The Power of Combining Storytelling With People Analytics

The Power of Combining Storytelling With People Analytics


From inventory planning to marketing and post-purchase support, every aspect of modern business is becoming data-centric. And both HR and talent management are no exceptions. 

Through people analytics, both of these teams are obtaining actionable insights about the employee journey and using that data to create better workplace cultures, reduce churn, and unlock the full potential of every worker. However, simply gathering raw employee data holds little value unless it can be transformed into meaningful narratives. 

Overcoming that barrier means combining the art of storytelling with the quantifiable data provided by people analytics. In doing so, you can bring the numbers to life and mobilize organizational decision-makers to action.

The Difference Between Reporting and Analytics

The terms “reporting” and “analytics” are often mentioned in the same breath. But they aren’t one and the same. Traditionally, reporting involves looking in the rearview mirror. You’ll run reports about past sales performance, leads generation, conversions, and a wide range of other business processes. While it’s important to understand what happened and why, the fact is that you can’t change the past.

In contrast, analytics looks ahead, using insights about what has happened before. Modern tools for people analytics move beyond simple reporting, providing a glimpse into hidden patterns and drivers of employee behavior and performance. The best solutions allow you to predict what will likely happen next and (more importantly) what you should do about it.

Making the jump from simple reporting to prescriptive analytics can be a true game changer for your business. With the right tools, you can better understand the factors that are driving your biggest talent challenges and identify which levers to pull to affect positive change.

Tailoring the Narrative to Your Audience

Just as everyone has a different taste in movies or TV shows, each person has their unique perspectives, priorities, and desired outcomes when it comes to analyzing a narrative that’s being delivered to them. Therefore, you must obtain a deep understanding of your audience’s unique pain points so that you can become an effective storyteller. 

For instance, let’s say that you are presenting a people analytics report to the VP of human resources. In such a case, your story should prioritize talent management, organizational culture, and employee engagement. Make HR the hero of the story and challenges like churn and disengagement the primary antagonists. That kind of approach demonstrates that you understand the challenges HR faces.

Conversely, if you are presenting insights to a CEO, emphasize the impact of people analytics on revenue generation or overall business performance. After all, C-suite business leaders are most concerned with results and the big picture over the nuances that take place behind the scenes of each department. 

To be clear, these are broad generalizations. It’s important to know your audience and their individual preferences. If a particular decision-maker or CEO is highly involved in hiring and employee development, it’s acceptable to incorporate some of these details into your story.

Aligning Stories With Business Use Cases

Take a moment to remember the last movie or story that truly captivated you. Chances are that its writing was relatable, compelling, and believable. Apply these same concepts to your people analytics storytelling strategy. Align your stories with specific business use cases and outcomes that people care about. 

For example, suppose that you are explaining how people analytics can reduce employee turnover, and your audience is the chief financial officer. In that case, highlight the direct link between less turnover and cost savings. By connecting the dots between people analytics and quantifiable business objectives, you can effectively communicate the value proposition and ensure C-suite buy-in. 

Don’t leave anything to chance. Spell out the “why” behind your proposal and paint a clear picture of what the company can achieve. If you leave your audience to connect the dots on their own, there’s a chance they may not see the value in your proposal.

The importance of storytelling in people analytics emerged as a recurring theme at the recent People Analytics Summit in Toronto, Ontario. Numerous presenters emphasized how effective storytelling can convey the impact of people analytics while also encouraging the adoption of the exciting strategy. Several attendees then shared their experiences and best practices, reiterating the importance of creating cross-functional stories that speak to the needs of stakeholders in numerous departments. 

Tailoring your message to address numerous use cases and benefits will help you mobilize mixed audiences, including financial professionals, CEOs, mid-level managers, and HR personnel. You’ll then be able to connect HR benefits, like improved knowledge retention, to things like decreased training costs and better productivity, which will make your story more appealing to the entire audience.

Where Are You in Your People Analytics Journey?

Whether you are new to people analytics or have been investing in this framework for some time now, it’s important to periodically check your progress. 

If your organization is new to people analytics, understanding where you currently stand and how far you are from achieving your goals will help you develop a practical plan for hitting key milestones. On the other hand, if you have already begun adopting people analytics technologies and principles, periodic assessments will serve as a progress check. 

During the process, you should ask yourself some pointed questions, such as:

  • Are you leveraging the power of storytelling to communicate your findings effectively?
  • Do you tailor your narratives to resonate with the specific audiences you present to?
  • Are your stories aligned with business use cases and outcomes that matter to your stakeholders?

If you answer “no” to any of these questions, it’s time to refocus your analytics strategy. Without storytelling and goal alignment, people analytics is little more than the presence of graphs, charts, and numbers on a page. You need to be able to connect that data to important objectives to ensure your message is heard and acted upon.

Accelerating Your People Analytics Success With a Partner

If the road before you feels overwhelming or daunting, the silver lining is that you are not alone. Many business leaders share these sentiments, especially if they are new to the world of people analytics. The question, though, is a matter of knowing how you can practically implement your analytics strategy and support the long-term growth of your business.

Step one involves partnering with a people analytics solution provider that offers ongoing support, robust technology, and actionable advice tailored to the unique needs of your business. By leveraging their expertise and resources, you can accelerate your path to people analytics implementation. 

You’ve already got the data. Now, all you need to do is unlock its potential and transform the information you collect into compelling narratives that drive action. PeopleInsight by HireRoad can keep you from wasting hours scouring spreadsheets and disparate data. You’ll be able to lay the foundation for your people analytics strategy and accelerate your path to results.

What’s Next in Your Analytics-Driven Transformation?

The modern business environment is mired in talent acquisition and retention strategies. If you want to build and maintain a skilled workforce while also mitigating churn, adopting people analytics is a crucial step. Embrace the people analytics revolution by aligning yourself with reputable partners like HireRoad. With the right tools and resources, you can achieve cross-department synergy and help every employee reach their full potential. 

Getting started is easy. Simply book a free demo with PeopleInsight by HireRoad and try the solution for yourself. Once you unlock actionable people analytics data, you’ll never want to manage your workforce without it.