Guide: Adopt an analytics mindset

Ask the right questions

Don’t lead with data and metrics. Think of the questions you have about your organization and work backwards to figure out what data you need to inform answers. Spending time upfront to clearly define the problem statement is essential.

How do you identify the problems and questions most important to the organization? Understand your business and organizational imperatives and how your people policies and programs may best address them. The types of questions that people analytics can best answer align with the triple aim framework used to improve US healthcare. It focuses on three elements:

  1. Effectiveness. Are your people programs, policies and processes yielding the right outcomes? For example, if we are talking about the hiring process, improving effectiveness would result in hiring better performers over time.
  2. Efficiency. Can we get to the same outcomes in a shorter time span or by spending less money or with fewer people? In the hiring example, higher efficiency would result in a lower cost per hire.
  3. Experience. Since we are talking about people after all, can we improve how individuals experience these programs and processes? In hiring, this might include measures of how candidates perceived their interviewing experience and their interactions with recruiters.

Depending on your organizational context, any one of these elements -- effectiveness, efficiency and experience -- may be more important than the others. The best solutions are those that improve effectiveness, efficiency, and experience all at once. But there are often trade-offs across these elements: be cognizant of how any one of these might affect the other and how you would mitigate undesired effects.

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