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Workforce Dimensions - Business Coaching

Feb 27, 2015

Demand for Quality and Timely People Information is Accelerating - but what is Quality?

"Demand for Quality and Timely People Information is Accelerating". This statement has been reinforced again and again as I've personally engaged with clients or read the sheer volume of traffic across blogs and groups on networking sites, Workforce Analytics is a 'hot' topic, but do we have a proposition to match? What denotes quality? How do we define it the context of workforce analytics?

Is it about Accuracy, Completeness and Consistency of data?

Certainly we must push for our reporting to be a faithful reflection of data held on originating systems (primary, secondary, 3rd party sources) – and where there is a gap we must influence those who administer and input to these systems, and in terms of completeness, we must strive to get access to the full range of data relating to people – for example overtime payments, sales made, customer satisfaction. Not held on the core HRIS, but of huge value to the workforce analyst.

And of course calculation of measures must be consistent over time and across business units – otherwise internal benchmarking will be compromised and external benchmarking pointless.

But is quality actually about 'Focus' and 'Relevance'?

It's nice to know that absence is 3 days per person per year, but it probably isn't a business problem, so keep that measure in the background until you see a significant upward trend; however knowing that 40% of the workforce with a key skill are due to retire within the next three years; that's worth reporting.

Different business units or functions will be interested in different insights. The same goes for different roles - Line Managers, Business Executives, HR Process leads, so differentiate accordingly – knowing the business of the business you support is vital in this respect.

But ultimately once you have a robust and holistic data set, and from this you have drawn insight that is of relevance to each specific consumer group, should quality be defined as telling the audience something they didn't already know, about something that matters to them, while they still have time to influence outcomes?

Not easy, I concede, but I believe this should be our aspiration - and everything we do in terms of structure, prioritisation, capability building and the selection of enablement technology should be done with this end game in mind.