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Hoping Won’t Get You to Your Diversity Goal

Like all new initiatives, there comes a time when a company has invested so much money that it starts to wonder when it will see a return. This is where the rubber meets the road and HR has to prove the value of its efforts. Diversity initiatives are approaching this point, especially in companies that struggle to diversify their workforce. HR and People Analytics teams seem to reach this point after about two years, especially in industries that are currently under financial pressure!

Hoping Won’t Get You There; Data and Good Decisions Will

If you’re struggling with your diversity goals, consider this. Are you using data to focus your recruitment efforts or are you just hoping you will meet your goal by telling managers and recruiters to hire more women? I’m seeing too many companies that have a multi-year diversity target but aren’t actively changing their actions to meet that target.

Let’s use new graduate hires as an example of using data to focus your efforts.

  • Are you still recruiting from the same schools that you used 10 years ago?

  • Do you have any idea how many females are in the graduating class for each school?

  • Do you know where can you find female software engineers? Female mechanical engineers?

  • What is the ethnic diversity of all universities offering a certain degree?

  • Where can I find students with a certain degree that we need for the future of our company?

Looking at this type of data can help pinpoint the actions you can take to meet your diversity goals. A custom report from Numerical Insights can help you strategically target the schools that have the right graduates for you. More information can be found here. Or, you can painfully contact each school to ask about their upcoming graduates.

Once you hire diverse candidates, what happens to them? I’ll use gender for this example since it’s the most common diversity category tracked for all companies.

  • Do women leave the company faster than men?

  • Do they leave even faster at higher management levels?

Segmented looks at your employee data will help you zoom into the areas of concern within your organizations. We’re not trying to solve everything about everything here. We need analytics to provide focus. Focus will drive specific actions.

So what’s my point here? I’m seeing quite a few companies missing their diversity targets because they fail to use the data and information available to make better decision making. Hope is not a strategy. Like many HR strategic initiatives, eventually someone will ask you to prove the value of it.

Until next time,


Tracey Smith is an internationally recognized business author, speaker and analytics consultant. She is one of the most highly respected voices when it comes to business analytics and HR analytics. She is the author of multiple business books and hundreds of articles in a variety of publications. Tracey has worked with and advised organizations, both well-known and little-known, on how to use data analytics to impact the bottom line. If you would like to talk to Tracey about consulting work or speaking engagements, please visit  or contact Tracey Smith through LinkedIn.

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