Making Analytics More User-Friendly

John Boudreau, a noted HR thought leader, author and professor and research director at USC’s Marshall School of Business and Center for Effective Organizations, has some advice for HR leaders in a recent Harvard Business Review article: make analytics more user-friendly.

Boudreau writes that while “progress in HR analytics has been glacially slow,” a recent HBR survey finds “a stunning rate of anticipated progress: 15% [of respondents] said they use ‘predictive analytics based on HR data and data from other sources within or outside the organization,’ while 48% predicted they would be doing so in two years.”

So what can HR leaders do to help organizations use analytics more effectively?

Boudreau says HR and other organizational leaders should consider “the necessary conditions for HR metrics and analytics information to get through to the pivotal audience of decision makers and influencers,” who must:

  • receive the analytics at the right time and in the right context,
  • attend to the analytics and believe that the analytics have value and that they are capable of using them,
  • believe the analytics results are credible and likely to represent their “real world”,
  • perceive that the impact of the analytics will be large and compelling enough to justify their time and attention, and
  • understand that the analytics have specific implications for improving their own decisions and actions.

“To put HR data, measures, and analytics to work more effectively requires a more “user-focused” perspective,” Boudreau writes. “HR needs to pay more attention to the product features that successfully push the analytics messages forward and to the pull factors that cause pivotal users to demand, understand, and use those analytics. Just as virtually every website, application and online product is constantly tweaked in response to data about user attention and actions, HR metrics and analytics should be improved by applying analytics tools to the user experience itself. Otherwise, all the HR data in the world won’t help you attract and retain the right talent to move your business forward.”