For a people analytics function to be effective, there needs to be buy-in at all levels of the organization, particularly the executive level. Without an understanding on the part of leaders about how data analytics can support and advance company strategy, it is impossible to build a comprehensive data practice for the business.
People analytics is all about knowing people. Understanding the perceptions and motivations that influence behavior allows leaders to ask the right questions and get the insights they need to make better decisions, which lead to better performance.
Ultimately, business leaders are going to be most interested in people analytics when they are shown how it can help solve the problems that keep them awake at night. (Tweet this!) As such, any pitch to the executive suite needs to be explained in the context of the business, showing how comprehensive data collection and analysis will support the business strategy. This article will focus on the three key ways for building and maintaining support in your organization for your data practice.
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Recruit Internal Advocates For People Analytics Practice
When seeking buy-in from executives, it’s important to avoid simply seeking the highest-paid or highest-ranking person’s opinion. Successful data practice relies on buy-in at all levels of the organization.
Internal stakeholders include not only leaders and HR, but also others in the organization who own data. This may include tech owners, subject matter experts, legal counsel, union leaders or other employee representatives—and others. Getting buy-in from each of the stakeholders consolidates advocacy within the organization—increasing not only the likelihood of executive support, but also of success for the people analytics function.
Engage Business Leaders In Support Of People Analytics
While internal advocacy can go a long way to engaging business leaders, addressing executives’ biggest concerns is where the rubber meets the road. Aligning people analytics strategy to those priorities is the key to garnering support in the executive suite.
Secure agreement from leaders on the need for data to address those issues, and be sure to stress that collecting this data and acting on it is not a one-off activity; successful data analytics practice relies on repeated measurement and action on data.
Discuss with leaders what you hope to achieve. Your strategy is a long-term approach that focuses on identifying the behaviors leaders want to encourage—and those they want to eliminate—to drive business success. The system will be configured to identify and promote the desirable behaviors that will improve performance; measure and re-measure to determine if progress is being achieved; then recalibrate as needed.
Stress that, in the long term, people analytics will empower executives with predictive capability to inform decisions, make their lives easier, and help the business succeed. While you will start by focusing on the pinch points or the known areas of greatest concern for executives, the data function may also uncover some unknowns.
Once executives have bought into the importance of people analytics, the initial problems to be addressed, and the data that is needed to address those issues, start gathering the data you need. Take the time to get the insights needed, but don’t take too long to report back with the data and analysis—executives have a lot on their plates and they will move on.
Show Leaders The Value Of People Analytics
The continuing support of executives for the data analysis program is as important as the initial buy-in. Since it is an ongoing process, the people analytics practice cannot succeed without the continued support of leaders.
The initial “sale” of the function to the executive suite is the “telling” part of a show-and- tell. Providing data and analysis germane to executives’ biggest concerns to help them make effective decisions is the “showing.”
Presentation of data and analysis is the opportunity to show the value of the function. It needs to be similar to a sales presentation in a couple of ways:
- It needs to be engaging to hold attention.
- It needs to present the data insights as the benefits of people analytics practice.
It is very similar to a consultative sales approach in that it speaks directly to the audience’s needs and concerns with a solution.
Just as in a sales presentation, the first goal is to keep the audience engaged. Prune down the information to focus on the data that speaks to executives’ biggest concerns. Tell a visually compelling story with graphs, charts, or other images, and reinforce the two or three key points you want them to take away from the presentation. You may have uncovered other great insights and can mention them, but focus on the two or three most important to leaders’ concerns. Your goal is to give leaders something of value, so you’ll be invited back into the room later for further analyses.
Following this approach will not only convince leaders of the value of people analytics—it will also secure continuing executive support.
Want to show your leaders the value of people analytics?
The Perceptyx platform empowers executive decision-making with visually-compelling reporting of data analysis. The platform collects and puts the data leaders need right at executives’ fingertips, organized into an easy-to-understand format. Get in touch and let us show you how we can illustrate the value of people analytics to your company’s leaders.