People Data and Storytelling

The past 16 months taught us a lot about ourselves and how we work, including a better understanding of the nuances and power of human psychology. At the same time, the use of data and analytics for measuring and recognizing employees is also gaining interest. While these might appear to be contradictory areas of importance, that overlap is the optimal place for how we use data to tell stories.

The most powerful way to use data to convey a specific point is by creating a narrative around it; a focused story with a recognizable beginning and end. While that might sound simple, anyone who tried to put it into practice knows how daunting it can be. 

Much of the difficulty creating these stories comes from the type of data we use and how we use it to send a message. A 2021 Brandon Hall Group study found that employee survey data was the most common type of data collected (79% of organizations collect this type of data) even though it is, by its very nature, unreliable since it is self-reported. This is where many organizations go wrong: they believe that this data is only useful as a data point, reporting out an increase in percentage of remote workers but not able to determine if this has had an effect on performance (either positive or negative).

The real strength of any data point, especially one as ubiquitous as employee survey data, is when it is combined with other data sources to see what is uncovered. While this requires a working knowledge of data science techniques, companies such as Quantum Workplace use their systems to combine multiple data sources (as well as digging deeper into survey data with Natural Language Processing [NLP]) to discover a story that might point to an upcoming event.

Much of the discourse around using predictive analytics has focused on using it for things beyond most manual data such as reducing flight risk or maximizing worker performance, but the possibilities go beyond even these daunting tasks and open a way to create a more human connection among managers and employees. Using powerful systems to understand employee preferences, to discover areas for improvement in inclusion and equity, or to allow employees a chance for their voices to be immediately heard, are all employee-centric, positive applications for the future. And of course this is especially key in the new dawn of Human Capital SEC disclosures where clear reporting helps show where human capital is helping drive business performance.

In the next years, the twin trends of a more humanistic approach to the workforce and the exponential increase in the use of data and advanced analytics for recognizing and empowering employees will continue with no signs of slowing down. The time to act is now because every employee has a story to tell and every company should be listening.  

— About Brandon Hall Group Inc. 

Brandon Hall Group is the only professional development company that offers data, research, insights and certification to Learning and Talent executives and organizations. The best minds in Human Capital Management (HCM) choose Brandon Hall Group to help them create future-proof employee development plans for the new era. 

For over 27 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world influencing the development of over 10,000,000 employees and executives. Our HCM Excellence Awards was the first to recognize organizations for learning and talent and is the gold standard, known as the “Academy Awards of Human Capital Management.”

Our cloud-based platform delivers evidence-based insights in the areas of Learning and Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Talent Acquisition and HR/Workforce Management for corporate organizations and HCM solution providers.

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.