Getting started with people analytics: a guide for making the most of people data

Good decision-making is driven by good evidence, and good evidence can take four forms, one of which is data from the organisation. For the people profession people analytics is the practice of using data as evidence to understand various concepts relating to the workforce. Many different concepts can be understood through people analytics, quite often productivity and performance are explored with data but increasingly health and wellbeing are of interest to people practitioners. Very many data points now exist in organisations which can be used to understand workers better, but to make the most of them the people profession needs people analytics at its core.

This is important because we know HR often struggles with data. Our recent global survey, in association with Workday found that confidence and capability in analytics is very low, particularly in the UK. Many professionals struggle to utilise the data in their organisation. Whether it is to investigate workforce issues, measure the value of networks, or understand the dynamics of absence, there are very many issues that the people profession could be using people data to understand, but at present it appears this isn’t happening.

To help overcome these barriers and help practitioners get started we’ve developed a practical guide: Getting started with people analytics: a practitioner’s guide . The new guide, developed with Sam Hill of Workforce Dimensions, aims to demystify people analytics and provide some simple and practical ideas that will help to bridge the gap between what looks on paper and what works in practice.

For example the new guide offers some useful ideas; like the importance of segmenting audiences; not all users of people data are the same, they each have their own requirements from insights, and will use them in their unique ways. What a line manager needs to help inform a decision relating to their team will be very different to how HR leadership will frame evidence to drive senior decision making. The level of data, type of analysis required, and method of communication will all differ in how insights are utilised by these audiences.

We also look closer at what makes an effective people analytics strategy and share a framework which details the components needed to make one work. We think strategy is critical, not only to develop capability and the function, but also to signal the value of people data across the business. For this reason we highlight why it is important to integrate it in to the people strategy, and ultimately into the organisation’s overall strategy.

The new guide is now available to all who are interested in taking the first steps to becoming a data-driven people professional. Find it here.

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