People Analytics is now a Key Business Priority of Successful Organisations

The Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016 study found that 77% of executives now consider people analytics as a key business priority. And if HR wants to become more relevant to the C-Suite by solving business problems, not HR problems, then this is certainly an area that they should be focusing on. To highlight further the need for HR to be more proactive it has been noted that in some leading organisations the C-Suite have removed the people analytics function from HR and placed it in operations (M. Chakrabarti, Bersin by Deloitte).


The most exciting impact that people analytics will have is that management teams will be able to make quality decisions about their employees based on a deep analysis of data rather than the outdated traditional methods of making decisions based on gut-feel, personal relationships, experience and risk avoidance (keeping in mind that 20 years’ experience can be 52 weeks of poor performance repeated 20 times because poor performance was never challenged).


What are people analytics?

People analytics is the use of people data to assist business owners and managers to make more informed, and more accurate, decisions about their human capital. People analytics applies technology and expertise to talent data which results in better business decisions across the entire employee lifecycle (attraction, selection, on-boarding, coaching, mentoring, training, performance management, promotion, redeployment, leadership etc). The long used approach of “gut feel” was never successful in the past and is certainly less appropriate now.


There are four types of people analytics:

    “What is happening?”
    Looking in the rear view mirror and reporting on what has happened in the past
    Key areas of use are employee performance reviews

    “Why is it happening?”
    By analysing past data discover why certain situations are occurring
    Key area of use are feedback surveys (180, 360, employee and client surveys)

    “What is going to happen?”
    By analysing existing data using technology and expertise predict what is going to happen
    Key area of use are candidate interview guides that measure “fit” and predict performance

    “What should we do?”
    By using the predictive data use algorithms to provide a course of action that will prevent a negative event occurring
    Key area of use are coaching reports that provide coaching, mentoring and training suggestions that are specific to the role


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What are the benefits of people analytics?

Other than assisting managers to use objective information when dealing with their people capital, rather than their highly unreliable gut-feel, people analytics offer a wide range of benefits to all types of organisations. This technology helps management teams make far better, more informed and more strategic people decisions than they ever have in the past in areas such as:

  • Attract better quality candidates
  • Make smarter hiring decisions
  • Increasing employee engagement
  • Increasing employee performance
  • Improving employee retention and attrition
  • Increasing diversity
  • Improving leadership potential


People analytics now has a clear mission

The research by Deloitte (Fig 2) clearly shows that over 85% of organisations are still looking in the rear view mirror and less than 15% are using diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics. This is in contrast to the 77% of executives that consider people analytics to be a key business priority.



Fig 2: Bersin by Deloitte Talent Analytics Maturity Model


Like all things, implementing people analytics will take commitment and purpose. But as can be seen in the infographic below, the benefits of harnessing all of your people data will be enormous.



Fig: 3

Where does the future lie?

What was once referred to as “workforce data” or “HR data” is today changing the way companies make business decisions, and every indication is that use of people analytics will continue to gain momentum (Deloitte).


The question is who will be leading the change?  Will it be HR, operational managers, executive managers or business owners? All we know is that the saying “he/she who gets to the future first, wins”, will absolutely apply to people analytics and the organisational benefits that will be derived.