The past few years have seen seismic shifts affecting the global workforce. Statistics from the UK Government alone reveal that during the Covid pandemic almost 50% of the nation’s workforce was working from home in one capacity or another. These lingering changes to business dynamics brought new and unique challenges in how businesses managed and understood their workforce, as well as maintained ongoing operations. 

The ability for enterprises to adapt and make informed decisions has never been more crucial as countries emerge from the pandemic, and data dashboards have proven themselves to be extremely powerful tools for accountants and SMEs in achieving this. Predictive analytics and real-time insights continue to improve, becoming increasingly important for enterprises looking to make informed, proactive business decisions. 

Going forward, we will explore further into the ongoing transformative role of data dashboards in workforce management, looking at their impact on strategy and operational efficiency, as well as how businesses can utilise them to adjust and plan. Through data dashboards, complex workforce data can be translated into lucrative, actionable financial intelligence. We will also look at the basics of data dashboards and how they apply to diverse business scenarios, uncovering how pivotal good data can be in steering enterprises through workforce environment challenges. 

Fundamentals of Data Dashboards 

Adequately functioning data dashboards, while primitive compared to modern iterations, have existed in business since the 90’s, and over the decades have become an integral part of business performance management. Modern dashboards, utilised most frequently by business leaders, HR directors, and managers, help create a centralised platform where vital metrics and KPIs are displayed via infographics like tables, graphs, and charts. Through this data, the precise, real-time analytics of a business’s performance and overall operational health can be gathered and maintained, helping to facilitate timely and informed decisions. A variety of data dashboard types can be implemented by businesses to service different needs, including analytics, operational, and strategic dashboards – terms we will look at in more depth later. 

The benefits of comprehensive, well-presented data dashboards continue to prove beneficial for businesses across all industries, and are completely necessary once an enterprise reaches a substantial growth threshold. Up-to-date workforce data across relevant departments means business owners can make real-time, strategic decisions to benefit the workforce and overall business successes. Dashboards also improve a business’s operational efficiency by streamlining and automating data collection, saving time and resources in the process. With the advance of technology, modern dashboards are also capable of predictive analytics, making them capable of forecasting trends and predicting outcomes, helping businesses plan future scenarios, manage risks, and frequently adjust their operation strategies. 

Detailed Data Dashboards in Workforce Planning 

Strategic Workforce Planning: 

A well developed workforce plan should align all divisions of a business with long-term goals, be it productivity, training, financial objectives, or any other aim that a company can bring its workforce together to strive for. The collated data should compile information on details such as workforce skill progression, individual and team performance, and personal development, overall aiming to support planning for growth and change throughout the business. 

Operational Workforce Planning 

Operational workforce dashboards should aim to provide insights into the current utilisation of the workforce as a whole. By identifying areas where improvements in productivity can be made, preferably while avoiding the disgruntlement of staff, weaker departments can be brought up to speed via effective resource allocation. 

Tactical Workforce Planning 

Dashboards helping to generate tactical workforce plans should account for events such as unforeseen market fluctuations or staff shortages which could create short-term challenges that would need to be rapidly addressed. Preparing for scenarios that involve adapting to shifts in demand, including workforce availability, will help to maintain operational continuity should real problems arise. 

Scenario Planning and Predictive Analysis 

Similarly to tactical workforce planning, scenario planning using accurate, deep data analysis means businesses can simulate various business conditions, and generate forecasts on how they might impact the workforce. Market expansion, product launches, and tech changes to name a few are some scenarios that can be run through. Predictive analysis of the workforce also helps to proactively plan for recruitment and training. 

Implementing Data Dashboards in Business 

A well developed strategy for implementing data dashboards into a business’s operations will be the most effective way to bring the most benefits. Attention to detail, and ensuring individuals who have an extensive knowledge of the workforce and its operations, as well as an understanding of the common pitfalls experienced in the workforce will go a long way to developing effective boards that will benefit the company most. Below are some common things to consider: 

Steps to Implement Data Dashboards: 

  • Goal Setting: Presenting clear objectives and presenting them through easy to understand infographics is the best way to approach dashboard presentation. All areas of workforce development can be considered, be it task efficiency across any department, tracking sales performances, or monitoring project progress to name just a few, clear goals should help shape the design and functionality of your dashboard. 
  • Choosing the Right Platform: Selecting the right infographic type and platform to present your data through will further help your audience understand exactly what needs to be achieved, and align your workforce with the same goals. 
  • Customising Dashboards: Each dashboard should be tailored to individual goals. If it makes more sense to use a pie chart to present competing department sales, or a bar chart to demonstrate increasing or decreasing monthly cash flow, the simplest, easiest to understand interface will ensure the dashboard provides actionable insights. 

