When can you stop auditing your People Data?

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Never.

Of course I could just leave it at that, but brevity is not a skill I currently possess. Whether you have 1, 100, 1,000 or more than 10,000 employees in your organization, your People Data is dirty. Even if you JUST finished a People Data audit, I promise you that there are pieces of data that are incorrect, missing or duplicated. It doesn’t even matter how meticulous you are.

Why? Because your organization is a living organism. It is complex and constantly changing. Don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that you need to be in growth mode to have incorrect people data. Other causes could be: layoffs, voluntary terminations, transfers, promotions, new hires…. the list is endless. Even every single time punch gives the opportunity to have incomplete, missing or incorrect data and that process drives payroll and other downstream processes.

DON’T PANIC!

At the end of the day, we typically find these errors and omissions before they go to payroll or impact significant business processes. The questions are: who finds them and when? If you have rolled out People Analytics tools to managers and executives, let’s pray that someone in the HR world finds them first so the fixes can be made before angry calls or tense meetings are called. Believe me, I have been in those meetings. They are not fun.

So, what do we do? We cannot audit People Data every day. The answer is actually pretty simple. Set a routine. Either have one person or a group of people from each business unit, spend a small, but routine amount of time each month going through their unique sets of data to comb through what might seem like a needle in a haystack, but an important needle.

Make it a fun thing… a friendly competition. Have rewards like donuts, iTunes gift-cards and/or public recognition for the person that finds the most or the most egregious errors. The goal is to make sure the constant checking provides you with the peace of mind to sleep at night knowing that there is someone looking after your data and making sure that that call or meeting invite never comes from the Executive office.

The goal of having a robust People Analytics function/practice in your organization should be to have people around you who value the data and insights they bring. It only takes one big data error to destroy that goal. So, keep a regular check on that data. Make it part of your people process hygiene. It will be well worth it and in the end make your analytics more reliable.

Stay safe and sleep soundly.

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