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By: Dirk Jonker
I often get asked to explain what people analytics is and my answer is usually the same: It’s like Clash of Clans. If you haven’t had the opportunity to idle away hours on this mobile video game, you’re missing out! The game has been wildly successful since it was introduced in 2012 by Finnish company Supercell and it’s popular with all the teenagers I know.
The premise of the game is simple: you need to build your teams, take on the world and win. Although the concept is more barbaric than the corporate world, I tell business leaders that the idea is essentially the same.
Each player needs to build their own village, grow their territory and acquire more resources. There are different types of troops – such as the barbarians, the archers, the giants and the goblins – each with their different strengths. And you have different weapons and tools that can be deployed, with varying levels of impact and accuracy.
As the game progresses, things get more complex and tactical, and you need a more advanced framework for the decision-making. At all times you need to be clear on your objectives to get to the next level. You need to make a lot of decisions, many of which are about people.
This game is played with a dashboard with full visibility of how you’re doing; there are all sorts of tabs and tools that help you plan your next move. You can see your resources – your gems and gold, for example – and how many people you’ve got. The dashboard will tell you how long it will take to train your troops, and, if you time it right, you can build your next army while you’re deploying an existing one.
In the workplace, fortunately, you won’t hear talk of a clash of clans, but many of the principles are the same. There is one big difference between this game and real life, however. Many business leaders are making decisions about their workforce without the right data, effective tools, or visibility of how they’re doing. Imagine playing this game blind, without the dashboard, without knowing how many troops you have, where they are or what they’re doing.
In the real world, many companies don’t have access to the insights that players of Clash of Clans have come to expect. The teenagers I know expect more, so why should we be putting up with less in the business world?! I believe people analytics can be just as engaging and it can be fun to try out different scenarios with the resources you have. This is what we do with our business simulation game that uses a fictional company, where business leaders, leaders of functions – like HR and finance – and other specialists get to test and learn what people analytics is and what it can do. In this game, you get to test a dataset and find out how people analytics can help you plan your next tactical and strategic moves. People analytics can be simple and it can be fun; it doesn’t have to be only about spreadsheets and advanced data models – it can be more like Clash of Clans.
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