People Analytics

Beginner’s Guide to People Analytics 2022

Collected here is important information about data analytics for HR professionals and business managers. WFHomie wants to provide research-based insights into predictive HR analytics. We also want to address misgivings and misconceptions about them. 

People Analytics has the ability to blast remote first and hybrid companies into the stratosphere in terms of boosting employee engagement and reducing employee churn and burnout.

It requires a change in mindset about the use of data analytics in a company's overall HR strategy. We want to give remote and distributed teams the information and tools they need to make the best out of the recent developments in HR analytics and innovations in workforce planning. 

What is People Analytics?

People analytics is the data-backed and goal-oriented strategy of analyzing any and all people-related processes, tasks, relationships, pitfalls and solutions in a work environment to  advance the efficacy and quality of these systems and manifest desirable business outcomes 

The most common application of people analytics is to give managers and HR teams the tools they need to leverage data to diagnose employee engagement problems. They can then use this data to fashion an advantageous HR Strategy to provide data-driven solutions to those problems.

According to PwC, HR cloud solutions is a $148B market. There is a demand for high-quality people analytics and sterling HR Technology that match the ideal described above that the market is failing to provide. The statistical consensus among business leaders is that they’re dissatisfied with the current offerings. 

HR Technology Statistics 

Why is People Analytics Important and Useful?

HR needs to move past simple descriptive analytics shackled with damage control tactics towards predictive analytics paired with proactive solutions, and people analytics can help HR professionals achieve this transition. 

Rather than simple people metrics like resignation rates, an effective and worthwhile people analytics strategy will enable HR managers to know who is likely to burn out or resign with reasonable accuracy and then provide solutions and remedies to prevent it. 

The ability to dig deeper into the reasons for low employee engagement and high employee turnover through analyzing multiple HR metrics will allow HR to propose data-driven solutions. 

Rather than trial and error, anecdotes and intuition, HR will be able quantitatively to forecast problems and prevent them with solutions and the stats to back them up. 

Why Should HR Professionals Embrace People Analytics?

Managers in the last decade have increasingly brought data analytics to the table in every department of their company, but HR has been the slowest to adopt this technology. 

Some HR professionals fear that People Analytics and other HR Technologies will automate their jobs out of existence. These technologies will do the opposite by affirming HR’s valuable role in the workforce of the future. 

HR will finally have the means to quantitatively demonstrate the success of their initiatives. For example, you will have the tools to show how your employee engagement strategy correlates with high productivity and other KPIs. 

Too often HR Strategy amounts to trial and error because there is little to no internal data to gauge the potential success of new measures. An integrative people analytics framework would solve this epistemological problem. You can finally back up the value of your HR Strategy with hard data. 

You know and we know that what you do every day elevates teams and makes companies happy, inclusive, and productive. Yet, it’s hard to show how your HR strategy definitively correlates with positive business outcomes. 

Data is your friend, not your enemy. Let it do the talking. HR is not a cost centre, and People Analytics can prove that once and for all.  

HR has too long been synonymous with stodginess, buzz-killing, and browbeating. The science that HR professionals practice every day is often lampooned in pop culture as just being a hodgepodge of rigid technique, guesswork, and business jargon. As much as this is untrue, it can be difficult to shift stereotypes once they’re formed

HR Analytics and innovations in workforce planning will herald the renaissance that the HR profession desperately needs. HR can be seen as a dynamic vector of innovation and growth in the business world once its tried and tested practices are given statistical muster.

The Difference Between People Analytics and HR Analytics and Why It Doesn’t Really Matter

Terms like ‘HR Analytics’ and ‘People Analytics’ have been tossed around a lot in the industry in recent years to the point it’s tempting to call them all useless jargon. 

These various kinds of work-related analytics are different, at least in the textbook sense, in their focus and what kinds of information they’re gathering and the goals they’re trying to achieve. 

Looking more closely at these definitions can help teams pin down their analytical approach and their measurable goals. They should be put aside when their rigidity no longer suits the user’s goals. 

Language serves humans. Not the other way around.

Let’s start with HR Analytics. You shouldn’t be faulted for thinking this is an umbrella term for all work-related analytics, as it’s often used that way. Yet, HR Analytics is actually about measuring and understanding the impact of HR-related processes and techniques, e.g. recruitment time, and employee retention. 

