Storytelling with data

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We examine the seven golden rules of HR analytics storytelling

It is universally acknowledged that humans connect with stories rather than facts, figures or spreadsheets. As the HR analytics debate rumbles on, the industry might be better advised to heed this truth rather than obsessing over its numeracy skills.

So we’ve taken inspiration from ancient Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle, and his seven golden rules of successful storytelling, to give you seven expert tips on getting storytelling with numbers right.

1. Do your research

Good storytelling starts with a comprehensive research phase where you gather as much data as possible about your chosen topic. You can then whittle it down to the numbers that will give your narrative a clear angle. This is about asking the right questions when you interrogate the data, rather than collecting masses of data just because you can.

“Ask yourself first ‘why am I doing these analytics?’” says Vanessa Landreneau, reward consultant at Hummingbird Consulting. “It’s about looking at information through the medium of numbers, standing back and questioning it to drive a better understanding.”

2. Plan your plot

Once you have your data you need to craft it into a compelling narrative. Just as you were told at school, your story should have a beginning, middle and end that take your ‘reader’ on a journey. Christian Cormack, head of HR analytics at AstraZeneca, advises: “Have a clear storyline underpinning your presentation. For example, make the title of each slide a bold statement that connects with the business narrative. Ensure your audience leaves the room with one or two tangible bits of information they can use, however simple. Show you understand the story’s nuances and detail.”


Full article can be read on HR magazine website here