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4 Examples of People Data Leading to Business Insights

business insights can come from people data no matter the business

Every business is powered by its people, and these people form the human truth at the core of the organization. Most organizations use some kind of HRIS and applicant tracking software to understand what’s happening with their employees. However, there’s a people impact gap between collecting this data and using it to create real business insights. 

Understanding how to derive insights from people data can be a source of competitive advantage for orgs. Read on for four use cases to provide examples of how people data leads to business insights with project management, sales, customer service, and total rewards.


1. Project managers empowered with business insights

Let’s imagine you’re a director at an organization who is responsible for teams engaged in multiple projects. You have a project management tool such as Asana or Jira to keep track of individual projects,but higher level leaders can’t waste time looking at the finer details of each individual task within a project. What they really need to do is lift the top and get a higher view to learn which projects are on track and which are falling behind.

an image showing the status of different projects for business insights
Leaders need a birds’ eye view of which projects are (or aren’t) on track

The next step, when finding a project that’s falling behind, is to figure out what to do about it. Here’s where people data can provide business insights. Let’s say a manager attributes their at-risk project to not having enough people. But, from the outside, the headcount looks identical to that of teams whose projects are on track to completion. What’s the truth?

Teams are composed of people. Data can provide valuable insights by revealing more about the nature of the people working on the teams, such as which team members are suffering burnout, which teams have leaders at risk of exit, and which teams have the most high performers. What at first glance seems like a project management problem could actually be a people problem. And people analytics can also help factor in the cost of hiring and training into the overall project. In this hypothetical situation, the data empowers managers to provide solid evidence for the requested resources.


2. Business data for sales questions

Without an effective sales team, businesses struggle to accrue revenue. Sales is ripe for people data insights—businesses collect lots of data about sales! Let’s take a common question: What’s the impact of turnover on my salesforce? Combine who’s leaving with what sales team the at-risk employees work with, and the success rate of those teams. Merging sales and other business data with people data provides the opportunity to answer this and other questions:

  • Are the top performing sales people leaving? 
  • What is the loss of revenue?
  • What is the cost of recruiting new salespeople? 

Simply having data on deals closed and having data on how many people are voluntarily resigning doesn’t amount to true business analytics. Only by marrying together the people data with the business data can you see the real cost to the business of not having your full sales team.


3. Customer service data and business analytics

Companies that live or die by the quality of their customer service experience frequently have a vast lake of data that lends itself beautifully to business insights. Imagine a company that invests heavily in customer service and already has solid metrics on its top, mid, and low performers. Combining this data with information about the organization can reveal interesting business insights about which managers are more successful, whether training programs are working, and the real business cost of attrition.

With deeper, longitudinal insights such as what Visier provides, organizations can pinpoint when customer service metrics dip or improve and discover what decisions at the organization correlate with the change in value. For example, did average handle times sharply increase when your organization added a new line of business? Or perhaps the team under a new leader outshines all others in feedback scores?


4. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB)

Many times when leaders think about how to meet their diversity goals, they focus primarily on talent acquisition. However, having the ability to combine people data around diversity with total rewards data can provide meaningful insights into how to improve equity and inclusion. 

For example, different demographics utilize benefits differently. Which benefits have the greatest impact on productivity for different groups? Some employees may thrive best when working hybrid or fully remote, while others may prefer to come in-office but would benefit from transportation or daycare assistance. Being able to combine the cost of benefits with the resulting boost in productivity provides a powerful business case for leaders who want to make the best working environment for their employees.

banner linking to gender equity and the problem of the manager divide resource


People insights for every line of business

These are just four low-hanging examples of the possibilities. Combining the “what’s happening” of business data with the “who’s involved” of people data takes the guesswork out of business decisions, even something as fundamental as workforce planning benefits from people analytics which combine actual business data (how many people are needed on a certain day) with people data (what percentage of employees are likely to be absent, given past patterns.) Your organization already has valuable data about what’s important to business outcomes. Using people analytics turns these fantastic ingredients into appetizing business insights to give your organization a competitive advantage.

To learn more about the basics of business analytics and find out how your organization can make the most of its data, watch the on-demand webinar.

About the author: Catherine Cheek

Catherine “Kater” Cheek is an award-winning author with a breadth of writing experience from corporate communications to storytelling. As Senior Copywriter at Visier, she aims to highlight the human stories behind the data and showcase details that make complicated concepts easy to understand.

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