Developing a People Analytics Strategy

By Sam Hill, Managing Consultant and Founder, Workforce Dimensions, Senior Lecturer in People Analytics at Middlesex University and member of HR Analytics Advisory Board.

Sam is facilitating a workshop as part of the CIPD HR Analytics Conference and Workshop, 22-23 November 2017, London. Book your place today.

There are any number of barriers to introducing, embedding and maintaining a credible people analytics proposition within an organisation. Those voiced most regularly are lack of analytical skill, lack of time and lack of stakeholder support (or interest).

In my experience of working with clients, a barrier that is rarely recognised but is all too apparent is a lack of a People Analytics Strategy of any kind – let alone a coherent one.

A well thought out strategy will help an organisation focus on what really matters to the business in respect of workforce actions, behaviours and configuration.

A people analytics proposition informed by such a strategy will help transform the HR function from a service provider to a business enabler

I’m absolutely delighted to be presenting the key themes and lessons learnt from developing people analytics strategies at organisations spanning multiple industry sectors, at the CIPD’s forthcoming HR Analytics Conference and Workshop.

This workshop will provide methodology and frameworks that will, by smart alignment with organisational context, pinpoint and prioritise analytical investigations that will deliver insight and genuine value to your audience.

A People Analytics Strategy relevant for your organisation

Whilst to have any relevance a People Analytics Strategy must be driven primarily, directly or indirectly (via an aligned People Plan), by the Business Strategy; we must recognise that people and their behaviours are unpredictable, so any strategy should allow for a level of fluidity.

Other key inputs include ongoing Workforce Issues, perhaps the level of casual absence; something that is probably under continuous scrutiny and warrants regular planned analysis; or emerging issues, such as a significant increase in the resignation rate of high-performing professionals in a business critical job role, which requires an in-depth one-off investigation.

Another core input into a coherent People Analytics Strategy for the majority of organisations is the ongoing analysis of HR Process Effectiveness, for example to check, through the smart analysis of data, whether the staffing function is attracting ‘successful hires’; essentially recruits who are engaged, retained, perform well in their role and ultimately develop and progress through the business.

Again, a fluid strategy should allow for investigation into a failing process; for example a reward strategy that is not aligned to performance (in whatever form) and is perceived to be diluting the quality of the workforce by disengaging good performers and removing the onus on poor performers to improve: this is a candidate for deep dive analysis.

The balance between ‘strategic’ and ‘tactical’ inputs will be determined by the level of volatility in the organisation or within the environment in which the organisation operates; but a 70:30 split is typical.

Workforce Dimensions have developed the following overview of the core inputs that should be considered when developing a People Analytics Strategy (Figure 1).

To learn more about these and other drivers for a coherent People Analytics Strategy, please join me for the CIPD HR Analytics Conference and Workshop, 22-23 November 2017, London.

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