Common Pitfalls in Implementing Dashboards: 

  • Overloading with Data: Present the most important points of your data and avoid cramming too much data into a single dashboard. If the actionable insights are unclear, your workforce will not be focused on the intended goal, and important decisions may be missed. 
  • Neglecting Data Quality: Along the same line as poorly presented data, if the data you are inputting is inaccurate, it will reflect. Ensure your numbers and information is up to date, as errors will lead to incorrect conclusions, and worse, misguided business decisions. 
  • Ignoring User Feedback: Dashboards need to strike a balance between simplicity and detail. Failing to consider the needs and feedback of the dashboard users can result in a tool that is not useful or user-friendly, and will also mean your workforce is going to struggle. 

Best Practices for Dashboard Design and Usage: 

  • Keep It Simple: While the simplicity of your dashboard’s presentations is important, ease of use and navigation should also be considered. Properly organised and intuitive dashboards will help the workforce use and understand the interface, ultimately leading to improved decision making and goal alignment. 
  • Regular Updates and Maintenance: Regularly updating a dashboard with information and figures will ensure the data remains relevant and up to date as business needs scale up and evolve. 
  • Training and Support: As teams grow or new members of the workforce join an organisation, adequate training should be provided to support new users, ensuring they can make the most of your dashboard, and quickly integrate with the workforce. 

These general steps towards creating data dashboards offer business leaders advice on avoiding common pitfalls associated with poorly presented data and KPIs. By following simple formulas and best practices, businesses can implement dashboards that drive informed decisions across the entire workforce, helping to create a data driven culture that is aligned to achieving goals and achieving growth. 

The Future of Data-Driven Decision Making 

As the adoption of data-driven decision making continues to grow, evolve, and expand across all industries, the latest innovations in technology and data analytics are expected to revolutionise further how businesses plan strategically and aim to excel operations. The most prominent evolution in this progression has been seen in recent years with the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), coupled with machine learning (ML) systems. Couple with these technological advancements, dashboards will be capable of offering automated data interpretations and advanced predictive analytics with ease. 

The integration of AI and ML into dashboards will mean not only accurate, live data is presented, but it will also be interpreted, with actionable insights suggested based on active trends and predictive models. For example, AI can actively search for and identify emerging market trends and opportunities, potential risks, or register operational inefficiencies ahead of the time it might take for a human analyst to figure out and understand a problem within a business’s operations. ML algorithms also learn from past data, which helps AI continually improve and remain accurate and relevant. 

AI has increasingly been proven to be able to comprehend and present complex information in simpler and easy to understand ways, and in a rapidly evolving, data driven business world, leaders who are looking to enhance the efficiency and direction of their collective workforce should be proactive in adopting the technological advancements of AI. 

Parting Thoughts 

As businesses mature, and new technologies continue to rise, it is natural that workforce across all industries will continue to face new changes and challenges, it is also why business management through means like data dashboards, and the invaluable insights they bring, should continue to evolve with the landscape. Dashboards have long since transcended their traditional roles from the 90’s, of mere data presentation, but are becoming vital tools for strategic decision-making, live and integrated with increasingly aware AI programs. Modern dashboards will not only present data, but accurately narrate the evolving workplace of businesses. 

Looking ahead, with the integration of future AI and ML, dashboards will be elevated from informational tools, to predictive and advisory mechanisms that can help guide workforces towards united goals. This will have the potential to enable businesses to respond to challenges proactively, and even anticipate them ahead of time. It is likely that the future of business intelligence is going to lean more and more into the benefits that AI can offer, especially as the technology continues to develop, further benefiting the business intelligence of industry workforces across the board. 

Let Pulse’s Bespoke Dashboard Keep You Informed 

The way data is processed is changing, and so are the actionable insights it can create. The data dashboard offered by Pulse utilises AI technology and has a user-friendly design. It provides real-time analysis and valuable insights into crucial business metrics, such as financial performance, debtor / creditor ratios, and turnover trends. It seamlessly integrates with open banking and open accounting systems, equipping users with predictive analytics and actionable financial data to improve decision-making and operational efficiency.