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Five ways to make employees comfortable with analytics

Many managers want to run on analytics, but without turning their organizations into numbers factories. Here's how.

Analytics may seem like a dark art to many businesspeople. And the thought of relying on systems to make decisions about customers is threatening. Yet, the ability to embrace analytics can mean maintaining a competitive edge, so it's important that everyone be comfortable with the approach.

As mentioned in my interview last week with Jeanne Harris, who just published Analytics at Work with co-author Tom Davenport, analytics needs to be accessible to organizations of all sizes and persuasions. Many managers and executives want to run on analytics, but without turning their entire organizations into numbers factories. After all, businesses thrive on the very human qualities of passion and innovation.

Wayne Turmel, writing in BNET, culled five key points on making analytics comfortable for all concerned:

Communicate the reason for gathering information: Employees need to have a context for the reports they're expected to generate or digest.

Ask employees what the numbers mean to them: "Try asking your  team, 'What surprised you most about what you were spending time on?' 'What was the biggest time waster on this project?."

Let the wonks on your team shine: Give everyone a chance to make their voice heard. "Often the most insightful, analytical people on your team are also the quietest or the ones who don’t tend to dominate conference calls."

Use your tools to share the data: Make data and analysis readily available, so those with new insights can quickly dive in.

Share the insights: Make sure employees see the fruits of their data-gathering.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com