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People Analytics: 5 steps

People Analytics
17th, October 2016
0 Comment
by Tom Haak
in  Blog

A few months ago I was speaking at a conference on people analytics. In the break I was talking to a group of participants, all from the same organisation. “What are you doing here with four people?” I asked. “We are the task force HR Analytics and we are here to see what we possibly can do with it.”

People analytics is not a luxury, but a necessity for HR. Sadly the “sense of urgency” is missing in many organisations.

People analytics does not have to be difficult.  The best is not to talk too much about it, but to get started. During my work at Crunchr in the previous year, I often used the attached picture when talking to HR teams on how to start with people analytics.

People Analytics 5 steps

1. Exploration

Often there is already a lot of data available. People data in the annual report. A recent employee survey. A labour market analysis. A report by an intern. Basic data in the payroll system. It can help to start to analyse these existing data. Can you detect patterns? Do you see relationships? Use the exploratory phase to formulate some hypotheses you want to test later.

2. What are the major issues in your organisation

This is HR Lesson number 1: Try to get close to the important issues in your organisation. HR often works on very generic broad issues. Talent management, life-long learning, increasing internal entrepreneurship .To sharply formulate and understand the business issues helps HR tremendously to get a good focus, and to translate business issues into relevant HR issues.

3. What is the current situation?

Map the current situation for each of your priority areas. This is possible with existing data, but you may also need to collect new data. Do not rely on your gut feeling, but look for hard data. Is the turnover of talent in the commercial real high? Can you compare the figures with external data? Do you know well enough what new commercial employees are looking for, and what your organisation has to offer?

4. Create the most impactful interventions

This is the core of the HR profession. We have a challenge; how do we tackle it? Which HR intervention will lead to the best results? Again, focus is important: HR often wants to do too much in too short a time. Some interventions (e.g. introduction of a bonus system or setting up a traineeship) rarely lead to rapid improvement.

5. Experiment and measure

Do not immediately implement programs throughout the organisation. Experiment. Start with group A, and do nothing with group B. Measure if your intervention in group A yields the desired result. Often doing nothing is not so bad after all.

People analytics is a must for HR. It is required that the HR team has good methodological and statistical skills, and seeks collaboration with other groups in the organisation, to learn from them (Marketing, IT).

Some useful links:

HR Trend Institute

The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organizations, and also in adjacent areas. 

The HR Trend Institute can support you in several ways. Read more on our Services page.

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About the Author: Tom Haak


Tom Haak is the founder and director of The HR Trend Institute. Prior to founding the HR Trend Institute in 2014, Tom held senior HR positions in companies as Arcadis, Aon, KPMG and Philips. The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organizations, and also in adjacent areas.