HR Analytics

The role of storytelling in workforce analytics

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The role of storytelling in workforce analytics

Storytelling and analytics may seem unlikely bedfellows, but as a new report from the SHRM Foundation reveals they are just the skills that HR professionals now need.

A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewing an expert in workforce analytics for a book I’m writing with two colleagues. Mark Berry, CHRO of CGB Enterprises, is a great exemplar of the critical skill of storytelling. He once started a ‘story’ about the results of a workforce analytics retention project like this …

“As a company, we have distinguished ourselves as the most effective organization at developing technical talent for our competitors.”

The response from his audience was an audible gasp!

Mark’s stance was provocative, but with data from workforce analytics to back up his introduction he could ensure that his audience was emotionally connected and engaged right from the start. Workforce analytics is nothing without the revelation of insights and the effective communication of those insights to inspire action.

The SHRM report confirms the importance of storytelling. It talks about HR professionals needing to be comfortable with analytics, but also having “the ability to present findings in the manner and language convincing to senior executives.”  In fact, we think the skill of storytelling in workforce analytics is so important that we’re dedicating a whole chapter to it in our book.

Storytelling goes hand in hand with a head for analytics in the HR professional of the future.  And the shift should also help HR’s sometimes dented reputation. As the SHRM report says:  “… at companies where HR uses data to make decisions consistently, HR’s credibility in the organization increases considerably.”

There is a lot of great content in the SHRM report (Use of Workforce Analytics for Competitive Advantage), so I’d urge you to take a look. Not just for insights on what skills HR professionals need, but there are also are some smart case studies that demonstrate the impact of workforce analytics when it’s done right.

Read the SHRM Foundation report: Use of Workforce Analytics for Competitive Advantage

Click here to pre-order a copy of the book The Power of People: How Successful Organizations Use Workforce Analytics to Improve Business Performance


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