People Analytics has always been around in some form, and the good and the great have been using it to drive people-related decisions for a long time. It has provided leaders with resources and tools to generate insights that help them impact both individual performance and the collective output of the team.
Organisations use a variety of different tools and methodologies, e.g. 6 sigma, HRIS etc, and today we have the benefit of a whole host of technologies to help generate insights and interpret the data. But irrespective of the tools, the fundamentals are the same, and the most valuable aspect of People Analytics is not so much about the technology as it is the philosophy and the mindset.
For me, it all starts from a position that Prof. Dave Ulrich articulates, that ultimately HR is here to help the organisation win in the market place. It’s about optimising performance and creating real value – and People Analytics can be leveraged to help make this happen.
Defining People Analytics
People Analytics defined in one word: Insights.
People Analytics defined in one sentence: Data-driven and insight-led mindset for people related decision making.
The different applications of People Analytics
- Reporting: Collection and reporting. You are collecting data and producing reports – compliance is a key focus area as is providing trustworthy clean data – this is a very administrative process.
- Insight Driven: Data analysis and trends identification. You are doing some level of internal and external benchmarking and providing data for decision making. Here you are using tools like 360, employee engagement surveys, performance management
- Consultative: Going beyond the data. You do not just provide the data being requested by the stakeholder. You ask questions like “what problem are you trying to solve here?” or “what hypothesis are you wanting to test out and why is that important at this point in time?”When you do this you do two things:
a) Encourage the stakeholder to have a deeper think about the problem they actually want to solve.
b) Ensure you provide the data they actually need as compared to what they think they need. This provides managers with tools that generate insights that will help them improve team performance and aid discussions around their views. You are also providing required statistical analysis to identify issues and opportunities – this is where HR Business Partnering shows true value.
- Predictive analytics: improve planning with data. You are using data and insights to carry out scenario planning and build predictive models. You are using AI-based platforms and analytics are integrated with business and workforce planning. You are using data for employee segmentation and building out the different employee journeys, you are becoming sensitive to employee experience and candidate experience etc driven by data and insights. The automation of workflows using AI applications is implemented.
There are a myriad of tools and platforms you can use for People Analytics. The decisions on which would be most suitable to your organisation should be based on the specific outcomes you want to achieve and should be geared to that end point of winning in the marketplace.
The questions to get clear about first are:
a) Business and functional goals
b) People related insights that will be required to deliver on the business goals
c) Existing automation that can be utilised for HR workflows
For those looking to pursue People Analytics within their own business, it is important to address the trust factor from the start. Ensure that the main principles that guide your organisation’s approach to collecting, analysing, and sharing people-orientated data are consistent with your organisation’s values and are clearly defined.
Puneet Sachdev is the founder of The Singularity Lab