BE IN THE KNOW BLOG
Is your business connecting the dots?
August 02, 2012
By Tracey Brown
A client is working to design a new process and felt the need to look at hundreds of data elements across the organization to ensure the program was designed appropriately. She asked for some advice on how to collect and analyze the data. As I thought about it, I remembered a comment a colleague made:
Think about how many different data elements make up your business: Human Resources, Financial and Operational data points – the list is endless. The act of data gathering has become so arduous, that the purpose of collecting the data gets lost in the shuffle. As my colleague reminded me, isn’t the purpose of having all the data elements to do something with that data?
When your organization takes on a data collection effort, don’t forget these key steps to connect the right “data” dots amidst the chaos of collection:
1. Don’t operate in a silo
Analyzing your data can provide interesting insight into your business. Think about the information you can uncover if you combine your data with data from other functions or businesses. Wouldn’t it be interesting to look at employee productivity scores compared to turnover? Are there any correlations between low productivity and high turnover? Why is there high turnover? Is the high turnover specific to a segment of the population like highly tenured employees?
2. Don’t get overwhelmed
Identify the purpose of the data analysis. Clearly define the purpose and the questions you want to answer. Through the process you will identify additional questions that need to be answered, but don’t get sidetracked. Finish you first analysis and then move along to the next set of questions.
3. Do take action
Once you have uncovered potential issues through the combined analysis of various data – take action. Work to rectify the situation. In the example above, if the turnover was specific to highly tenured employees and that is why productivity is declining – look to uncover WHY the highly tenured employees are leaving. Is it due to pay being below the market? If so, what can you do to retain these employees? Through the data, you can justify to leadership that by retaining the highly tenured employees, productivity will increase and therefore business results will improve
4. Do follow up
Run quarterly reports on productivity compared to turnover to ensure that the action taken is providing the expected results. In addition, run these same reports for other areas of the business. Is it possible that these same issues could be happening in other places in your organization? Demonstrate to leadership how the analysis uncovered the issues and that the action taken produced results. By completing the follow up and continuing to look at the data, you can help your business reduce the amount of low productivity and therefore increase business results.