I am a firm believer in serendipity so I quickly picked up on an article in PCPro magazine on the subject of data visualisation. Wikipedia defines data visualisation as “According to Friedman (2008) the “main goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means”. When I explored the area in more detail I found a wealth of data visualization tools on the internet. The graphic above is a data visualisation of my four hundred odd LinkedIn contacts. My next thought was how could this be applied to reward?
Visualisation of reward data
The first major area that could use the visualisation approach is global market data. How many times have we reward professionals had to present international reward data; often in forms of rows of tabular data. Would it not be so much better if we could produce a visualisation of the global data? This could show geo-mapped data at one level or perhaps by industry sector or level of employee. There are many interesting permutations to explore.
I have seen a number of interesting info graphics around UK pension data; this can be both a source of data rich information as well as being pretty impenetrable when presented again as tabulated number or on a PowerPoint presentation. Data visualisation could help immensely in communicating key data to management and employees.
Interactive data presentation
One step further on from just visualising data is to make it interactive so managers can set their own parameters for looking at the data. I came across one visualisation tool that took your favourite book or musician and produced an info-graphic of similar styles and types. Could something similar be used for flexible benefits? The employee could drill down the visualisation of options to help make the choice of benefit and level a much more exciting journey than the normal drop down lists.
Mission to explain – the reward narrative
Those of you who read my blog will know that I have a mission to explain and communicate the reward narrative. To open up the black box of our profession and put tools in the hands of users so that instead of reward saying “here it is, take it or leave it” we realise that most of our employees are sophisticated consumers of our reward products and are capable of making informed choices if we present those choices in an intuitive and interesting way.
Data visualisation is not new although it is entering a new level of usability as computes become more powerful and the increasing use of tablets lead to a more visually intensive world – not to mention the alleged shorting of attention span in our internet world.
Data visualisation is, in my view, an important tool in increasing the power and relevance of our reward narrative – and it can be quite fun as well.