Embrace the performance reality; you have seven minutes to leave a lasting impression.
I think all HR professionals would agree that in today’s business environment, there is an ongoing challenge to transform the perception of the human resources department from a cost center to a strategic partner within their organization’s leadership team. HR is consistently being challenged to increase their impact through metrics to improve the productivity of the organization’s workforce. The human resources’ function can have a significant impact on a business’ day-to-day performance. Business leaders understand this and that measurement is the key to improvement.
In order for any HR professional to be successful in making their functions’ perception transform from a cost center to a partner, it will require them to demonstrate the ROI achieved as a result of their efforts enabling secure buy-in from all parties. They will need to be part “statistician” and part “story teller”. As a “statistician,” they must leverage the vast amount of data sources available to define and measure the HR metrics which align with their organization’s business goals. It’s not surprising that organizational leaders are moving more C-Level executives from finance into HR, based on the need for metrics and the strategic interest to collaborate the two departments. Equally as important, the “story teller” skill set within the HR professional will recognize the need to frame the information into a very simple, easy to consume, format. The leaders at any time can then take a quick pulse on their company’s most important asset – their people.
Compounding this challenge is a rapidly changing technology landscape, ever increasing volumes and complexity of data, and continuously changing business strategies. Since these factors are in a constant state of flux, it is critical to maintain perspective by collaborating outside of your organization to leverage best practices and benefit from others’ experiences. This can lead to greater insight in navigating new technologies, discovering new approaches to managing data, or finding alternatives on the best method of relaying the metrics that matter most to your organization.
Dashboards can serve as an excellent means for HR professionals to report important metrics to their executives in snapshot format with an interactive experience. Dashboards can read like scorecards, providing a graphical representation of the current status as well as historical trends. The power to leverage the forecasting analytic capability of this reporting tool has proven very useful to express the possibilities to leadership in planning for the company’s future success. However, it’s critical not to overlook the importance of the mechanism in delivering these metrics as this will significantly contribute to the elevation of your function as a strategic partner to supply perspective within the organization.
My introduction to this entry, “Embrace the performance reality; you only have seven minutes to leave a lasting impression,”was a result of a takeaway from a book about public speaking written by Susan Weinschenk, 100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People. During a presentation, a person’s attention span is generally seven minutes. If the audience is not engaged in the topic, the attention span can be even less. It’s not always obvious when an audience’s attention span may be waning. As a presenter, you need to be aware that you are having a very different experience than your audience.
HR dashboards provide the “Wow Factor!” when delivering the key HR metrics portion of your story to the audience and allow for flexibility within your presentation. You can deliver short, quick concise bites that can be easily digested by your audience or examined at their convenience with a deeper dive, should they want the full course meal. Dashboards are the preferred muse of HR professionals as they cater to the appetite of any stakeholder within an organization. Aside from their ability to gather information from disparaging data sources and make it readily available in a very user friendly format, the dashboards resonate and command respect. The inherent nature within all of us is to have information on our terms. We all want what we want, in the way that we want it, and more importantly, when we want to have it. Having the discernment to make information readily available to those challenged with the seven minute attention span, and doing so in a way that accommodates the needs your audience, is the key to HR professionals securing their proverbial seat at the strategic partner table.
Michael Carlesimo – Account Manager, iDashboards