People Analytics unsurprisingly is about people and individuals. This analysis factors in traditional work metrics and outputs like productivity but goes beyond those narrow focuses to measure things about the person themselves. 

People Analytics records and analyzes topics as wide-ranging as employee burnout, employee engagement, wellness, stress levels, and work/life balance to assess whether specific employees and entire teams may benefit from additional support and HR solutions. 

It’s important to point out that not everyone agrees on the distinction between these terms. They’re often used as synonyms for each other. A quick google search will reveal a dozen or so similar terms like workforce analytics and talent analytics.  

You’ll find a lot of reputable publications and thought leaders throwing around terms like these interchangeably when referring to basically the same thing. 

If you are an academic and truly interested in the granular distinctions between these forms of work-related analytics then by all means write your papers and plant your flag. 

If you’re interested in people analytics not for its own sake but for its utility in meeting your business objectives, then you can largely ignore this jargon. 

If you can pin down what you want to know analytically, why you want to know it, and how you are going to know it, then what you end up calling this particular analytical approach is immaterial. 

It doesn’t matter. 

People Analytics Needs to be Predictive and Preventative to be Powerful 

It’s all well and good for managers to increase visibility into how their team is performing and how their team is feeling. Yet, if that doesn’t translate into actionable insights that can predict and prevent issues that damage business outcomes, then people analytics is less than useless. 

Analytics needs to do something rather than just describe something. For example, if the analytics software tells you that employee engagement is down at your company then you still need to figure out why and how to improve it. 

But, if a correlation was found between lack of transparency and poor communication, and low employee engagement in the past, then you might find success in using the same strategy you used in the past in the present. 

People Analytics Integrations and Remote Team Management

If you don’t want to add analytics access to ALL the tools your remote teams use, then don’t bother using them at all. 

We talk to remote team managers every day. They tell us they worry about how their teams are doing and fret about the lack of visibility that digital barriers create. People Analytics can solve this problem but it requires trust in the process and complete onboarding, adoption, and integration. 

To be successful, people analytics projects need to have all the information about your teams from the platforms where they work and communicate. 

You don’t need to hire an in-house people analytics specialist if your people analytics platform has access to the tech stack your team uses like Bamboo HR, Slack, Google Calendar, Gmail, G-Suite, and Outlook. 

How Can Employee Predictive Analytics Boost Employee Engagement? 

First off, we have to define employee engagement. 

Employee engagement is the degree to which an employee believes their work matters both within a company and in the wider world. Does their employer recognize this work? Are they contributing to something greater than themselves?

Employee engagement is an emotionally reflective response to a company’s culture and values, but there is a unique and significant philo-spiritual edge to employee engagement. This edge makes it better than other employee benchmarks like employee satisfaction or employee happiness. 

Employee Engagement Analytics and Employee Predictive Analytics can help you track correlations between micro-behaviors and voluntary resignations. For example, you can track the relationship between the length and response time of emails and slack messages, including emoji reactions, and people leaving or expressing dissatisfaction with their jobs. 

There could be a correlation there, or there might not be. You won’t know for sure without the data. Statistics from outside your organization can only tell you so much, as your employee engagement issues are as unique as your team. 

How Can People Analytics Help with Employee Retention and Avoid Undesirable Attrition? 

People Analytics will make your HR Strategy surgically precise. Instead of just knowing how many people are resigning and what teams they’re resigning from, you can have a much broader picture as to why they’re leaving with a people analytics strategy. 

You can analyze whether there is a statistical relationship between pay levels and retention. Are low-skill, low-earning employees leaving? Or is it the high-earning, high performers of your team? 

Both problems are serious, but it is fair to say that one is worse than the other. We hope we don’t have to tell you which one. 

Determine quantitatively how the employee turnover rate is affected by things like pay levels, engagement, stress levels, promotion, and training opportunities. When you identify these correlations, you can present select employees with the information or growth opportunities they’re looking for before they resign. 

You can combine performance reviews and employee engagement insights to determine whether a particular employee is worth spending time and money to retain or is better off elsewhere. This pinpoint, an on-the-ground determination is the essence of strategic HR. 

A one-size-fits-all strategy will amount to your company trying to keep people that are not a good culture fit or who are subpar performers. Employee Retention Analytics will allow us to make the decisions to avoid undesirable attrition without biased hunches and guesswork. Tailored people analytics projects will curb voluntary turnover in your company.  

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