employees be able to gain fact-based insight into what frequently comes down to their most important asset (and largest OPEX line item)—people.

We work with HR and business executives from small and medium sized Canadian organizations to help them make better use their workforce data. In doing so, we share some resolutions designed to lighten the load, and elevate their role, influence, and impact within the organization.

  1. Shed the weight. Many people in HR are weighed down by people data and the burden of knowing that although there’s loads of it, it’s not being put to optimal use. We all know full well there’s an abundance of untapped insight with that workforce data. Take control of your data with solid understanding of where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re heading.
  2. Work smarter.Typically, when we think of tackling a data issue we think down one of two main paths. 1) We think: hours and hours of heads-down work in spreadsheets, trying to make connections across systems, programs and data points or 2) We think: IT involvement, multiple stakeholders, business cases for new systems or a data warehouse, and almost always a big project requiring lots of time and corporate investment.Change this mindset and your behaviour. It’s not necessary to keep on doing the same old things in the same way.

    You can choose a simpler path with the insight-as-a-service business model—one that takes care of the number crunching and analysis, one that makes meaning of the data and serves up insight—quickly. Imagine being days (not weeks, months or years) away from acting on insight from your workforce data sources—regardless of how ugly or disconnected they are!

    This is the path of cloud-based workforce analytics. We call it Insight-as-a-Service.

  3. Learn something new.Stay inspired with continuous learning. Engage with a workforce analytics and insights partner and you’ll be immersed in ongoing learning about your workforce, your business and the connections between the two.Through this partnership you will see your data in striking, easy to understand, interactive views. You’ll have a fresh and evidence-based view of your people data and clarity around what this means to move the business forward.

    You’ll turn insight to action and drive elevated people performance.

  4. Exercise more.Use analytics and insight to stretch yourself within the organization and with confidence. Make it a springboard to operate at the level of strategy and business outcomes.Resolve to be strategic.

    Exercise your mind in new, exciting and exhilarating ways.

  5. Get out more often.With workforce analytics and insight you have at your disposal the deepest and most profound understanding about your organization’s most valued asset—its people.You have great things to share so get out there and start sharing.

    Connect across the organization and help drive meaningful business outcomes.

  6. Start small… Scale fast.Don’t let the idea of workforce analytics intimidate or overwhelm you. You can start small. All it takes is to upload what you have, it can be core HR data, engagement survey results, or compensation data to start seeing the value, the benefits, the insights and opportunity.Gradually add in other data like performance, recruiting, learning, time and attendance and absenteeism data—and then move towards connecting business data such sales, client service and customer satisfaction scores.

    The most important thing is to just get started!

We are heading into a transformative time for HR—and Big Workforce Data will play a key role in this change. The time is now to take charge of your people data, gain insight and clarity, and act to elevate people and organizational performance.

About the Author

John Pensom is CEO of QuIRC, a Canadian company delivering cloud-based workforce and business analytics through their insight-as-a-service offering called PeopleInsight. He has spent 20 years in the “people” business and gained deep knowledge in how technology, information and analytics drives business and culture change. PeopleInsight connects and unlocks traditionally disparate HR, talent, engagement, business results and external market data to deliver rich insight through analytics in clear, visually appealing and actionable ways. John and his expert team are always happy and available to discuss the “current state of workforce analytics” in the Canadian business environment. He can be reached at john.pensom@quirc.ca

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnpensom
Website: www.quirc.ca/peopleinsight/
Twitter: @QuIRCInc

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PeopleInsight

Workforce Analytics at PeopleInsight
John Pensom is CEO of PeopleInsight with 20 years’ experience in the "people" business and gained deep knowledge in how technology, information and analytics drives business and culture change. PeopleInsight is a Canadian company delivering cloud-based workforce and business analytics; it connects and unlocks traditionally disparate HR, talent, engagement, business results and external market data to deliver rich insight through analytics in clear, visually appealing and actionable ways. Read more
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