The past 16 months taught us a lot about ourselves and how we work, including a better understanding of the nuances and power of human psychology. At the same time, the use of data and analytics for measuring and recognizing employees is also gaining interest. While these might appear to be contradictory areas of importance, that overlap is the optimal place for how we use data to tell stories.

The most powerful way to use data to convey a specific point is by creating a narrative around it; a focused story with a recognizable beginning and end. While that might sound simple, anyone who tried to put it into practice knows how daunting it can be. 

Much of the difficulty creating these stories comes from the type of data we use and how we use it to send a message. A 2021 Brandon Hall Group study found that employee survey data was the most common type of data collected (79% of organizations collect this type of data) even though it is, by its very nature, unreliable since it is self-reported. This is where many organizations go wrong: they believe that this data is only useful as a data point, reporting out an increase in percentage of remote workers but not able to determine if this has had an effect on performance (either positive or negative).

The real strength of any data point, especially one as ubiquitous as employee survey data, is when it is combined with other data sources to see what is uncovered. While this requires a working knowledge of data science techniques, companies such as Quantum Workplace use their systems to combine multiple data sources (as well as digging deeper into survey data with Natural Language Processing [NLP]) to discover a story that might point to an upcoming event.

Much of the discourse around using predictive analytics has focused on using it for things beyond most manual data such as reducing flight risk or maximizing worker performance, but the possibilities go beyond even these daunting tasks and open a way to create a more human connection among managers and employees. Using powerful systems to understand employee preferences, to discover areas for improvement in inclusion and equity, or to allow employees a chance for their voices to be immediately heard, are all employee-centric, positive applications for the future. And of course this is especially key in the new dawn of Human Capital SEC disclosures where clear reporting helps show where human capital is helping drive business performance.

In the next years, the twin trends of a more humanistic approach to the workforce and the exponential increase in the use of data and advanced analytics for recognizing and empowering employees will continue with no signs of slowing down. The time to act is now because every employee has a story to tell and every company should be listening.  


— About Brandon Hall Group Inc. 

Brandon Hall Group is the only professional development company that offers data, research, insights and certification to Learning and Talent executives and organizations. The best minds in Human Capital Management (HCM) choose Brandon Hall Group to help them create future-proof employee development plans for the new era. 

For over 27 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world influencing the development of over 10,000,000 employees and executives. Our HCM Excellence Awards was the first to recognize organizations for learning and talent and is the gold standard, known as the “Academy Awards of Human Capital Management.”

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Cliff Stevenson

Cliff Stevenson is Principal Analyst, Workforce Management Practice, for Brandon Hall Group. He came to Brandon Hall Group in 2015 from the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) where he was a senior analyst since 2012. Cliff's experience as human capital research analyst has focused on data and analytics, performance management, recruitment, acquisition, retention, and attrition.