People Analytics Strategy: What, Why, and How to Build Yours
If you don't have the budget for a full-time people analyst, don't sweat. Despite what popular rhetoric might have you believe, it's possible to create your own thriving people analytics strategy – even if you're not a "numbers person".
This article gives you the what, why, and how of designing a people analytics strategy from the ground up. We share a mixture of background knowledge and practical steps, so you’ll be one step closer to putting your organizational data and HR data analytics to good use — with or without a dedicated people analyst.
What is people analytics?
People analytics is the gathering and translation of human-centered data into useful information. This information is then used to make more educated business decisions based on precise numbers and measurements, typically resulting in stronger and more consistent outcomes.
More specifically, when you engage in people analytics, you combine your HR data with organizational data like finance numbers, market research, and customer data. With this, your people analytics strategy provides a holistic, informed approach to HR management.
By synthesizing all the (useful) data points you have on hand, a solid people analytics strategy helps you clarify whether or not you’re on track to meet your business goals and provides the necessary employee insights to help you reach those goals more efficiently.
Gone are the days of making vague and biased decisions based on personal preference, belief, or speculation. People analytics is designed to improve the way you do business by enabling decision making based on cold, hard facts.
Why do I need a people analytics strategy?
People analytics ensures your employees are directly driving business value.
The kind of insight people analytics provides saves money, time and headaches through improved workforce planning. You'll be able to identify skills gaps and understand which parts of your pipeline are weak. You’ll know employees’ unique skills and how these fit in with the rest of your company.
People analytics helps you recognize the value of certain roles within your organization and make sure you have the most suitable people filling those roles.
Creating a people analytics strategy (without hiring a people analyst)
There are three key elements to creating a people analytics strategy:
- Aligning your plan with business goals.
- Collecting and analyzing the data to do so.
- Communicating this to employees in a way that gets them on board.
As a leader, you know the importance of creating a cohesive business plan. Your people analytics strategy is no different. It should both support and seamlessly fit into your business goals.
Aligning your plan with your business goals
So, what are your organizational priorities and how can your employees help you achieve or improve them? The answer will be the backbone of your people analytics strategy.
For example, if your goal is improving productivity, your strategy may include increasing employee engagement. Figure out what engagement increase is feasible in what time frame, and how you will measure this.
Collecting and analyzing supporting data
Next comes data. With the amount of tech we have, accumulating data isn't the problem, nor is processing it.
The challenge is finding the balance so that you can utilize the full range of information you have on hand without spending your remaining hours on this earth sifting through it all.
Remember: you're sourcing data from your entire company and customer base, so you need to be selective in what's worth collecting and analyzing. Go for data that is measurable and consistently gathered. This will provide you with the patterns and actionable insights you need.
Communicate the results
Keep in mind that any amount of data analysis won't do you any good if it's not communicated properly. You need to contextualize your findings, along with the decisions you make based on those findings, so people can understand the value add.
Think logical, direct, and easy to understand. If people can clearly see the benefits of your strategy, they'll more likely implement it.
Explain the why and how:
Present your people analytics strategy alongside the related business goals and show how it will help achieve those goals.
Speak in facts and figures, financial impact, and personal gains so people buy in.
Tailor your message to your audience:
As with any new information, tailor the messaging around your people analytics strategy to suit each audience.
- Give the C-suite a high-level overview.
- Show your managers how it translates into their teams’ efficiency and productivity.
- Demonstrate to employees how it will improve their satisfaction and professional growth.
Do you need a people analyst, or can you DIY?
And now, the million-dollar question. Do you need a dedicated analyst to develop and implement your people analytics strategy, or can you accomplish it with the talent you already have on hand?
A dedicated people analyst will give you specialized help figuring out what factors influence your organization's performance and how to apply these insights to HR practices and strategies.
The benefit of having a trained professional is that they've done it before, they know where the potholes are – and who wouldn't want a hand sifting through millions (if not billions) of data points?
But for many companies, there is an equally compelling case against spending money to hire a dedicated people analyst.
For any area of expertise, the real benefit of hiring a specialist is when that specialist fills a skills or knowledge gap that would take hours (or years) of training to replicate.
While a dedicated people analyst is an asset, and hiring one may make sense in certain circumstances, the reality is that most small and mid-sized companies can replicate much of this skill set with easy-to-use algorithms and talent intelligence.
We're reluctant to do this because we persist with the outdated belief that technology and data are too complex unless you're a numbers person. But tech has evolved so much since that belief first took hold.
AI is now capable of doing the heavy lifting for you — in a matter of seconds. Data can be so easily collected, analyzed, and translated into high-value feedback. So, with the aggregating taken care of, your only job is to take the valuable insights and put them to work.
The bottom line: with the right tools, anyone who is a good business strategist can dive into people analytics.
Leveraging talent intelligence
As we said before, you can create a people analytics strategy without a dedicated people analyst. But you’ll need the right tools to accomplish this. One of the most straightforward ways to leverage tech for people analytics is through a talent intelligence platform.
A talent intelligence platform uses generative AI to analyze all your people-related business data on demand. The result is up-to-the-minute talent insights, ready when you need them.
With the right talent intelligence platform, you can get on-demand people analytics insights about:
- Talent acquisition
- Performance management
- Attrition risk management
In attrition risk and performance management alone, talent intelligence has been shown to save companies millions. Praisidio’s talent intelligence platform has helped companies reduce attrition costs by as much as $10 million for every 2,000 employees and recapture 100 FTEs for every 1,000 employees.
Implementing your people analytics strategy
The thing about creating a people analytics strategy is that it requires some initial legwork. It's important to be deliberate and thorough in the implementation phase. What you put into place now will determine the quality of the data you're working with and therefore the quality and depth of your information, insights, and outcomes.
Avoid rushing into overwhelmingly large plans and juggling copious amounts of data. Get your priorities in order from the beginning and start slowly.
Crucially: figure out how you're going to store your data and check your data privacy laws. Train everybody working with the data in your data management policies. There should be no ambiguity regarding:
- Data accuracy
- Data uniformity
- Data security
- Data reliability
Last but not least, use the right technology. The time saved using premium talent intelligence software instead of plugging away at spreadsheets is infinite.
Choosing the right talent intelligence platform
With data and tech, your decisions can be educated and evidence based. You can track your progress with ease and make informed tweaks as time goes on. This means consistently high performance.
If you’re looking for the right talent intelligence platform to meet your people analytics needs, Praisidio is here to help.
Praisidio simplifies workforce planning, performance management, and talent risk management by providing instant AI-powered insights about your employees. This includes real-time information about everything from productivity and talent acquisition, to performance management and risk management.
You’ll get accurate, instant answers about your workforce whenever you have a question.
Book a demo to learn more.