Transforming HR Through People Analytics: From Execution to Strategy

Transforming HR Through People Analytics: From Execution to Strategy


In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, HR departments are increasingly recognizing the transformative power of people analytics. The modern human resources department uses analytics for everything from workforce planning to talent retention. 

We got several valuable insights into this phenomenon during our webinar “The Business Value of People Analytics.” This panel discussion featured Shane Noe, VP of people operations at ClickUp, and Jessica Milligan, senior manager of talent technology at Milwaukee Tool.

As Milligan aptly puts it, “You’re no longer the group that’s showing up, saying, hey, our people and culture are really important. You’re the one coming to the table saying here’s the trends. Here’s what’s happening. Here’s the data behind it that is leading to my analysis saying that we need to be investing in X, we need to be looking at Y.”

The question is, has your organization embraced the power of HR analytics? Here’s everything you need to know about this transformative approach to gaining HR insights. We’ll also provide some exciting insights from our webinar.

What Is HR Analytics?

Human resources analytics, also known as workforce analytics or talent analytics, refers to the practice of using data analysis techniques and tools to gain insights into various aspects of the workforce. 

This process involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data related to employees and HR processes to inform your strategic decision-making and optimize organizational performance. 

To achieve this, you’ll need to tap into a wide range of information, including insights from your human resources information systems (HRIS), performance management software, employee surveys, and external data sources, such as market trends and industry benchmarks. 

By applying statistical analysis, data visualization techniques, and predictive modeling, you can uncover valuable insights and inform your HR strategy. In turn, you can increase efficiency in talent development by listening to what metrics like engagement and satisfaction tell you about the needs of the workforce.

The Role of Data in HR’s Evolution

Adding data to the mix has helped human resources personnel more effectively manage their teams, nurture talent, and retain staff. Let’s look at five specific ways in which data analytics has helped HR evolve into a nimble, information-driven entity. Today’s HR leaders are using analytics for:

Strategic Decision-Making

Visionary human resources teams are using analytics to become proactive, strategic partners. By leveraging real-time insights, you can make informed decisions that align with organizational goals and move away from a reactive support function. 

For instance, you can use data analysis to understand emerging workforce trends and modify your hiring and recruitment strategy to align with the needs of today’s employees. Additionally, you can pinpoint skills gaps and identify areas where your business needs to improve. 

Simply put, data analytics positions human resources to be a meaningful partner for business leaders. Instead of putting out fires and addressing challenges after they arise, you can help mitigate many of them before they impact company culture.

Predictive Analytics

One of the most exciting subsets of HR analytics is predictive analytics, which enables you to anticipate future workforce trends and behavior with greater accuracy. 

By analyzing historical information and identifying patterns, you can forecast workforce needs, predict turnover rates, and anticipate skill gaps. This enables your organization to proactively plan for recruitment, training, and hiring.

Additionally, predictive modeling gives you an opportunity to be first when it comes to adopting important policies, such as offering wellness stipends or integrating hybrid work into the business model. Making these changes early on can help you appeal to the next generation of talent and maintain an edge over the competition.

Talent Acquisition and Recruitment

The best organizations are using HR analytics to retool their recruiting and talent acquisition strategies. By leveraging data-driven insights, your HR department can optimize its recruitment processes, target candidates more effectively, and improve applicant experiences. 

That’s not all! By listening to the information you gather, you’ll be able to identify the most impactful recruiting channels and create more engaging campaigns. Ultimately, these changes will help you draw in more high-quality applicants who support the long-term goals of your business.

Employee Engagement and Retention

Keeping employees engaged and productive is a foundational element of business success. Through analytics, you can identify what matters most to your team and align company policies with those preferences. Some of the sources of information you can measure include:

  • Employee feedback
  • Performance metrics
  • Data from exit interviews

Learning and Development

Data analytics has revolutionized the way businesses approach learning and development initiatives. By following suit, you can take the guesswork out of administering employee training and education, thereby creating more effective workers. 

For example, you can administer skills tests and identify each person’s area of need. Then, you can deliver targeting training that makes them a more valuable asset to the organization. With the right assessment tools, you’ll even be able to pinpoint high-potential employees and cultivate the next generation of business leaders.

Building Credibility With Data-Driven Decisions

For years, the human resources department has been viewed as a reactive problem solver. However, HR analytics can position your team as an invaluable asset and build the department’s credibility within your organization. 

By tapping into quantifiable information, your team can demonstrate the tangible impact of its initiatives on key business outcomes, thereby earning the trust and confidence of senior leadership and other stakeholders. 

For example, you can use analytics to optimize recruitment strategies and reduce time-to-hire. You can present the impact of your efforts to the leadership team and showcase the value of HR. 

Similarly, integrating real-time information into your employee engagement initiative can result in higher retention rates and increased productivity. Through analysis and measurement, you can demonstrate what changes you made, how they impacted the business, and the tangible business benefits HR delivered. 

However, as we discussed in the webinar, you must be confident that your analytics data is right before you share it. Once you put those insights out there, it’s hard to reel them back in, even if they’re incorrect.

Implementing People Analytics: A Step-by-Step Guide

Rolling out an HR analytics strategy may seem daunting. The good news is that you don’t have to launch an organization-wide program on day one. Instead, you should start small and then scale your initiative after you’ve demonstrated its efficacy. Here’s how:

Define Relevant Objectives

Begin by clearly defining the organizational objectives that you aim to achieve through people analytics. Whether you want to boost engagement or address retention issues, it’s vital that your objectives are specific, measurable, and realistic. 

Next, identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your big-picture objectives. KPIs allow you to track your progress and measure success. 

As mentioned in the panel discussion, it’s important to look at the right stretch of data and consider it holistically. Don’t become hyper-fixated on a small segment of time if it’s not truly representative of the whole.

For example, if you’re looking back at sales trends over the last two years, keep in mind that each individual month only tells a snippet of the story and shouldn’t define the insights you draw from the entire analysis.

Assess the Quality and Availability of Your Data

Now, it’s time to shift your focus to your data. Consider where it’s located, such as on your HRIS, and whether you can easily access it or not. The information must also be accurate and reliable. Otherwise, the results of your analytics reports will be skewed and misleading.  With that said, it’s not all about the tools. During our webinar, Shane Noe emphasized the importance of data integrity. He elaborated that properly training recruiters and HR personnel to monitor their own data integrity was critical to ensuring adequate quality.

Upgrade Your Tech

You’ll need powerful HR analytics tools to put all of that data to work. Consider solutions that readily integrate with your existing technology stack and ensure that the platform you adopt offers a user-friendly experience.

Improve and Scale

Once your HR analytics strategy goes live, pay close attention to the results. Are you consistently achieving your goals? If so, fine-tune the program to make it even more impactful and then scale. 

Avoid trying to tackle too many projects at once, as doing so can overwhelm your team and dilute your efforts. Instead, tackle the most pressing business challenges first. 

Also, keep in mind that perfection isn’t your goal. As Milligan put it in our panel discussion, “Show me a system, and I’ll show you bad data.” That is, you will always be able to find bad or imperfect data in your system. The goal is to minimize it and continually improve the efficacy of your analytics strategy.

The Future of HR as a Data-Driven Function

The human resources department of tomorrow is one guided by real-time data and powerful modeling tools. To learn more about the role of analytics and reporting in the world of HR, check out the full version of our panel discussion on the business value of people analytics.

If you are ready to embrace HR analytics, book a free demo with PeopleInsight. Our nimble analytics tool offers plug-and-play functionality, a user-friendly layout, and actionable insights about your workforce.