Does Your Organization Have Its Own People Analytics Team Yet?


In 2019, organizations have had to make major changes to the way they approach their people and their HR teams. Among these changes is the growing trend of establishing dedicated people analytics teams within their HR teams, as found a recent survey of 380 HR professionals from the world over. Let’s explore if it is time for you to build your own people analytics team.

On July 24, 2019, global online benefits company Thomsons Online BenefitsOpens a new window , a global benefits platform, released its latest research titled “Innovation generation: the big HR tech disconnectOpens a new window ” report for 2019/20.

The results, derived from data from 380 HR professionals globally, found that from 15% in 2016, the number of people analytics teams have grown to 68% in 2019, with the maximum increase occurring in the last year.

The growth in people analytics teams across organizations reveals that it has emerged as a valuable method of processing the large employee data organizations have been collecting over the years. The increase is more than 4x in a brief span of three years. One in nine companies in the report also revealed that they have the capabilities to implement people analytics in their HR teams.

Still, some companies report that they do not have the in-house expertise to process the employee data they collect.

Where are the roadblocks in the adoption of people analytics? And why do you need a dedicated team to leverage its power? Let’s find out.  

Learn More: 3 People Analytics Trends to Watch Out for in 2019Opens a new window

People Analytics and Its Value for HR

People analytics is a combination of mathematics and statistical modeling to examine workforce data, using this data to identify and predict patterns in workforce behavior. For example, people analytics can help determine the effectiveness of your learning and development programs in terms of how many people engage with it, complete it, and drop out midway.

It goes one step ahead of HR analyticsOpens a new window , which is used primarily to derive insights from HR data. However, the two terms are now used interchangeably.

According to the report, here are the top five areas in which companies have been using people data and analytics:

  1. To measure employee sentiment
  2. To measure employee adoption of tech tools given to them
  3. For succession planning
  4. To forecast retirement
  5. To measure employee wellbeing

With its vast applications, why are organizations still not using people analytics to its fullest potential?

The Bottlenecks in Implementing Meaningful People Analytics

Here are some other possible reasons why people analytics has not found its place in organizations yet:

1. Considering automation presents an implication of job loss

The fear of losing jobs to automation is real, and it applies to every vertical that has tasks that can be automated. This includes HR. But top leadership must help HR overcome this fear, by specifying how automation in the form of moving to people analytics solutions will help HR streamline its work, give it actionable insights to work with, and implement meaningful change in the organization.

2. Implementing people analytics requires a specific set of skills

HR degrees do not prepare future professionals to apply analytics. And while there are several people analytics solutions that do not require in-depth knowledge of the subject, they do need a data-driven mindset, the ability to make sense of data, and the ability to use this data to develop strategies.

3. Good quality data is not easily available

Because data is so widely spread out and contains several data points that are not useful, it is often of poor quality. Establishing and maintaining HR data qualityOpens a new window is a challenge when getting started with people analytics. As a result, having a team dedicated to the process is essential, comprising data analysts and HR professionals to clean HR data and use it to develop stronger people analytics solutions.  

Learn More: 3 Ways People Analytics Can Solve Retail’s Workforce Issues in 2019Opens a new window

Should You Upskill Your Current HR Team for People Analytics Skills?

An interesting fact that the Innovation Generation report found was that 32% of companies have plans to upskill their HR teams to develop people analytics skills.

However, 17% indicated that they would hire external talent for their requirements.

So, what is a better option – upskilling internally or hiring externally? We asked Matthew Jackson, VP of Client Solutions at Thomsons Online Benefits, for his opinion. 

Jackson says, “An internal HR team will likely have a better grasp on company culture, employee sentiment and desired brand resonance – so if insights gleaned from data and analytics are going to be used for initiatives related to those areas, that in-house knowledge is invaluable.”

But in other areas, an external analytics team may prove more valuable. Jackson adds, “A people analytics organization is likely going to have access to incredible amounts of data and insights from broad sources that in-house teams don’t have access to.” External data sets that assess global economic and workforce trends are as important in arriving at predictions about employee behavior and trends as are internal data sets.

It may be a combination of these two teams, or individuals who are armed with data – both internal and external, that would make the best fit for your organization.

Learn More: People Analytics Champions: Companies That Got It RightOpens a new window

Over to You

The Innovation Generation report suggests that using data and implementing people analytics will show a direct effect on employee engagementOpens a new window levels. “When organizations measure employee sentiment they outperform or meet their annual employee engagement scores in 92% of cases,” says the report.

People analytics is the key to taking more strategic HR decisionsOpens a new window , and HR strategy is essential in the current competitive landscape. To prepare for the future, every HR professional should have people analytics capabilities. It is no longer a nice-to-have. It is a must-have.

Jackson concludes: “The analysis of employee data and the insights gleaned will give organizations a competitive edge as they are able to make data backed decisions helping HR teams improve all areas from cost control, efficiency, and risk mitigation to employee engagement.”

As organizations grow and the pace of competition intensifies, the time to embrace people analytics and hire mindfully for this role is now!

Does your organization have a dedicated people analytics team? Tell us on FacebookOpens a new window , LinkedInOpens a new window , or TwitterOpens a new window . We would love to hear from you!