4 Critical Elements For Building Your People Analytics Practice

By Megan Steckler - March 01, 2019

People analytics has been the focus of a lot of buzz in HR circles recently. Some use it to describe HR analytics, but as we’ve discussed previously here on the blog, people analytics is generally understood to be broader in scope, encompassing data trends external to the business as well as workplace metrics. At Perceptyx, we define people analytics as a process to truly know your people, which includes how they are affected by things both inside and outside the organization.

In the HR context, people analytics is the bridge between organizational strategy and the workforce. It allows leaders to understand and capitalize on the full capabilities of the workforce, and links the company’s goals to what people are doing in the business on a daily basis. In this article, we’ll examine the four most critical elements for building a comprehensive people analytics practice in your company.

People analytics relies on multiple sources of data to help leaders understand and leverage the skills of their workforce. The Perceptyx platform integrates data from many sources, to provide the insights needed to address the biggest challenges. Sign up for a demo today.


People Analytics Enables Data-Driven Decision-Making

In my experience as a senior consultant for Perceptyx, most of the organizations I’ve worked with have a wealth of people data. They have survey data, performance data, attrition data, customer data, and more, but they struggle to make sense of it. When it comes to integrating all this data, analyzing it, and leveraging it to solve business challenges, they just don’t have the resources to make the most of it.

Establishing a people analytics practice is a critical step in taking the organization from using gut instincts and personal judgement to making data-based decisions. (Tweet this!) It can help remove the bias from decision-making and provide new insights. Building this function internally can seem daunting, but taking it one step at a time can make it accessible for any organization, regardless of size.

It all starts with having the data and being able to use it. Many organizations have the data but lack the ability to analyze and integrate it. Building that capability is critical to gaining the insights leaders are looking for, but having the insights without leaders invested in acting on them is also limiting. Each component is critical to building an effective people analytics function.

There are four critical elements necessary for building an effective people analytics practice in your company:

1. Your People Analytics Team

Building your people analytics practice starts with having the right team. Most organizations lack the bandwidth and expertise to advance a people analytics strategy. Hiring the right people to address the skill gaps is important to kick-starting capability. Multidisciplinary teams can help ensure the data is managed appropriately, analyzed, and implemented with stakeholders to make data-driven decisions.

The people analytics team needs an appropriate balance of analytical/technical skills to get the most from the data, and HR/business expertise to apply the insights gained from the analysis. Key roles include:

  • Chief Human Resources Officer: Having executive buy-in starts with the CHRO. This person is responsible for ensuring insights are turned into action and applied to drive strategy. By connecting various stakeholders, sharing insights, and serving as a change agent, the CHRO acts as the people analytics manager who directs and supervises the team and the work.
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychologist/Practitioner: Having a subject matter expert to provide insight into what questions to ask and what metrics and measurements to link provides critical guidance for the team. An I/O psychologist or other practitioner who understands the metrics and the behaviors they represent will ensure you are answering the right questions with the right methodology.
  • Data Manager/Architect: This person is responsible for pulling together various datasets, ensuring the data is clean, accurate, and ready for analysis. They can manage datasets on an ongoing basis and collaborate with various stakeholders to gain access to the necessary data sources.
  • Data Scientist/Analyst: Having an analytical, statistics-savvy team member to actually do the analysis is critical. This person should have the ability to leverage the analytics technology to uncover insights and represent them in a compelling way. Telling the story that emerges from the data is critical to ensuring it will be embraced and adopted by leaders.
  • HR Business Partners: Key stakeholders like HR business partners not only provide deep knowledge of the business—they are also users of the insights generated by the people analytics team. Gain their buy-in and feedback about the challenges and opportunities they face. Consider building capability with this group through training and resources to manage the change.

2. Your People Analytics Strategy

The business and people strategy that leaders are driving within the organization should drive the analytics strategy as well. Understanding the people challenges that impact the business and the insights leaders need is a critical first step.

Commitment to action should be at the heart of your people analytics strategy. Having the data and the ability to analyze it will not advance the success of the people analytics function, unless insight-based action is applied in a meaningful and relevant way.

Identify challenges that are a top priority for leaders and ways to leverage available data to address those challenges. Address one business case at a time, establishing credibility and building confidence in the process. The ability to apply insights to the strategy and tell a compelling story should be a critical focus.

3. Your People Analytics Data

Many organizations collect a vast amount of data through different systems and sources. Few have the ability to link those various data sources together, but this is critical for getting to robust insights. (Tweet this!)

Our client organizations fall across the continuum in terms of ability to integrate data from multiple sources. Some do basic reporting of each metric or data source individually—for example, they report survey results to the organization, or attrition and retention metrics to leaders—but don’t actually integrate the data to connect the dots. Others have leveraged our platform to start integrating individual and team-level data outside of the survey, to understand the impact of engagement. Still others have entire teams of analysts building predictive models with many data sources integrated.

Consideration of the data sources available and the accessibility of each is important, and something the team can always build on over time. Many organizations start with internal metrics such as engagement, attrition, training, performance, and customer satisfaction. As data is compiled consider:

  • Quality, accuracy and consistency
  • Data privacy guidelines
  • Procedures for accessing data

4. Your People Analytics Technology

Having the right technology to compile and analyze data is critical to ensure success. In most cases, leveraging many technology platforms is necessary to collect, integrate, analyze, and report data. Start by exploring readily available technology that is already integrated. Work from there to build capability that aligns to the analytics strategy and the insights leaders are seeking. Technology to consider:

  • Human Resource Information System
  • Analytics software
  • Dashboards, data visualization, and reporting

One of the biggest challenges in people analytics practice is the integration of data from different sources. Integration of data, analysis, and reporting is where the Perceptyx platform really shines. With our technology, we can load data from many different sources and easily see the relationships between data sets. Our platform provides a wealth of analytics capability and allows the clients we partner with to integrate many metrics and data sources to understand relationships and solve business challenges—the ultimate goal of people analytics practice.

Integrated data is more powerful than the sum of its parts.

Data is most powerful when relationships between data points can be easily identified. The Perceptyx platform is designed to allow integration of multiple data sets, to unleash the full predictive power of people analytics. Paired with customized survey design and analysis, our platform delivers the insights you need to address your biggest business problems.

Contact Perceptyx today and see how we can help you build a comprehensive people analytics practice for your business.



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