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People Analytics Series (Part 2 of 4): Preparing to take Data Driven Action

When an organization is able to understand and determine their analytics maturity (Part 1: Introduction), they will be better situated to start using data about people to develop insights in order to make decisions within a business.

Prior to starting any endeavor, it is important to prepare for the road ahead. What could this look like? There are typically three steps to the preparation phase.

(1) Define a business problem. This takes form in understanding your business. Some questions to ask:

  • What drives it?

  • What are the challenges it’s facing?

  • What is being tracked, (of what is being tracked)

  • What is exceeding/not exceeding targets?

  • What are the operational strategies to achieves these performance metrics,

  • and, to tie it all together, What are the people issues impacting these targets?

An example of a business/people issue is: High turnover in the sales department is impacting revenue. Once a business opportunity is defined, and any clarifications are obtained, we want to continue to drill down.

(2) Perform a root cause analysis. The goal of this step is to identify major factors involved and to brainstorm possible causes. A common way to illustrate these thoughts are through a fishbone diagram (see a basic example below from SHRM):

(3) Develop a hypothesis. A hypothesis is usually in an if/then format, and is a prediction about variables of interests.

In continuation with the example above about high turnover, a hypothesis could be: If the length of sales training is increased, then the retention in the sales department would increase.

After a hypothesis is determined, we can round out preparation by taking into consideration items such as the timing for projects, which is based on a variety of factors, including scope, availability of data, priority level, etc. When planning for a project, it is important to keep each of these in mind so that sufficient time is allocated to each step.

When ready to move forward in the project plan, the next step would involve the collection of data. Which will be discussed further in Part 3 of the series: Where to Collect Data.

If you have any questions about anything that was discussed thus far, please please reach out to Kiwi Partners’ HR Services team.


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