It is that time of the year again…

…where we reflect on the outgoing year, and make our goals and resolutions for the upcoming year. While the majority of those resolutions focus on personal health, as professionals we should also be looking at the health of our businesses going in to the New Year. Just as you may look at certain numbers or goals to quantify your health, so you should be using data to track the progress of your business goals. Now, I personally have had varying success in keeping New Year’s resolutions, and statistically, I am not alone, so here are a few resolutions to get you motivated with your business data in the coming year.  

Start Eating Clean (Data)

In my years working on systems projects, the biggest obstacle I run into is data quality. It is very difficult to get a clear picture of where your business is headed if you don’t have accurate data—or even worse: no data. When I sit down with a new client, this is where I will always start. The majority of them don’t know where their data quality sits.

Here are a few tips to increase your certainty around data quality.

  1. Does the data you collect align with your business process (i.e. does your ATS workflow align with how your business recruits?)?
  2. How accurate is your systems reporting against other systems (i.e. is the number of hires in your ATS the same as the number of hires in your HCM?)?
  3. Is there clear documentation of what data needs to be recorded when?
    1. Do your recruiters know at what point in the workflow they need to record data in the ATS?
    2. Does HR know what needs to be recorded where and when in the HCM?
    3. Does Learning and Development know which training needs to be assigned for each role within the company?

Taking the time to clean up these few things will save you a lot of time and money down the road when looking to apply actionable insights to your data.

Follow a (Data) Fitness Plan

Now that you are confident about the data coming in, what are you going to do with it? Just as with fitness goals, so you need to begin with the end in mind.

Do you want to get better at demand planning? Onboarding? Predicting fill times?

Whatever your goal, it is important to understand what influences  goal fulfillment, and that is what you track. For example, if you want to get better at predicting your fill times:

  1. Clearly define when the “clock” starts. Is it when the requisition is put in the system, when it is approved, or when the recruiter does an intake call with the manager and starts recruiting for it?
  2. Clearly define when the “clock” stops. Is it when the offer is accepted, when the offer letter is returned, or when the employee starts?

There are always uncontrollable variables that influence that data, but if you apply your plan and definitions across the company it will normalize the data, and give you better insights.

Stay Accountable

So, you put in the time and effort and cleaned up all your data. You have your plan documented and communicated to the team, and you are off to the races. Now what?

Just as with fitness, so we need to stay accountable and moving in the right direction. Monitoring is critical. There is an old business saying that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This is especially true of business data. You need to access data quality on a continuing basis and report and realign regularly. If you’re not achieving the goals you laid out in your plan, then it’s time to go back to step one and reassess. If you are achieving your goals, make note of what worked and why. Resolutions most often stick when you act on the feedback you get, report the results, and use what worked and what did not as a template for making decisions going forward.

Stay accountable to the resolutions you have made around your data: you have done the hard work already, so don’t let it go to waste.

Caleb Fullhart is a Principle Consultant with Strio Consulting, where he leads Strio’s Systems Business. His work encompasses integration, configuration, and implementation of HR systems for a variety of companies and HR Systems to increase companies’ levels of efficiency and effectiveness. Caleb has been in recruiting for over 14 years and has specialized in candidate generation, social media, advanced sourcing techniques and Big Data within Human Capital. Connect with him on Twitter @cjfullhart or on Linkedin

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