Getting into the Swing of Analytics

Updated: Jan 6



It was the final ceremony of the US Open Swing Dance Championships. Dancers from around the world had poured their hearts onto the floor in hopes of winning the most prestigious swing competition of the year.


This time, a new partnership had emerged between two incredible dancers, and their routine was the most fresh, unique, crowd pumping display I had seen since I started dancing myself.  The people were behind them, and many were certain they would win.


The MC began announcing placements. First he announced 5th place. Then 4th. No surprises yet.


Then he announced 3rd place…


As the new couple slowly walked onto the floor jaws dropped, eyes widened, and an uncertain stammering of claps soon erupted into thunderous, supportive, yet shocked applause. The crowd was certain that the new couple would win, but the judges hadn’t even put them in 2nd.


Decisions like this are incredibly difficult. In order to validly rate and compare competitors, judges have to select the right set of criteria. Part of the challenge is that there are so many things for them to consider. They have to accurately rate and weigh the different couples’ creativity, energy, presentation, teamwork, timing, and technique (which itself is made up of many components). Whether or not the judges’ decision was the right one, my failure to predict the winner was largely because I focused on a single aspect of their performance: their energy.

The same issues arise for companies seeking to measure the productivity of their workforce and benchmark themselves against others. In analytics, there is no single magic metric. Different companies, in different industries, with different goals and different questions will require different sets of metrics to completely understand their workforce. And if they desire any comparisons with other companies, they will require data on them.


So if it is so complex, where does a company begin? Sometimes the hardest part of any endeavor is getting started, and it can be overwhelming if all potential complications are considered at once without guidance.


It is key that the metrics chosen are defensible and useful. Luckily, there are some high level metrics that are helpful for any company’s decision making (e.g. Total Cost of Workforce) and have been demonstrated to be predictive of financial success (for more detail see our white papers “Total Cost of Workforce” and “Linking Human Capital to Business Performance“). Used together, these metrics can begin to tell the story of how well a company is managing their people and controlling costs.


For a limited time, HCMI is offering a free customized Productivity Report to companies that will quantify their workforce productivity using these metrics and benchmark it against others in their industry utilizing a database of over 2,000 organizations.


If you’ve ever wondered whether your company’s workforce productivity would place 5th, 3rd, or 1st when compared with others in your industry, this is an amazing opportunity to “get into the swing” of workforce analytics (sorry, I couldn’t resist).