People Analytics - Making It a Sustainable Practice (See It)

This week we move on to the idea of sustainability – and the importance of building your HR/people analytics capability so that it is ongoing and evolving, not a one-off project. In this post we’ll introduce a change management approach that can help you get there, and delve into the first component of this: See It. In subsequent posts, we’ll explore the Own It. and Live It. elements required to build a successful and sustainable approach to people analytics and data driven decision making. [This is an excerpt from our Playbook 4 – A Practical Guide to Becoming Data Driven.]

Change Management for People Analytics

Becoming data driven is not a one-off project - it’s about building a new way of approaching HR - one which is sustainable that builds and improves over time.

This means having clarity of purpose, building adoption and motivation for the future state, demonstrating leadership support around a concrete plan for implementation, and most importantly, having clearly defined and achievable criteria for success.

While there are many models for managing change, you should use the one you are most comfortable and proficient with - if you don’t have one at your fingertips, this can serve as a guide:

Change Mgmt.png

Let’s take a look at the first component of this model – See it. This is about creating the Case for Change and bringing onside Committed Leadership. These are essential ingredients to your success.

See It: Case For Change

  • You will want to communicate the urgency of your data driven HR projects - and how they tie to delivering hard business results for your LoB clients.
  • Using your outputs from Playbook 3 - specifically Step 4 (Estimate & Articulate Value of Each Use Case) and Step 5 (Assess & Map Use Cases to a Decision-Making Framework to Help You Prioritize), you should meet with key people from your Line of Business, brief them on your work and seek their input.
  • You will have to define who these “key people” from your Line of Business should be - it will be different in every organization but should probably include the VP or executive who leads that business unit.
  • You should look for support from the Head of HR, the Head of HR Business Partners, or the internal HR Champion for data driven HR.
  • You will need to convince your Line of Business clients that these projects are both aligned with their strategic and operational goals, and juicy from a benefits perspective.

See It: Committed Leadership

  • First, you should look for the direct support of any leader in the business who has articulated the need for evidence-based or data driven decision-making - whether this be your CEO, COO or CFO, the head of a business unit, or anyone else who has spoken up. This might be in the form of a strategic imperative in your 3 year plan like “become data driven” or a quote from the CFO from last month’s all-staff meeting when she said “we need to improve overall productivity to ensure we stay competitive in our market”.
  • Be creative, look for ways to build upon things already understood in your organization, and make a direct link to how data driven HR can help deliver tangible results.
  • Then, your goal is to work with your Line of Business client(s) to affirm that data driven HR, and in particular, the projects which you have identified (3 x Do. 2 x Help. 1 x Fix) are important and need to be addressed. Once you are aligned, you need to ask for their help in selling these projects, in clearing hurdles, in engaging in reviews and status meetings, and in holding you and others accountable for project execution. Yes, it’s an ask for help – and it’s not only okay, it’s critical.
  • Many leaders think it is good enough to be simply knowledgeable and vocalize their “support” for an initiative, but my experience tells me different. Oftentimes, you need to be very specific and ask them to do something specific – outline the behavior you are looking for them to demonstrate and the messages you’d like them to share.

Stay tuned next week where we’ll look at the Own It. stage of the process.


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