Elevating the Role of Human Capital Metrics through Data Visualization

Executives always say employees are their most valuable asset, but who really measures that? Heather Torres, AOL’s Director of Global Workforce Analytics, does and tells us that all of their metrics have driven action. Heather speaks as real and as personally as if she was talking just to you over a cup of coffee.

Wondering if AOL is still in business? They are still going strong in the online advertising space. (And, believe it or not, they still have over 6 million subscribers who are still on dial-up.) Having hired Tim Armstrong as their, former Sales VP from Google, as their new CEO, there are rumors that AOL plans to go public again later this year.

Time Warner mentioned in their annual report the analysis that Heather’s team had done. They were able to see there was trouble recruiting and trouble in employee satisfaction which then drove executives to solidify a business plan sooner.

Data visualization makes measuring human capital easy. Heather shows three levels of complexity, beginning with the easiest – a human resources roster of employees with a few associated facts. With just employee ID and supervisor ID, she was able to show levels away from CEO with bubbles to represent the size of the group at each level in each business unit. As companies move to flatter organizations, this is particularly useful in seeing how deep and far away from the CEO the “bubbles” are.

Taking it to the next level, Heather’s team created an employee survey dashboard that highlighted the results of the monthly surveys they do regularly on just a subset of randomly chosen employees. With this they have been able to change behavior including moving a 40% satisfaction rate with communication in one division to almost 75%.

Finally, Heather’s most sophisticated metric application draws on an OLAP cube where she can slice and dice to her heart’s content. Using Tableau as the interface, she has action to hundreds of metrics going back over three years.
Super-fascinating metrics Heather shared. Great insights. Heather says, “Tableau let us live out the ideas we dreamt of doing”

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