How can data help build a strong and growing business?

Fundamentally, any business must have three important things in place in order to be successful. They are:

  1. A business plan
  2. A financial plan
  3. A “people” plan

Of these three fundamentals, the one that is widely overlooked or underutilized is the people plan.

Most businesses build their companies by hiring competencies, often overlooking the Human (“H”) Factor data. The reality is that we must view the full human picture, not just a person’s skill sets. Hiring and developing the right people, who have the appropriate skill sets, are compatible with the corporate culture and will perform their function without stress is not nearly as hard as it may seem.

The heart of the matter is that merely hiring the right people is not enough. They must be kept on the right path, and their abilities maximized for the company to benefit. The following diagram will be used to help us remember the importance of not only hiring the right person but the value in the secondary steps, which must be individualized to help managers and employees attain their potential. Only then will they position themselves to impact corporate productivity, performance and profitability.

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America’s most successful companies have found that an investment in data research and analysis yields significant returns. This is a huge advantage afforded large companies over medium and small organizations. Data directs them toward bottom-line results that cannot be obtained any other way to identify, develop and retain clients. Once acquired, the data creates efficiencies and opportunities for growth and development of their business.

The challenge for most organizations is acquiring the right data and applying the gained information in the proper context. What most organizations worldwide have failed to do at this point is to use the same types of research and analysis -- already used on their business and financial plans -- and apply them to the human factor.

We must realize that our job is not just to accumulate data about employees’ abilities, but rather to make sure we are gathering the right data and applying it correctly. In fact, many organizations do not know what they need to know.

Why? Because there is more data out there than they need. There are tens of thousands of validated assessments available for use. You must be astute enough to know which data mining tool will give you the information appropriate for your corporate culture, not just information for a seminar or the personnel file to justify the hire.