To say we live in a highly visual society is hardly a disruptive thought. Many years ago at UCLA, I studied Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian intellectual whose work in the 1960s theorized that the “medium is the message.” He understood that rich media channels such as television broadcasting was itself more impactful than the content it conveyed. TV, radio, movies – all media that demanded little involvement by the audience – were defined by McLuhan as “high definition” or “hot” or while books, comics and other similar media that required audience involvement were “low definition” or “cool.” And not cool in the way we use the word today. Au contraire.
Today, words and even numbers are comparatively passé. The fact that you’re reading this non-illustrated text is almost a novelty (by the way, thanks, I appreciate it). Take a look at Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Imgur, Pinterest, and other popular social media. All are visually-driven, even Twitter. In fact, most posts and responses in threads are photos or gifs with few or no words. Why write when you can “curate” and post a graphic someone has already created? If someone posts something funny, you can join in the “conversation” merely by uploading a GIF of a laughing character from a popular TV show. You don’t even have to write a single word to get your message across.
This isn’t to say the trend to go visual is a bad thing. In fact, it’s brought a wealth of benefits to business.
For example, an accumulation of data – just numbers – in an Excel spreadsheet may be incredibly valuable in understanding how something like sales goes up or down (although context is required to understand why). But take that data and portray it in a graph or chart and the information becomes understandable far faster. And, with colors and shapes, it’s far more interesting.
So it’s quite natural that, with such a ubiquitous influence in their daily lives, companies and their employees demand graphical data integrated into their work processes. Twenty years ago, it was quite a different story. But research has shown that 65% of people are visual learners; they can see, digest and act upon information faster when it’s presented in an easy-to-understand visual way. Excel by itself takes too long to absorb. And it’s hard to spot trends and anomalies. Graphic representations makes it easier to understand and easy to see where action can be taken to improve results.
In our realm of conducting thorough background checks worldwide, HireRight has grasped this dynamic and offers clients a wealth of useful data in HireRight Analytics.
Within an attractive dashboard, we can break down how long each background check component takes in a visual manner. For example, we can illustrate the complete flow of a background check in a bar chart so our clients can see what processes comprise turnaround time – how long the candidate took to provide necessary information, how long the adjudication process took, and so on. It provides all the data our clients need in a simple visual format so HR managers can have all the data they need at their fingertips.
As HireRight Analytics readily demonstrates, data presented in a visual manner is dramatically superior to older, numbers-based information for achieving business value.
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