Making Sense Of Data: What Needs To Change In Organisations Today

By Prethiba Esvary|26-01-2018 | 1 Min Read
Source: Image by Campaign Creators on Unsplash
What is HR's Role in Making Sense of Data?

HR: 30% of the company is not ready for the change plans that we intend to roll out.

CEO: What does that mean?

CFO: What do we have to do to change that?

If a human resources (HR) practitioner is unable to answer the questions above, then they are not doing their job well enough. IBM Watson Talent specialist James Hewitt revealed: “Organisations have long been capturing data about their employees, but typically these data sets are stored in siloed systems.”

McKinsey article reported something similar. It said that organisations are just sitting in pools of data and are finding it a challenge to retrieve meaningful and actionable insights from those data.

Why? Is it because HR is unsure of where to start? Or it is simply because they are fearful of delving into the unknown?


Refusal to budge from a fixed mindset isn’t going to help an organisation get to its destination.

So, what is it that must change?

1) Composition of the HR department


Accendo CEO
Sharma KSK Lachu

Accendo’s chief executive officer (CEO) Sharma KSK Lachu believes that HR departments today should be made up of three vital groups. “One-third should consist of HR practitioners who are specialists in particular areas such as performance management and recruitment.

“The next one-third should consist of psychologists, mathematicians and statisticians. The last group should consist of people from different parts of the organisation who possess business acumen,” he said.

Aside from creating a knowledge-sharing culture, Sharma said: “Changing the composition of the HR department allows for experimentation and this builds credibility through more robust science.”

2) Method of generating data and insights

Based on his 15-year experience in the HR technology field, Sharma admits that one of the biggest challenges organisations face is in collecting clean data – data that is accessible and accurate and is able to provide valuable insights to the organisation.

According to Sharma, the parameters that one sets at the beginning is therefore critical as those will determine the kind of data produced, and consequently, influence the insights which are generated.


This is where statisticians, mathematicians and psychologists come into the picture to run experiments, he says.

He gave an example of measuring the performance of a low-performing group versus a high-performing one over a period of one year. The former is given positive reinforcement and the latter isn’t. Data from the two groups are then placed against each other to retrieve insights about the correlation between rewards and recognition, and performance.

He said: “Organisations must understand that in order to create and generate clean data, you need to have a big sandbox to play in.

“You must build an internal capability process that can help you run experiments.

“It’s important to remember that technology is an enabler for what you are trying to achieve. If your process is rubbish, technology is just going to enhance that.”

Read More: Dear HR, Are You Ready To Jump?

3) Invest in the right technology


IBM Watson Talent specialist James Hewitt

According to Hewitt, it is important to note that “analytics in itself won’t solve an organisation’s issues. However, it does shine a light on issues based on data, rather than opinions.”

Take performance management as an example. The traditional assessment centre (AC) falls short in terms of generating forward-looking data and in meeting an organisation’s need for speed, scale and analytics, Sharma said.

Thus, the idea of supplementing traditional ACs with virtual assessment centres (VAC) came about. In Accendo for instance, their VAC comes equipped with artificial intelligence elements of IBM Watson Talent Insights.

This enables an organisation to understand the current performance of its existing employees and steps the employees ought to take to reach a particular level of competency. 

Sharma added that this is the kind of information HR folks need to have today.

In a nutshell

Knowing how to gather clean data and how to make sense of it can yield great value for a business. That being said, having the right make-up in your HR department is equally important – without the right talent, it would prove challenging to achieve an organisation’s goals. 

If you’d like to learn more about analytics and find out which tool best fits your organisational needs, Accendo may be able to help.

Accendo is a regional HR technology solutions company with two decades of industry know-how. They are firm believers of re-engineering people performance at work. Their award-winning tools and solutions enable their customers to adapt effectively and complement the fast-changing ASEAN market.

Dear employers, do you want to keep track of how your employees are feeling within your organisation? You can do so by using techonology like Happily (or Budaya for those from Indonesia). It has amazing analytics and also provides activities for employees to be fully immersed in the organisation's culture.
To find out more about Happily, click here or email info@leaderonomics.com

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Prethiba is passionate about impacting people through the written word. She believes that our lives are solely written by us, and thus the power to change for the better lies with us.
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