Analytics continues to drive business results. Companies have always analyzed their business results in areas from sales to accounting to marketing but advances in technology have made it easier to accurately track results and many businesses are bringing on full-time analytics leaders to help manage their efforts.
What is people analytics?
People analytics is using analytics to measure and interpret data related to HR. It allows for human resource professionals to understand how many people are leaving the company, who’s getting promoted, when hiring increases, and many other factors that can affect a business’s overall HR and people strategy.
What does a people analytics professional do?
The main priorities of a people analytics leader are:
A people analytics leader needs to understand the challenges that a business is facing, both specific to HR and also more generally. It’s important to have a clear understanding of how data can and will be used to shape the business environment. It takes leadership to recognize a problem or pattern and present a solution.
Developing and shaping culture
Using present data can help improve the future. A huge function of people analytics is how it can give insight into what is and isn’t working with the current HR situation. If businesses are experiencing a lot of turnovers, for instance, or have reduced employee engagement and lower productivity, analytics can help HR better understand why and identify the factors that are influencing these areas. Identifying the problems or weaknesses can help to strengthen policies, processes, and overall culture going forward.
The data collected through people analytics practices need to be used for business furthering purposes only. It should also be made transparent to employees what data is being gathered and why. Some employee information is sensitive and so all analytics should be handled carefully, with attention paid to maintaining privacy. It’s the job of people analytics professional to focus on these areas of ethics and privacy.
Many businesses have had their CHRO step into the people analytics leader position, as they are the most closely aligned with how human resources should be shaping and shaped by the business.
What are the most important things to look for in a people analytics leader?
No matter who takes on the role of people analytics leader – whether it’s the CHRO or someone else dedicated to the role – there are certain non-negotiables that should be part of the qualifications of whoever steps into the position.
- Strategic: Interpreting data is one thing. Using it to shape the big picture of a business is another. One of the most important abilities that a people analytics professional should possess is the ability to create change through data analysis and to align strategy with the insight that drives it.
- Organized: Analytics is not a one and done operation. It needs to be constantly monitored and updated to continue to be effective and meaningful. A good people analytics leader will be organized enough to keep track of regularly working towards the goals that analytics prompts but also not lose sight of additional analytic insight.
- Relational and communication skills: Like most leadership positions, an ability to work well with people is important. This position will often serve both the HR and IT departments, using IT-driven and managed technology to create HR related meaning. The ability to build relationships is the key to successfully manage this.
- Technology savvy: Sometimes the most visionary leaders aren’t the most technically inclined. That’s why many businesses choose to create a people analytics position in the first place – to bridge the gap between technology and leadership. Since people analytics uses modern analytics programs and software, a deep understanding of how current programs work with an eye towards the future is crucial in helping connect data to decision making.
People analytics leaders are needed in business to help ensure that businesses are prioritizing their strategy around the people they hire and working to use HR strategy to improve the overall business.