Data Integrity and Process Control
Once you embark on a people analytics journey, there are some key things to keep in mind. Especially in relation to process control and data integrity. These three things are:
- You don’t need perfect data to find material business issues and outcomes
- Data cleansing activities occur naturally as part of the process. They’ll become more focused when you begin using your data to drive decision-making
- Acknowledge that data cleansing isn’t an overnight fix. It takes time. Focus where it matters, when it matters.
The process is iterative. Recognize that some, or much of your data, might be a wee-bit dirty.
Firstly, perfect data is rare (impossible perhaps), but you can still gain “deep” understanding into a material issue with imperfect data. Acknowledge this upfront. Also note the known inaccuracies of your reporting and a margin of error (for instance, +/- 15%) for your estimate. A $5M turnover issue is still material with or without a +/-15% margin of error.
Secondly, data is often incomplete, invalid or inaccurate. Why? Because HR processes and HR systems activities are typically executed for transactional purposes versus decision-making purposes. Once used more frequently and materially for making decisions, HR data quality and process controls inevitably improve.
When you need accurate data, HR processes tighten. And data integrity improves because focus is placed on upfront data quality.
HR analytics succes with data integrity isn’t an overnight fix. The best approach is to work towards improving data quality where it matters, when it matters. Trying to fix it all at once is overwhelming. Instead, exercise precision where you need it.
X-Ray Your Data
In the first few months rely on your “tools” to identify areas of focus for data cleansing and process control. Data visualization tools help powerfully and rapidly identify where you need to spend time and effort. They feature embedded filtering and segmentation capabilities. And remember, do this with the data segments that matter.
It’s like having an x-ray machine into your data.
The best advice where data quality is concerned: get going using your data IN A FOCUSED WAY. Enlist the support of colleagues and leaders who can help you continually improve the quality, timeliness and completeness of that data you need.
Don’t try and do an enterprise-wide HR data cleansing project. It’s simply too much of a shotgun/one-size fits all approach. And history and experience tells us that value doesn’t get delivered in the areas you need to move the needle. Learn more about how we can help.