Updated: Jul 22
People analytics is a methodology that allows organizations to improve decision-making by applying Big Data techniques
In recent years, more and more organizations are using data strategically sourced from their business partners. According to data from Deloitte, 71% of companies consider people analytics a high-priority tool for the success of their business and more than 70% invest resources on improving research in the field. However, it is not being implemented as rapidly as it should be.
A study from CEINSA, a consulting firm, examines how this analytical methodology is progressing and what trends will be recognizable in the HR sector in the immediate future.
What is People Analytics?
People analytics –also known as HR analytics, talent analytics or workforce analytics– is a methodology that allows organizations to improve decision-making by applying Big Data techniques to data about their employees' behaviors, interactions and character traits. On the basis of a question, experts in people analytics collect, process and analyze data obtained from evaluation systems, navigation flows, e-mails, instant messaging apps, schedule management tools, social networks, and other sources. The result of this data processing are individualized profiles that indicate which variables differentiate the study group from the rest, as well as predictive models.
Much more than a recruiting tool
While it is true that one of the most common applications of people analytics is optimizing the recruitment process, its potential uses go much further. According to Deloitte, 84% of companies use it to retain talent and 72% of them use it to increase employee engagement. Admittedly, this process makes it possible to know which factors have the greatest impact on employee performance and motivation and therefore improve the working atmosphere and help attract, retain and develop talent.
People analytics is particularly valuable to boost business success and help them reach their objectives. In this regard, it has been applied to initiatives that promote digital, cultural or strategic transformation.
"The Oxygen project launched by Google is a well-known success story. Thanks to it, Google was able to identify the practices of its best managers and use them in training sessions aimed at improving the work of employees who were underperforming. Dell has also implemented people analytics projects to further the success of its sales team," explains Josep Capell, CEO of CEINSA.
challenges of implementing People Analytics
One of the factors that could be stopping the implementation of people analytics on its tracks is a clear lack of preparation. In this regard, according to Deloitte, only 8% of companies admit to having usable data and only 9% feel they have a good understanding of which talent dimensions are important performance drivers.
Another obstacle is the lack of funds. According to a survey conducted by Tata Consultancy Services, only 5% of Big Data investments are earmarked for HR, the department traditionally in charge of people analytics. In this regard, data from Deloitte indicate that the most successful companies invest more than their competitors and that a higher investment is directly correlated to better results.
Several companies mistakenly place too much focus on individual employees' data, whereas incorporating data about employee interactions would yield better outcomes.
Finally, handling such a large volume of data, of different types and from a myriad of sources can be daunting. As a result, companies are turning to specialized tools for reporting, visualization, impact analysis, activity metrics, and other tasks.
trends that will SHAPE THE FUTURE OF People Analytics
The evolution in the analytics field is constant. According to CEINSA, these are the trends that are growing in importance and that organizations should consider to get the most out of their people analytics projects, some of which could be helpful in defining compensation strategies:
1. Real-time analytics to obtain feedback that more closely reflects the true nature of candidates and employees.
2. From the individual to the group. Whereas data analytics of individuals had been the standard until now, a group and team-focused approach is gaining traction at the moment.
3. Productivity increase. Analytics enable companies to identify the traits of their best-performing employees, improve the working environment or discover what qualifications are required for a particular position.
4. A broader concept of people analytics. In the workplace we no longer encounter only people, but also robots, chatbots and virtual assistants. This raises the need to rethink the concept of people analytics so that it includes aspects such as productivity or robot well-being.
5. Tailored questionnaires. Until now, companies used generic questionnaires to collect data from employees. These are now being replaced by more specific questionnaires combined with ongoing check-ups.
6. Transparency, security and GDPR compliance. Companies are taking specific steps such as data anonymization and encryption, and adopting solutions with GDPR management, assessment and compliance capabilities.
7. Collaboration with external partners. To leverage their expertise and apply people analytics in different scenarios, companies are increasingly employing specialized partners along with their internal analytics teams.
8. Emergence of new ready-to-use and cost-effective tools. They will make people analytics projects accessible to small and medium-sized companies.
"In today's increasingly competitive market, being able to make data-driven decisions is vital for organizations and people analytics makes it possible. The emergence of new tools and solutions will democratize the implementation of projects that used to seem restricted to larger companies", summarizes Josep Capell, CEO of CEINSA, who adds: "However, to make the most of its potential, it is vital to prepare the project and align it with business objectives, to gather essential data, to build a multidisciplinary team and to ensure the commitment of the entire organization".