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What does data analytics have to do with managing people?

Managing people is a very humanistic skill in which caring and compassion are of the utmost importance. As there are always those individuals who do not respond to this type of management, there are also those that may have trauma going on in their lives that may hinder their performance. This hindrance can be short-term or long-term and can be a reason for managers to be a bit more sensitive. The question becomes how much leeway the employee needs to get back to normal performance measures.

Ultimately, we should be focused on performance and possible disruption of other members of your workforce. Is the individual still performing and producing results? Be sure not to measure how they do their job. Instead, measure what they produce and the quality of their work. If there are acceptable results the road to productivity should not be questioned. Also, do not question minor ups and downs. Be prepared to be compassionate if there is a big dip in production.

Do not use emotions or gut feelings to make decisions. Mistakes can happen and emotions can run high about the potential repercussions of these mistakes. If they cost the organization losses it may be time to take action with the responsible party. If it did not, it may be inconsequential.

Either way, the measurable results (data analytics) will lead the way to your best decision. If you must take a time-out to let your emotions subside don’t hesitate. Mistakes and failure are the best learning experience and will lead to a much improved workplace and higher productivity if not disciplined. If we discipline for mistakes and/or failure we kill productivity and morale.

This all points to data analytics as your key to measuring productivity. If you are not relying on data how are you measuring? It is simply not acceptable to measure by “gut feeling” or “intuition”. If that is how you are managing your people it is not a reliable measure, yet millions of managers rely on it.

If you have seen the movie “Money Ball” you know what I am talking about already. Science doesn’t lie. If we base our business decisions on gut feelings or intuition we will ultimately lose. The data will show that they will be bad decisions a higher percentage of the time. Is that the way you want to run your business or department?

So how do you start managing smarter? You start by recording data. Start keeping spreadsheets for everything. Hire someone who is good with data entry and/or buy a software that will help. Once collected, look at the data and analyze it. Your data can lead to decisions based on what the data is trending. It is a simpler and smarter way to manage people and your business. It will take some work to get the data and it will be well worth it when you see the results.


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