Over the past two years, we have had the unique experience of introducing People Analytics to a wide range of corporations. Those talent management professionals who have yet to join us on our journey will discover, as they enter the world of People Analytics for the first time, one of the most basic principles we espouse: To arrive at Meaningful Answers that support the objectives and strategies of their organization, they must first determine the Right Questions to be asked and then deploy People Analytics to strategically analyze the results.

And because Caliper’s expertise in People Analytics comes from collecting, aggregating, analyzing, and predicting performance based on personality data, we are uniquely poised to assist them.

We recently attended a conference for executives in the pharmaceutical industry focused on Clinical Trials, Operations, Quality, and Regulatory Compliance. One of the big questions they posed was, “How can we build a culture that drives the highest levels of quality while still fostering innovation?” Before the question could be answered, the conversation morphed into a discussion regarding the definition of “competencies” required for success. The immediate challenge we faced, prior to any talk of culture building, was to establish a common language for describing people.

Based on our experience, here are 5 critical things to keep in mind as you get started with People Analytics:

  1. Determine the Right Questions that, when answered, will provide the most meaning for your organization.
  2. If your questions involve the personality side of People Analytics, establish an agreed-upon terminology and set of competencies, as these will form the basis for a common language used to describe success factors for people in your organization.
  3. Identify the personality data required to help to answer your questions, determine if you have access to those data, and make sure the data are clean, consistent, reliable, and truly usable for analytics purposes.
  4. Confirm that you have a cost-effective and efficient method for collecting more data. As you quickly discover the value of People Analytics, you will crave more data.
  5. Select a simple yet efficient analytics platform that can be rapidly deployed without IT integration and requires minimal training (hours, not days) so that it can be rapidly adopted across the entire organization.

One of the greatest benefits associated with People Analytics is that it forces an organization to first agree upon the common “Language of People” that will be used to describe key competencies needed for success in specific positions. Doing so is like deploying a shared lens through which the organization can view its people. Ultimately, People Analytics forms a solid foundation for fostering truly data-driven decision making.