A few thoughts on using data without dehumanizing

As we continue our look into applying data to human performance, you've probably asked yourself one (or all) of the following:

  1. “Is there proof that this works?”
  2. “How do I identify where to start?”
  3. "How do I apply the data to the human factor?”

As we address these three issues, realize that many will feel as if this process is dehumanizing. I would argue the exact opposite. People are not statistics alone; that is why the data is so critical – to define each person’s uniqueness.  That concept is supported with a four-year study conducted under strict university guidelines of the University of Chester and Westminster Theological Centre (WTC) in the United Kingdom. The personal formation study provided irrefutable results.

Benjamin Filip, a former colleague who holds a Master’s Degree in Statistical Analysis, independently validated the study results. The study illustrates an unusually high statistical improvement in human factor elements necessary for success. Those individuals who completed the Personal Formations process were able to identify their strengths and weakness, allowing them to define their roles and the cultural appropriateness of their work or profession.

Consider the following:



As dramatic as these statistics are, they are not nearly as significant as the impact on the individual personally. Succeeding in your station of life is important, but an individual’s sense of self and personal direction is essential to contributing to a team, and being able to celebrate and embrace a peer’s knowledge, creativity, value, and success.

This shows that using data does more to enhance a person’s self-image than it “de-humanizes” them. It becomes apparent to them. It gives them an idea of their own abilities that they may not have been aware of before.

This kind of self-awareness is vital to success in any industry. It’s a matter of confidence, self-worth, and knowing oneself. Once people are given an idea of their lifetime and cultural abilities, they become comfortable in those abilities and are more inclined to succeed.

(Interested in seeing more? Get the free Personal Formation study.)

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.


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.


Using Marketing 101 to build a team of quality employees

stockvault-pen-on-diagram103904 Because of today’s fierce marketplace competition, marketers are always looking for ways to build and enhance a customer base, deepen customer loyalty, and improve user experience. Marketers’ extensive use of data has paved the way to create a user experience that treats customers in ways that they want to be treated.

Guess what? Employees are individuals, just like customers.

CMOs from large organizations have known for a long time that data tells a story and provides answers you cannot get anyplace else. In turn, marketers use split tests, multivariate tests and more to make sure the information they seek is telling them what they need to know.

Let's think about marketers’ process to see if it provides insight about how we might approach dealing with the human factor. The first step a marketer considers is developing a “Buyer Persona.” In other words, asking, “What is my target audience?” and, “Who will want to purchase my product or service?”  This can be compared to benchmarking a position. Investment, time and research are important to gathering elements that are key to understanding the buyer.

Some of these key elements include:

  • Buyer demographics
  • Problems buyers face (understanding their pain)
  • Buyer priorities and values
  • Buyer habits and characteristics
  • Buyer psychographics

Marketers know that when they have this information they have a foundation for building an argument supporting their product and/or service. Most marketers will not begin a full-scale strategy trying to meet market needs until they have this data. Wise marketers learn what it takes to acquire, build repeated use, and maintain a customer BEFORE they begin a campaign.

When hiring, most organizations try their best to minimize costs and invest as little as possible, while still believing they can find the right person for the right position without any data to support their search.

Maintaining a customer is about 20% of the cost that it takes to find a new one. Should we not apply the same mentality to hiring and retaining quality employees?