There’s a lot of buzz around the topic of Data Analytics, but many organizations are struggling to put it into practice.
When it comes down to it, Data Analytics is all about transforming data into actionable insights. It’s one thing to collect data, but the real value comes in combining and linking data from different sources to make better business decisions.
“Most companies have a wealth of data, but they’re not investing in resources to show what the data is telling them in a comprehensive or actionable way,” said Kelly Weight, co-founder of finance, accounting, project management and HR consulting firm Brillect. “Setting up systems to collect, report and analyze key data equips business leaders with the tools to make better, more informed decisions.”
Harnessing the Power of Data
While Data Analytics is a hot topic in many industries ranging from finance to sales to HR, there are some best practices that can be applied universally to begin rolling out your Data Analytics capabilities.
Brillect recently teamed up with People Analytics practitioner Luna Kimal to share tips for starting your Data Analytics journey.
#1: Begin with an Anecdote or Hypothesis that You Want to Validate. What business challenge can you leverage as a case study to demonstrate the power of Data Analytics? This is crucial to move from reporting “what happened” to “how and why it happened.”
Maybe you’re seeing unusually high turnover and management is already jumping to conclusions on causation based on anecdotal information. Start by identifying and combining key metrics to help uncover the story behind the numbers.
“Don’t go in looking for data points to support your position,” said Luna. “The data you’re looking at might be a false flag or a valid red flag. Begin with the ‘what’ and ‘why’ to challenge assumptions and open minds to potential solutions.”
Luna shared a scenario of a company that was trying to understand why female leaders were leaving the company in large numbers. In this scenario, exit surveys indicated compensation was the driving force. However, Luna would recommend challenging assumptions and collecting and analyzing additional key metrics. According to her, this type of segmented analysis is highly likely to reveal any underlying reasons that might have not surfaced before.
#2: Start with the Basics. Start by measuring a few core metrics before expanding to additional data sets. In the turnover scenario above, the best set of data to start with would be performance metrics, employee surveys and DEI metrics to help paint the picture.
“Start small and crawl before you run,” said Luna. “Select a deliberately narrow market, maybe three to five metrics, rather than trying to build out a comprehensive, wide-ranging data set.”
#3: Visualize the Data. Incorporate visuals to help you tell the story behind the numbers. This might include trendlines to show the net growth in data points such as hires versus terms or diversity representation. Charts, graphs and infographics can also be effective tools to help people better understand the data beyond just the raw numbers.
“Adding a visual component can help people more quickly draw conclusions and take action based on the data being reported,” said Luna. “Visualization helps you take the audience from simply reporting to understanding the full story.”
Luna has often used Tableau to cross-analyze data sets and visualize them easily.
#4: Build Analytical Capability. Find data champions within your department who are interested in learning how to measure and leverage data to make better decisions.
“Educating your team on how Data Analytics can better equip them to do their jobs and meet the organization’s goals,” said Luna. “There’s often a mental barrier around data analysis and bringing one or two data champions into the fold can start breaking that down and seeding the value of Data Analytics deeper into the organization.”
Luna previously led cross-functional working groups including data champions from HRBP, DEI, L&D and Recruiting to help unpack the data and bring other perspectives into the conversation. These cross-functional groups widened the organization’s lens to the impact of data analysis on business decisions.
#5: Bring in Expert Guidance. Tapping into outside expertise can help set up your Data Analytics journey for success from the outset. A Data Analytics expert can guide you through all the decisions from which metrics to use, how to measure them and the most effective tools for reporting.
“The most important thing is taking that first step in your data journey,” said Kelly Weight. “Bringing in an outside expertise can help you get farther, faster in leveraging the power of data analytics and transforming the way your organization makes business decisions.”
Brillect has consultants who are highly experienced in Data Analytics and able to help with everything from using PowerBI to visualize financial data to using people data to make better hiring decisions to building out customized dashboards for key organizational metrics.
Implementing Data Analytics
Ready to kick off your Data Analytics journey? Brillect has launched a pilot program in the area of People Analytics designed to help HR professionals unlock the value of data. If there’s an HR-related business challenge that is keeping you up at night or an opportunity to help data tell a story at your organization, we’d love to connect.
“Our pilot program is designed to generate quick wins with People Analytics and get your business partners excited about the power of data,” said Maura Howard, HR practice leader at Brillect. “We’ll help you build a business case and get a seat at the table to demonstrate how the right data and analysis can help your company identify – and solve – business challenges.”
Partnering with a Data Analytics Consultant
Interested in learning how to put Data Analytics into practice at your company? The Minneapolis and St. Paul finance, accounting, project management and HR consultants at Brillect can help you break down the barriers to harness the power of data.
Contact us to learn more about our HR Analytics pilot program or tap into one of our expert Data Analytic consultants. Your journey can begin today.