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Become a Data-Driven HR Function

Build the foundation for HR Analytics to improve the organization’s decisions.

  • Over a third of HR departments struggle to move beyond basic measurement and metrics (McLean & Company, 2018 HR Trends Report).
  • HR has more data than ever before, but often does not know what to measure or what to do with the data.
  • Unreliable data and lack of analytic capability are significant barriers to moving forward.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • You don’t need advanced analytics to add value. Reliable data combined with metrics that matter enables HR to add value right away while also preparing HR for advanced analytics in the future.
  • Select metrics that matter to clients to include in dashboards. This focuses HR resources on what will have the highest impact and address client needs.
  • Perfect data and dashboards miss the point. Clean data just enough to use for decision making, and iterate dashboards based on client feedback.

Impact and Result

  • Create a data plan that identifies metrics that track progress towards specific client needs to ensure that data adds value to the organization – right away.
  • Build the foundation for data-driven HR by addressing key gaps in data governance, analytic capability, and data adoption.
  • Build dashboards that drive action by leveraging data analysis, insight generation, storytelling, and data visualization best practices.

Become a Data-Driven HR Function Research & Tools

2. Select metrics that matter

Prioritize clients and prepare to build dashboards.

3. Create a dashboard

Design an optimized dashboard.

4. Plan for the future

Develop procedures to standardize HR data and insights for adoption.

Data-Driven HR

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How to complete this course:

Use these videos, along with the Project Blueprint deck above, to gain an understanding of the subject. Start with the Introduction, then move through each of the Course Modules. At the end of each Module, you will be required to complete a short test to demonstrate your understanding. You will complete this course when you have completed all of the course tests.

  • Number of Course Modules: 5
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Learning Outcome

Reliable data combined with metrics that matter enables HR to add value to the organization. This course will help you to take stock of your ability to deliver meaningful HR metrics & analytics, focus your resources on what will have the highest impact and address client needs, and make a plan for continuing to improve to become a data-driven HR function.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Define and assess the foundations required for HR metrics and analytics.
  • Select and prioritize HR metrics that matter to clients.
  • Incorporate best practices into HR dashboard design, including data analysis, insight generation, storytelling, and data visualization.
  • Identify strategies to improve HR’s ability to use data to support organizational decision-making.

All of our McLean Academy courses have closed captioning available. To turn this function on, click on the C.C. in the bottom right corner of the video screen and click "English" on the options that pop-up.

Course Modules

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Data-Driven HR Introduction: Become a Data-Driven HR Function

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Data-Driven HR Module 1: Assess HR metrics and analytics foundation

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Data-Driven HR Module 2: Select metrics that matter

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Data-Driven HR Module 3: Create a dashboard

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Data-Driven HR Module 4: Plan for the future

Workshop: Become a Data-Driven HR Function

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Define a Vision and Identify Metrics

The Purpose

  • Define a vision for HR analytics and evaluate how it compares to the current state.
  • Prioritize clients for HR dashboards.
  • Begin to create a dashboard.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Defined vision for the future of HR analytics.
  • First half of dashboard prototype completed.




Draw desired future state and current state of HR analytics.


Review the results of the Foundation Assessment.

  • Assessment results reviewed and key gaps identified.

Identify and prioritize clients.

  • Prioritized list of clients.

Define client needs.


Brainstorm metrics.


Prioritize and select metrics.


Determine cadence and number of dashboards.

  • Client needs and metrics documented.

Module 2: Build Two Dashboard Prototypes

The Purpose

Complete two dashboard prototypes for different clients.

Key Benefits Achieved

Two dashboards with metrics that are logically connected to client needs.




Design the dashboard prototype.

  • Drafted dashboard prototypes (2)

Define client needs.


Brainstorm metrics.


Prioritize and select metrics.


Determine the cadence and number of dashboards.


Design the dashboard prototype.

Module 3: Create Action Plan

The Purpose

  • Create definitions for key metrics.
  • Create action plans to turn prototypes into reality and improve the ability of the HR function to use data.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Metrics dictionary to help with data governance and dashboard understanding.
  • Action plan to operationalize dashboards provides clear path to turn prototypes into reality.
  • Plan to address foundational gaps addresses challenges in broader HR function.




Build a metrics dictionary for key metrics.

  • HR metrics dictionary

Identify required competencies for HR metrics and analytics.

  • Identified required competencies

Design an action plan to create and implement prototype dashboards.

  • Dashboard implementation action plan

Create a future state plan to address foundational gaps.

  • Future state action plan

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 10 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Assess the foundation
  • Call #1 - Discuss the results of the HR Metrics & Analytics Foundation Assessment and identify gaps.
  • Call #2 - Identify and prioritize clients for metrics and analytics.

Guided Implementation #2 - Select metrics that matter
  • Call #1 - Identify and prioritize client needs.
  • Call #2 - Review selected metrics and discuss cadence of dashboard delivery.

Guided Implementation #3 - Create a dashboard
  • Call #1 - Review prototype dashboard to ensure it incorporates best practices in data visualization and storytelling.
  • Call #2 - Discuss stakeholder feedback.

Guided Implementation #4 - Plan for the future
  • Call #1 - Review the future state plan to produce initial dashboard(s) and build the foundation for data-driven HR.
  • Call #2 - Discuss appropriate data governance mechanisms for your organization.
  • Call #3 - Prepare a business case for additional analytics resources.
  • Call #4 - Determine solutions to data adoption barriers.


  • Omer Aziz, CHRO, Flight Network
  • Mark Benton, WFM Budgeting and Planning Manager at The Co-operative Food
  • John Boudreau, Research Director, Centre for Effective Organizations and Professor, Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California
  • Robert Carlyle, Senior Director, Strategic Workforce Management, RBC
  • Andy Charlwood, Professor of HRM, University of Leeds
  • Valarie Dillon, Executive Director, Human Resources & Volunteer Services, Scouts Canada
  • Irma Doze, Managing Director, AnalitiQs
  • Heidi Epley, HR Strategy and Analytics Manager, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Junia Freitas, Senior Manager, Global Talent Analytics, Scotiabank
  • Alaa Hady, Lead Consultant, Advanced Management Solutions
  • Jeff Higgins, Founder and CEO, Human Capital Management Institute
  • Sam Hill, Founder and Managing Consultant, Workforce Dimensions
  • Edward Houghton, Senior Research Advisor, Human Capital and Governance, CIPD
  • Irwin N. Jankovic, PhD, Strategic Program Manager HR, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • Kimberly Jones, Senior Director, Enterprise Talent Strategy, University of California, Irvine
  • Nikki Langille, HR Country Manager, AT&T
  • Alec Levenson, Senior Research Scientist, Center for Effective Organizations, Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California
  • Ilia Maor, Manager, HR Technology and Analytics, York Region
  • Kevin Marrs, Vice President, American Society of Employers
  • Jennifer Martinez, CEO, Consult HR Partners
  • Glen McLellan, Director, Total Compensation & Workforce Analytics, Centric Health
  • Sunil Meharia, Data Science Specialist, Teranet
  • John Sullivan, Professor of Management, San Francisco State University
  • Heather Whiteman, Lecturer, University of California
  • Farimah Youssefirad, Customer Success Manager, DataCurry
  • Anonymous, Government Administration