Today's post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member and HR Bartender Sharlyn Lauby. Here she shares how to use the data you're collecting to make actionable decisions.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about digital
transformation and why it's important to business.
Digital transformation is about organizations getting answers through the
strategic use of technology.
But once organizations get answers, they have
to do something with the information. I've always said that one
of the worst things that organizations can do is ask employees for their
opinions and then do nothing with it. The same philosophy applies. It doesn't
make any sense to collect a bunch of data and then do nothing with it.
The key is making data actionable. The
question becomes how to do that. I wish I could say it's easy but it's not.
Organizations can certainly get off track thinking that collecting the data or
reporting the data was enough. Here are five steps that organizations can take
to make sure that they put their data to good use.
- Agree on what to measure. And how to
measure it. The first step in making data actionable is
having everyone believe the data. No one is going to react to data that they
are skeptical about. The organization needs to reach
consensus on what data is important, how to measure
it, and where to collect it from.
- Regularly review the data. Not just
when there's a problem. There are two different ways to look
at data. We can take a bad situation and make it good. Or we can take a good
situation and make it even better. Organizations sometimes miss out on
improvements because they only look at data when things aren't going well.
- Create a hypothesis. Including what
happens if we do nothing. Think of the data analysis and
action as part of the
scientific method. Organizations want to make a
prediction (based on the data) that tells them what will happen if they take
certain actions. Let me add that it could be helpful to also make a prediction
on what will happen if no action is taken.
- Use agile implementation strategies.
Agile is used in software development to help project teams stay on track,
avoid major setbacks, and better allocate resources. The premise is to take
large projects and break them down into smaller more manageable steps. After
each step (or milestone), the team can evaluate their progress, and make
adjustments as needed.
- Hold implementation teams accountable.
Finally, if the goal of collecting data is to make a decision - even if that
decision is to do nothing - then people need to stand by the decisions they
make. The good news is that data is always changing. So new data might prompt a
Today's technology allows us to collect good business
data. We can use that data to make sound business decisions. Organizations
should put a protocol in place to ensure that the data they're collecting is
put to good use.