Guest blogger: Katy Smith, product leader—research and data
Organizations spend approximately 70 percent of their budgets on people, and efficient, effective talent management ensures they make the most of every dollar. Yet many HR leaders in higher education feel deans, academic administrators, cabinet members, and union leaders don’t take their contributions seriously.
Savvy HR teams overcome this challenge and strengthen partnerships with institutional leaders by sharing mission-critical data. Learn from their successes by following these four tips for using data to enhance your contributions, so you earn — and keep — your seat at the table.
- Focus on delivering insights into institutional priorities
When you provide information on how HR is contributing to the institution, is the information you provide tied to your institution’s strategic priorities and mission?
Review your mission, annual operating plan, strategic plan, and/or accreditation reports to understand what motivates leadership and use this as a roadmap to determine what information is most relevant. To ensure an even greater impact, look for opportunities to deliver information on priorities you aren’t yet addressing.
- Communicate the impact
Now that you’ve identified the most important information to communicate, connect the dots for your audience by showing how the data relate to your institution’s ability to achieve its mission. If you miss out on communicating this key piece, your message will likely fall flat.
HR data and analytics, which are available to PeopleAdmin customers, are powerful tools for driving strategy and decision-making as long as you understand the decision in front of your stakeholders and can communicate the positive impact of taking action—or conversely, the sobering impact of choosing not to act. The point is to bring about awareness and meaningful engagement.
- Adapt your language to your audience
Data about HR’s impact and contributions, or even just the current state of your people, will make a more significant impact when shared in terms that resonate with your audience.
For example, if you’re sharing information with key members of the finance department, focus your presentation on how to save money or maximize return on existing investments.
Be sure to also select words and phrases that resonate with your audience, and refrain from using HR-specific language—such as DEI, EEO, FLSA, HRIS, adverse impact, etc.—to avoid confusion or blank stares. If you need to use HR-specific language, make an effort to explain the word or acronym first.
- Start small
Carefully select only the most important information to present, as too many numbers can distract from your key message.
Starting with one well-articulated and impactful metric or visual can be enough to start a productive conversation that improves your institutional alignment and ability to achieve your mission. Once you’ve established the value of your input and contributions, you’ll have a chance to build momentum in future presentations, so refrain from trying to cram all the valuable information you have into a single presentation.
About the author
Katy Smith is a PeopleAdmin Product Leader focused on empowering educational institutions to use data that engages, informs, and influences positive change. She’s spent the past 10 years delivering data insights that drive action at various companies. Katy holds a B.A. in economics from Armstrong Atlantic State University.