Loved this post David! Data literacy is critical to advance any efforts on people analytics. I think also as the industry grows and expands we need to be preparing younger generations to either be part of people analytics teams or come into a workforce that is highly data-driven. What are we doing to embed data literacy in our education system? As far as I know, not enough.
Even more, in order for people analytics to continue growing inside a particular company it needs the buy-in of other teams (they cannot work in a silo) and that will be only achieved if employees, and especially leadership, understands how it works and why it is so important. Other members of the company need to see the benefit, be able to interpret data and use it for decision-making, otherwise they won’t be invested in advancing these efforts.
Bartosz your reflection made me question: what constitutes a strong people analytics team? Aside from the technical skills, what other skills do we need this cross-functional team to have? Would companies have better data if the people analytics team is more collaborative and focuses more on people development? For example, do we want our PA teams to go to other teams to teach them about the importance of PA and the basics for managers to understand and be more invested in data collection efforts? Do we want PA team members to rotate and work in different team for smaller scale team projects in which team members can quickly see the positive results of reliable data? I think this stairway of impact could be focusing too much on technicalities and too little on the right people and the right strategies that will allow later to have strong datasets.
Completely agree with you! I think that should be true about any type of data companies track, whether it is related to people or not. Collecting data for the sake of it will only make data meaningless. It is even more important when that data is seen as invasive. I have a friend that was sharing her smart watch data with her team only to create a “friendly” running competition with her teammates, until her manager started observing her location to see where in the office she was, similar to what PwC was doing. This was not even a company requirement, it was just her manager’s tendency to want to control. So I would add that aside of clarifying the goals, we should think who in the company should really have access to a particular set of data. Probably in most cases, it is better for the People Analytics team to have it and anonymize results by gathering trends as a way of removing temptations to use data in the “wrong” way.