As an HR professional, you play a major part in creating a strong company culture while supporting recruiting, hiring, engagement, performance, and retention. “People are our greatest asset” has become a business mantra. Still, quantifying the importance of HR initiatives and programs to the business and the executive team can present a challenge; in a data-driven world, yours is traditionally not a data-driven field. And chances are that using data to illustrate your effectiveness and achievements is not your number-one skill set. Yet a key element of your role is telling the story of how your work supports the organization’s overall goals and strategies.

Simplifying your effort – and demonstrating its value

With data visualization tools, however, that objective becomes remarkably easy. Today, HR teams are using data visualization to simplify their lives: to make sense of data, to link reports from different organizational units, to illustrate the core business value of their work – and much more.

In short, data visualization tools enable you to display information graphically to help your audience see what’s relevant to them. And you need very little time and expertise – or the support of a data analyst – to do it. In fact, today’s data visualization tools are designed to help businesspeople organize and consolidate information however they want it, analyze it quickly, and create clear, compelling graphics to convey their insights.

Linking related but disparate data – and presenting it meaningfully

If yours is like most HR departments, your team is aware of all of the data and information you have on hand. But you don’t have an easy way to use it. Data visualization enables you to link the various key performance indicators (KPIs) that help measure and demonstrate your accomplishments. In reality, your areas of focus – recruitment, training and development, performance, career management, employee retention, and productivity – are intertwined. Yet they’re often regarded as separate units. With data visualization tools, you can use formulas to sort through and aggregate the information, link related concepts, and give life and clarity to your KPIs – by department, business unit, enterprise-wide, or any level you choose.

You can easily merge data from different departments into a single view, and even alter the visual data to illustrate different scenarios. You can show change over time with a line chart; compare values of different categories with a bar chart; and even highlight geographic data in a bubble chart.

People or teams with different points of view or presentation needs can build dashboards in real time, even working remotely. One of the best things about data visualization is how it enables users to interact with data, unlike one-dimensional tables and charts that can be viewed only as static display.

Visualizing data in your world

Let’s take a look at how this might take shape in real life.

You’re presenting at a company meeting to both employees and executives. Instead of the usual spreadsheets, you illustrate the information in 3D and accentuate the areas that need attention. There’s troublesome churn in the consumer business, for example, while the wholesale side has experienced little turnover in the same five-year period. Employee satisfaction enterprise-wide is encouraging, but a line-of-business analysis shows strength in marketing, an acceptable level in IT, and real problems in finance. Your recent talent recruitment campaign met new-hire goals in sourcing and procurement, but was not equally successful in sales; feedback from candidates reveals that the compensation structure is overly complex. You’re showing all this with clean, clear visuals in living color.

Retaining and developing your best talent is a core focus of your job. Data visualization tools allow you to combine in-depth information in a cross-referenced format to illuminate what works to motivate and inspire employees, as well as the conditions conducive to churn. Using analytics on employee engagement and leadership programs, data visualization can transform this information to help your team target and amplify the positive, and mitigate pain points before they reach the critical stage.

Data visualization can help you translate metrics tracking the results of your initiatives into an easily understood graphic format for your own team. For example, you can capture and illustrate:

  • Average lead time to recruit employees
  • Number of hours devoted to training and development of staff per year
  • Percentage of employees that complete a full execution of individual development plans
  • Percentage of employees that participate in programs for career coaching
  • Employee retention that ultimately affects the profit per employee

Now, you have not only underscored the value of the HR operation; you’ve demonstrated your ability to marshal data – and substantiate that people are in fact your organization’s greatest asset. And that’s a real accomplishment.

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