Do we understand the analytics data quality challenges?

10 August 2020

In the third and final part of our People Analytics series, we look at the challenges created by data and how they can be overcome to avoid disengagement.

The moment that a user logs on to any reporting platform, looks at the data and thinks “that isn’t right”, they will disengage from it immediately, and it can be a challenge to get them back on board. Any People Analytics solution is only as good as the data imported into it.

When we think of data quality, we usually consider whether the data is accurate. However, quality comes in many forms that can lead to a poor experience in any reporting solution – not just People Analytics – including:

  • Is the data correct?
  • Is the data timely?
  • Does the data have enough granularity?

Part of the implementation plan for a new reporting platform should be to document and assess the data sources you wish to use, based on the above questions. This plan may include the following:

A staggered roll out

Not all of your workforce data needs to go live on day one. Load the data you know is correct and create a plan to address the remaining data after this time. Also, consider who will use the platform based on the data you initially have in the system to ensure that it is immediately relevant to that user audience.

Data ownership

Be clear on who the data owners are in the organisation. Many people think that the reporting and HR teams are the workforce data owners; this is often not true, these teams merely consume and interpret the data. Within the NHS, data ownership should sit with the Service Managers and Divisional Leads, they need to drive forward the timely input of correct data through policy adherence, process reviews and system usage to ensure overall effective reporting.

Data amnesty

If data is not correct, once you have identified what data needs amending, create an internal “data amnesty”. We have established in the above point that ownership of data is important, so give these owners an opportunity to understand why the data needs correcting, what the benefits are, and a period of time (and support if necessary) to correct the data with no repercussions or blame for past data inaccuracies.

They will also need to understand that workforce performance will be measured through analytics going forward, and as such, statements like “I don’t believe the data is correct” will reflect on their performance as data owners.

Process review

It may be that the cause of poor data quality is down to the processes and subsequent systems used in its collection. Within the NHS, sickness recording is a great example of where data can be incorrect, late or does not have enough granularity, and this can vary from division to division.

In this example, it should be considered what options your policy and processes have for recording sickness, what divisions are better than others, and what lessons can be learned to improve data collection and reporting. Again, be clear on the benefits and usage of People Analytics (and more broadly, data in general) to engage people in the roll out of all new processes.

In summary, do not underestimate the overall importance of data quality. Investing the time upfront will greatly benefit the longer-term usage of People Analytics, and on its own is a worthwhile exercise to complete. Liaison Workforce has a wealth of experience with NHS data and its systems, and can offer support to NHS organisations through its advisory Pulse services as either part of the implementation of People Analytics or as a standalone piece of work to prepare for the future.

Beyond building the foundations

Once you have built the foundations, this creates a clearer and smoother path to realise the objective of People Analytics – which is to drive down an organisation’s pay bill through actionable insights from workforce data. Streamlined reporting will also help organisations to manage their workforces more effectively, reduce temporary worker demand, develop and retain key talent, and provide the most relevant insights to HR and management. This can also help with:

  • HR becoming a stronger strategic business partner
  • Increased organisational agility
  • Enabling better decision making
  • Measure HR interventions over time
  • Improving employee experience
  • Improving retention
  • Reducing absenteeism

In addition to People Analytics tools, Liaison Workforce offers a range of services that can help NHS organisations on their journey to become workforce exemplars. Our dedicated team of highly trained experts, access to data, and industry leading technology provide a comprehensive range of solutions for all areas of healthcare workforce management, including collaborative bank, rostering optimisation and workforce advisory services.

To find out more about how Liaison Workforce can support your organisation with People Analytics, please contact our team on:

Phone: 0845 603 900

You may also be interested in