Collective Thinking #5

Qualitative Data & Macroeconomics

The workers compensation, and health and safety and well-being worlds are filled with qualitative data and statistics. Qualitative data at the macro level is often subjected to corruption, misinterpretation and is essentially overvalued. If you have ever participated in a global survey at a large company and felt the results don’t reflect you, or a nation happiness scale (these are reported on believe it or not) how would an injured person feel when they see similar reports on recovery rates for their mental health injury? Or job satisfaction levels for their choice of career.

This information should be used in context, a recovery time is not measurable, a feeling of safety cannot be quantified out to a larger group, attitudes and levels of happiness are subjective and can never be measured accurately. Caution is required when using this type of data as it risks alienating the people who work with you. It has no insight into the culture, attitudes, and maturity of your workplace and employees, three traits that can be invaluable (also not measurable). People don’t need to be surveyed to show you have a great place of work. They will show you in their actions, observations carry far more weight than surveys when dealing with people’s perceptions.

Collective thinking pieces are thoughts on what we see in the workplaces and people we interact with every day. Treat data (particularly survey data) at the macro level with caution when looking to implement systems and strategy. Just remember how often global or national surveys reflect your personal attitudes.

~ Kain