BLOG: Data Driven Workforce

Behind the scenes with PeopleInsight - Business Development

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at PeopleInsight and introduce you to the teams that make it all happen for our customers.

This week, we’re starting with our business development (BD) team and we’ll hear from Kim and Shelby, two of our stellar BD reps. Kim and Shelby spend their days (and some of their nights!) connecting with HR and Talent professionals, talking pain points, and identifying ways we can help improve data integration, reporting and business communications. Because they have their fingers on the pulse, and their ears to the ground, they have a lot to share about the state of HR analytics, the challenges and opportunities for HR groups.

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We asked them a few key questions:

1. You spend a lot of your time connecting and having conversations with HR and Talent leaders about data and analytics - what are some of the key topics that you’re discussing?

One thing is for sure - HR and Talent leaders are a busy group. This is an area with many moving parts, the pressure to deliver is high, especially in companies experiencing fast/high growth!

The main challenge we hear about regardless if people are running best-in-class systems like Workday, PeopleSoft or Taleo, or are taking a home-grown approach, is that the data isn’t connected in an efficient way. In fact, for most, the data is pulled from systems and connections across sources are made manually, which takes a lot of time and effort. We believe their time would be best spent addressing the key messages hidden within their data - such as understanding their turnover, identifying their top performers etc. Leaders are looking for ways to remove the burden of manual manipulations so the team can focus on understanding their data and influencing action, rather than spending all their time piecing data together for presentations. That’s really the key conversation we have over and over.

We understand timing has to be right for an organization too. There are many times when we connect with someone who is interested in advancing their analytics, but they might be in the process of implementing a new HRIS, which is absorbing all of their time. The standard approach - is to give the new system some time to prove itself where reporting and analytics are concerned. Typically these systems tend to have major gaps in their reporting abilities. They may have a wonderful reporting module built-in but the fact is they do not integrate with other systems, so you are still stuck with disconnected data. When this happens, we have to be patient. We check back in a few months down the road and while they may have easy access to their Workday, Greenhouse or Taleo data, it’s still disconnected from the rest and therefore limited in usefulness in terms of driving business decisions. That’s where we come in and we get to help.

2. How does someone know if they are ready to partner with an analytics solution? 

From the many discussions we’ve had with HR professionals and leaders, we can tell when someone is ready, even from the first conversation. Particularly from their answer to one of our favourite questions: ‘What does Data-driven HR mean to you?’

Those who are ready tend to be from knowledge- and performance-based sectors and genuinely believe "talent" is critical to creating competitive advantage.

They might be at their wits-end with a broken and archaic current approach to reporting, struggling with the overwhelming volume of disconnected HR data sitting in disparate systems. Or, they simply recognize that today, not having insight into HR data just isn’t good enough. They know they can be contributing more and impacting the business more by using their data differently.

They also recognize that they won’t be able to go at it alone given the complexity and cost of on-premise solutions, and often times are actively looking for an analytics partner to help them accelerate their HR analytics capability in a simple, easy to engage and powerful way.

Another indicator of a great partnership is when the HR department aligns their people strategy with overall business strategy, and puts core business objectives and outcomes as the end-goals of HR projects and activities. That is when the department has shifted its focus from transactional processes that only requires basic HR metrics (which can be done with basic HR spreadsheets) to operational HR that requires deep insights from the data. That’s where we come in, take care of the heavy-lifting, and deliver the visibility into your data.

So we often ask if the HR leaders and the department are actively involved in critical business discussions, because an HR analytics program can only be successful and sustainable when the direct results are better, smarter business decisions with real business impacts. It might sound like a challenging precursor to have, but as long as the HR department wants to be involved and create real change, we can definitely help.

3. What do you like best about your role?

We can easily solve the problem HR is faced with. It’s a great feeling to be able to listen to the pain points related to reporting, analytics and communicating with the business, to really understand this experience, and to know that we can help.  For us, it’s simple - we connect your disparate data, make sense of these data points and deliver insights into your workforce so that you can make smart and impactful decisions.

Those who get it really get it - it’s an easy conversation. Then there are others who have the pain, but don’t quite know what solutions exist to help them. These conversations are really fun because once we explain how PeopleInsight works and how easy it is to overcome the pain points, you can hear both the relief and the excitement.

4. What advice would you give an HR group looking to jumpstart their analytics program?

  • Understand your overall business objectives and align your HR strategy accordingly
  • Keep a tight focus on only one or two critical areas that would bring about the most impact at the start
  • Don’t sweat it if you don’t have the best data or tools, just get going with analytics and get help from a partner as your reporting and analytics needs get more complex.

Overall, just don’t be afraid to embrace analytics. It is actually quite simple.

5. I understand your BDR team won the recent PeopleInsight Sangria competition - what was it about your team that propelled you to success? :-)

The methodology that helped us win the Sangria Competition was the same approach to our daily operations - conduct research (sangria recipes), collaborate as a team (choose type of wine), and divide the work amongst us evenly (some members prepared the ingredients, others taste tested).

During our presentation of our final Sangria, we also used different team members’ skills to help better our chances of winning. While some members are more comfortable doing the behind the scenes work, others are more comfortable using their interpersonal skills to present our masterpiece. Those who prefer to do the behind the scenes work helped write the description, while those who enjoy speaking presented the Sangria to the office and the other teams.

Taking advantage of each team member's strengths contributed to our winning the Sangria competition, similarly to how we achieve wins as a team.

Thank you, Shelby and Kim.