Digesting Analytics as Easy as 4-3-2-1

People are your central driver of success. Data analytics can value-add to your people management approach, driving performance across the organisation.

Analytics when dealing with people can be sensitive. People don’t want to be treated as just a ‘number’.

That was a great thought-starter by Mr Leong Chee Tung, CEO of EngageRocket during his speaker session “Using Data Analytics at the Workplace” at the inaugural SkillsFuture Festival Executive Series @ WeWork co-organised by Emergenetics Asia Pacific and Lifelong Learning Institute.

What does data analytics in Human Resource (HR) mean? Are people merely a ‘number’? During the session, Chee Tung broadened our perspective and shared with us the many different data sets that can be collected. For example, some companies are studying data points from their office’s motion sensors to understand their employee’s behaviours, enabling them to use that information to improve the work environment. These are the types of data that can be collected and analysed for purposes beyond improving hiring and retention rate.

This reminded me just how wide the spectrum of data analytics is. Based on the sheer volume of data we can collect, carefully study, and make sense of, there exists many possibilities to positively impact our employees. Like how data analytics has been a game-changer in many industries such as Finance and Marketing, HR analytics also has the potential to help organisations make more informed decisions that could value-add to their people management approach and improve their organisation effectiveness.

To help us understand Data Analytics at the Workplace better, Chee Tung left us with something as simple as 4-3-2-1 to remember. 

4 – Four stages of Analytics cycle
  • Stage 1: Descriptive Analytics – Based on observations on historical data (hindsight)
  • Stage 2: Diagnostic Analytics – Based on insights derived from data observed
  • Stage 3: Predictive Analytics – Data that enables forecasting and anticipation of potential challenges
  • Stage 4: Prescriptive Analytics – Data that suggests the best solution or outcome amongst various choices

Chee Tung explained that the value of data analytics to the organisation increases as it progresses up each stage. At the same time, the difficulty of collecting and analysing the data increases as well.

Although stage 3 and 4 may seem the most challenging especially for smaller organisations that often lack the tools and resources to conduct predictive and prescriptive analysis, his reminder on going beyond traditional data points reminded me of how smaller organisation like ours could explore other cost-effective methods on predictive and prescriptive analysis. For example, instead of conducting a full-scale survey, we can engage in conversations with relevant people to help us get a sensing of the sentiments from the ground.

3 – Three takeaways on the ‘Near Future of Work’
During the session, Chee Tung shared with us three key takeaways from their recent research findings on the Near Future of Work:

  • Leverage demographic changes
  • Embrace the data tsunami
  • Rethink performance management

He further provide us with three tips to embrace the data tsunami:

  • Identify key people challenges where data is deficient
  • Make data architecture decisions for the long-term
  • Set up streams of data collection for your data lakes

Through his insights into the research, he prompted us to reassess our organisation’s data architecture to see if we have the necessary resources or technology to embrace this data tsunami, which consists of a sheer volume and variety of data that is moving at high velocity.

2 – Two approaches that we can take
Chee Tung suggested two approaches that we can use data analytics at the workplace –

  • Employee’s Individual Development Plan
  • Employee Engagement

Data to be used for individual development plans and employee engagement can be collected in the form of surveys, as well as informal and formal interviews. Instead of the traditional method of collecting information through an annual feedback survey, Chee Tung highlighted the benefits of pulse survey given the speed of data transfer today. 

1 – One approach to try using data analytics at your workplace
To get people to start using data analytics at their workplace, Chee Tung challenged the audience to think of just ONE challenge that they were facing in the area of people management. He then posed the following questions to help the audience distil their thoughts further:

  • What’s the challenge you face in people management? Try to describe it quantitatively.
  • What is ONE action that you can take this week?
  • How will you measure it?

The closing point that Chee Tung left us with reminded us that sometimes it is as simple as taking the first step, and the organisation can be a better place for our employees even if we make just one change at a time. The session certainly piqued my interest in data analytics, not only because of my Analytical Thinking preference, but certainly because I believe that all our organisations – no matter how big or small – can benefit from embracing data analytics at the workplace.

This article was originally published on the SkillsFuture Festival Executive Series @ WeWork

 About the Speaker

Leong Chee Tung_EngageRocket_Emergenetics Asia PacificMr Leong Chee Tung


Chee Tung is committed to bring the same level of analytics, sophistication, and scientific rigour to managing people as is currently applied to managing finance and customers. He is the CEO of EngageRocket, an HR tech startup that analyses employee feedback in real-time to advise you on how to manage your team better.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, he was Regional Director of Gallup in Southeast Asia. He read Economics at the University of Cambridge, and has an MA in Political Science from Columbia University under the Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship (SAFOS).

EngageRocket has been named one of 20 Hottest Startups in 2018 by the Singapore Business Review, and has been featured in multiple outlets like Forbes, Bloomberg, Channel Newsasia, Tech In Asia, The Straits Times, The Business Times, NewsRadio 93.8, Money FM, Berita Harian, e27, DealStreet Asia, and others.