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Using people analytics to generate insights and inform business decisions

Author: Graham Brown

Contributing author: Sarah Thompson


  • People analytics involves collecting, analysing and using data about an organisation's employees and business performance to provide business insights, solve business problems and inform business decisions and strategy. (See What is people analytics?)
  • Engaging in people analytics can provide a firm foundation for making business decisions. This can impact positively on the organisation's bottom line. (See The business case for using people analytics)
  • To make effective use of people analytics, HR practitioners need to possess certain skills, and the organisation may need to provide training to upskill them. (See Upskilling the HR team)
  • HR will need to persuade the senior management team to invest in people analytics. (See Gaining buy-in from senior management)
  • Standard software programmes can be used to perform basic people data analysis, but more advanced statistics software is likely to be necessary for more complex analytics. (See Software)
  • When deciding on the focus of a people analytics project, the HR team should identify a significant or pressing business problem in relation to which they can use data to inform action. (See Identifying the objectives of the project)
  • After defining the objectives of the exercise, HR should develop metrics around the business issue to be addressed. (See Deciding what to measure)
  • The HR team need to gather data to obtain the required metrics. The organisation may already be collecting the relevant data or may need to establish a new data collection process. (See Collecting data)
  • Cleaning data prior to analysis is important in ensuring the accuracy of the data. (See Cleaning the data)
  • Analysing the data involves establishing basic insights and then carrying out further analysis to identify trends and establish correlations. (See Analysing the data)
  • HR should communicate the outcome of the analysis to senior managers and other stakeholders in the organisation. Data dashboards are a useful way of presenting the analysis to senior leaders. (See Communicating the analysis)
  • The HR team should use the information from the analysis to make or recommend business decisions. (See Using data to make business decisions)
  • It is important for HR to assess the success of any actions taken as a result of the data analysis. (See Measuring success)
  • Undertaking people analytics amounts to processing personal data, so the HR team need to comply with data protection rules. (See Data protection)