Updated: Jun 21
Data analytics isn't a new concept, but HR has been asleep at the wheel on people analytics for far too long. Many functions, such as Sales, Marketing, and Operations, have already adopted practices to understand advertising campaign performance, the probability of converting sales prospects, or how much product is likely to be purchased and distributed. In HR, a vast amount of data exists across the candidate-employee lifecycle, and with an increased focus on employee retention, improving DE&I outcomes, and employee productivity, People Analytics has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have.
To be a strategic advisor, you need to lead with data. Without data, you can't confidently answer business questions, make great decisions, or shape strategy. Most business leaders now realise that People Analytics is a way to gain a competitive edge in the market but most teams don't know where to begin.
So where do you start? In this article, we'll share examples of where and how People Analytics can deliver a competitive advantage and support your elevation towards the top. We'll also discuss the benefits and challenges of People Analytics, as well as a five-step plan to help you get started.
We’ve already spoken a bit on the “why” of People Analytics, but it’s important to look a bit deeper at the “how”, as in, how exactly will People Analytics help you with your bottom line, your KPIs, and the other things that matter to you as an HR professional.
Workforce Planning: People Analytics helps organisations plan their workforce by providing insights into employee retention and the future talent needs of the organisation. This information ensures that you have succession planning in place and can help you understand Talent insights in external and internal labour markets.
Hiring Process Optimisation: People Analytics can help organisations optimise their hiring processes by identifying the best sources of talent, reducing time-to-hire, and improving the candidate experience. It can also help you improve your hiring outcomes such as time to hire and quality of hire, and ensure your DE&I outcomes
Elevate Employee Experience: By analysing data on employee engagement, satisfaction, and other key metrics, organisations can identify areas for improvement and take action to create a better employee experience. When you have detailed data on what your candidates are looking for, you can start to serve them up personalised, targeted offerings, instead of simply using the scattergun approach.
Nothing in life is free, and People Analytics does come with its own set of challenges. When sitting down to work through a solution that’s best for your company, it’s important to consider:
The cost: Implementing People Analytics can be costly, requiring investment in technology, data management, and analytics capabilities.
The time: Developing a People Analytics capability can take time, requiring investment in people, processes, and infrastructure.
And the complexity: People Analytics can be complex, requiring skills in data analysis, statistics, and data visualisation.
How to get started
If you’ve already done a little research into People Analytics, it may be overwhelming on just how to actually get started. Our recommendation to clients is to start small, keep it simple, learn fast and continually improve. Remember that your People Analytics journey is an iterative process, and will shift and change throughout. Here’s our 5-step plan to get you started.
Take stock: Look at your current reports/dashboards and ask: who reads them? If no one reads them, bin them. If you're not sure, stop sending them and see who asks. Ask yourself if they convey the correct information. (If assumptions have changed over time, this can be a hard but important discussion) Which parts do report consumers find actionable? What insights are missing? Really try to understand what your current capabilities are.
Define the business questions that need to be answered: What’s not measured can’t be improved, so check your systems and processes to make sure you're collecting the right data. Make sure these questions align with your overall business strategy and objectives. Also, categorise them into short, mid, and long-term, as they may change over time. And don't forget, these questions need to be measurable so that you can show the impact of any interventions.
Develop analytics capability and capacity: When starting out with People Analytics, you must decide how to get the talent you need. You can either hire someone new (buy), rent a contractor for a specific time (borrow), or develop the skills in-house (build). Keep in mind that building your team takes a long time and can be expensive, and buying talent gives fast results but costs more. Borrowing through a managed service such as seeHR can give great results at a flexible, lower cost.
Prioritise: As your journey into People Analytics progresses, you’ll reach a number of ‘horizons’, and will have to master them before moving on. For example, if you’re just getting started with analytics, your first horizon might be to efficiently produce data visualisations with a high degree of quality. Resist the urge to try and jump right to predictive analytics - prioritise the horizon that you have yet to conquer.
Continually improve: As with anything, People Analytics is not a “one-and-done”. For every question you answer with your people data, you’ll likely find two new ones, and using your new wealth of information to consistently refine and identify will form your ongoing People Analytics strategy. It's important to continue meeting and listening to the business to stay up-to-date with their evolving strategy and objectives and make necessary adjustments to the measurements and visualisations accordingly.
“No matter how much you’ve done, or how successful you’ve been, there’s always more to do, always more to learn, and always more to achieve.” Barack Obama
Stop guessing, start knowing, with seeHR
People Analytics, just like any other form of data analytics, is a complicated piece of kit that requires expert knowledge to properly operate. Most HR functions simply do not have this capability in-house, which often means a lengthy, expensive process in building it out. But there is another way.
seeHR is a managed service combining best-of-breed analytics technology and highly skilled data analytics experts to get you up and running quickly and at a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself. It’s the smart alternative for People Analytics, and the quickest and easiest way to get yourself into the game.
If you need to get a best-in-class People Analytics solution sorted ASAP, then get in touch with us today.