Why data-informed decision-making is vital to workforce planning

Written by Guy Burchett  •  Recruitment  •  19 February 2021

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Data can provide you a deeper knowledge of the current marketplace: movement, threats, and ways to move forward. When appropriately retrieved, mined and analysed, data – and its resulting insights – can be used to inform business decisions that empower organisations with a competitive advantage.

The key to optimising data is to be discerning. Organisations will more likely than not have a lot of data from internal and external sources, so it’s a matter of striking the right balance of management, reporting and interpretation to make this data meaningful to your organisation and help you deploy solutions for better business outcomes.

In order to arm your business leaders with data, your organisation will need to adopt a data-first strategy and vision. Here’s how to start:
 
Step 1: Engage Early

Involve your senior stakeholders at the very beginning. Demonstrate specific use cases and prove to any unconvinced stakeholders the strategic business value and tactical use cases of a data-first strategy. Every department has relevant questions and contributions that should be taken into account, so they feel supported and integral in driving a data-first culture and its resulting success.

Step 2: Identify Data Sources

Systems you’re likely already accustomed to (HRIS, ATS or VMS) have analytics tools you can utilise. While the information is limited, this is a great starting point to gather and make informed decisions from. Other analytics tools on the market, like PowerBI from Microsoft, provide more advanced functionality to help integrate and mine data from multiple sources.

Step 3: Start Small, Think Agile

Ask direct questions that you and your stakeholders would like addressed, otherwise it can be overwhelming when faced with too many data sets. When you have your objectives in place, approach your initiative with an agile mindset because you’ll experience successes and failures quickly. Test and adjust as you go so that you’re finding success as quickly as you are failing forward.  

Step 4: Make it Easy to Use

From the analytics tools you use to the way the data is presented, every step in a data-first strategy must be intuitive, easy-to-use and simple to comprehend. If any of the steps – from collection to analysis – feel difficult then you’ll likely lose buy-in from stakeholders. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make access, dashboard customisation, and viewing and reporting as simple as you can in order to drive results and efficacy.

Unlocking data to unlock actionable insights is the key to successfully strategizing your workforce planning and helping your organisation adopt a more agile methodology. Just remember to acknowledge the missteps and to apply those learnings to iteration and implementation.

For more tips on how to cultivate a data-first strategy, download our ‘6 Step Guide to Strategic Workforce Planning’ whitepaper.  

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