Just like every other business area, human resources has to deal with an enormous amount of data – personnel related data. The bigger the company, the greater the amount of information. This includes core data such as name, personnel number, assigned organizational unit, days of vacation and information regarding tasks, special qualifications and position details. These facts and figures are not just saved in the company’s HR system or in an excel sheet to never be looked at again. On the contrary, HR data delivers important messages. It contains key performance indicators (KPIs) defined by the organization to point out trends and to indicate if something is going the right or wrong way. But the task of finding the KPIs relevant to you can be a challenge.
The question is: What is the quickest way for everybody to understand your HR data, however complex or extensive it may be? How can one easily identify what is important and what is not?
We believe: The visualization of HR data is the answer.
We are visual beings
Humans are visual beings. When observing our environment, we mostly rely on our vision – the other senses follow far behind. To be quite exact, surveys have shown that about 83% of what humans perceive is based on sight, followed by hearing with 11%.1 Sensations via smell, touch or taste range between 3 and 1%. These numbers already implicate the great potential of visual stimuli. In addition, there is also the theory of the so-called pictoral superiority effect which states that images are more likely to be remembered than words. Even though to this date there is no final explanation for its existence, the effect has been demonstrated repeatedly in several experiments.2 Based on these findings, we believe that visual stimuli contribute to the presentation and, subsequently, to the memorization of information.
How to describe…a circle?
There are two ways of visually presenting data, either by text or with the help of images. Very often, images carry the advantage of delivering messages quite quickly – everything is displayed at a glance and easy to understand. You might agree from your own experience that understanding a complex situation comes to you quite easily when it is presented as a graph or picture.
For example, how long will it take for you to understand the following description?
A closed plane curve consisting of all points at a given distance from a point within it called the center.
Wouldn’t it be easier to draw a circle instead when describing one?
1| See for example Florack, Scarabis, Primosch (2012, p. 325), or Braem (2004, p.192).
2| See for example Curran and Doyle (2011), Shepard (1967) or McBride and Dosher (2002).
The Dos and Don‘ts of HR data visualization
When visualizing data, there are a few rules to follow that provide guidance and orientation. They will help to create useful, correct and enlightening presentations.
Don’t visualize just to visualize
The visualization of data is not useful for every situation and shouldn’t be exhausted. Your audience is intelligent and able to grasp simple and everyday circumstances. Therefore, data visualizations should only be used to present complex data and/or an extensive amount of data to allow for a quick and preservative understanding.
Make the right conclusions
Even though some things happen at the same time, they are not necessarily connected to each other. When visualizing your HR data, make sure that there is really a correlation between the respective factors to avoid wrongful conclusions. For example, the following graph is trying to prove that an increase in pirates could end global warming. We beg to differ.
Global Average Temperature vs. Number of Pirates Image source: http://www.venganza.org
Keep it simple
Is your visualization easy to comprehend? After all, this is the reason it was created in the first place. Always remember to keep it simple. This example shows how important it is that your visualization is easily understandable. The graph is meant to present five values with the help of several colors, an unnecessary 3D perspective and a split axis amongst other confusing features.
Age structure of college enrollment (1972-1976) Image source: American Education Magazine, 1970s
Org charts – The optimum tool for HR data visualization
Complex content at a glance
While HR systems are perfect for managing HR data, it is a challenge to draw useful conclusions from the overwhelming amount of information stored there. Let’s say you need to know every department’s direct and indirect headcount as well as the vacancies. Of course, the report exported from the HR system will provide you with all the necessary numbers.
But how easy is it to gain valuable insights?
At this point it is still on you to identify what the figures mean for the company and if something needs to be done, e.g. recruit more employees to fill vacancies. We believe that organizational charts are the perfect tool to help you with this task.
Org charts are already an important tool in HR when it comes to management and workforce planning. They display complex structures and provide essential information at a glance. Why not add the visualization of KPIs and with that HR controlling to the list of workflows which org charts can facilitate?
This approach is supported by the fact that most of the stored HR information is already linked to a certain object, e.g. employee, position or department, anyway. With regard to our example, headcounts and vacancies could be displayed directly in the org chart, thus providing an immediate overview of departments where vacancies need to be filled or another action needs to be taken. Of course, there are more possibilities. Further interesting KPIs could be the visualization of absences, talent data, average age or budget overrun.
Ingentis org.manager: Helping business leaders make informed decisions
Ingentis org.manager visualizes the structure in a sunburst graph. Sections with costs higher than budget are highlighted in Orange.
The org charting tool Ingentis org.manager uses the information you have maintained in your HR system, or additional data sources, in order to picture your organizational structure. The solution is object and relation independent and is therefore able to depict any kind of hierarchy. In addition to displaying an organization’s org chart, Ingentis org.manager can visualize further data such as key performance indicators. The created org charts and additional visualizations are customizable – no coding needed – allowing you to choose the perfect design and content for your organogram.
Simulating reorganizations: See the effect of your changes immediately
With Ingentis org.manager it is possible to perform the simulation of structural reorganizations directly in the org chart. This includes moving or deleting objects as well as creating new ones. The impact these changes have on the linked core data is immediately visible in the org chart as the visualized KPIs adjust, thus enabling the user to make a well-informed decision.
Focusing on what is relevant to you
Org charts created with Ingentis org.manager can easily be accessed via internet browser and therefore be shared within the company. The access protection add-on makes sure that users access approved and relevant content. This feature is especially useful for self-service scenarios: Employees are able to use information presented in the org chart for their respective tasks instead of having to ask HR or another department for the data. Aside from integrating them into the company’s designated intranet portal, it is possible to export them as images or PDFs or to print them.
Why Ingentis org.manager?
Fully automated org charts
Easy workforce modeling
Custom design and content
Compatible with any kind of data source
Insightful HR analytics
Already used by 1.500 companies worldwide
Join our free software webinars to learn more about people analytics with Ingentis org.manager
See how visualizing HR data in org charts, dashboards and diagrams created with Ingentis org.manager can provide you with great insights.
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