Lyndsey Massie - Apr 22, 2021

People Analytics is a marathon, not a sprint

There has been much conversation about the growth of People Analytics and how it has been propelled into the spotlight over the last year - but are organisations realising its true potential? Here, our Managing Director Heidi Lopez gives her thoughts on unlocking the true power of People Analytics.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Whilst a cliché, I am frequently reminded of this when it comes to People Analytics. Tuning in to some of the great people analytics online events of late, you come to appreciate the growing acceptance that People Analytics is not just another HR system or module to plug in that captures data, drives efficiency or automates reports. It’s not just something you plug in, everyone ‘gets it’ after a 10 minute user guide video and they’re off and running.

Bersin’s maturity model helps us to understand where organisations are in their People Analytics journey. There are those stuck with basic reporting that takes hours to compile, needs tweaking by the only person in the business who understands the data and ticks a box as an input for the board report. There are also smaller companies where People Analytics will be overkill. They won’t have the breadth and depth of data, their needs are simple and they talk to their staff enough to know what’s going on.

Maturity Model 2
But even for an SME with 200 employees, they are often grappling with similar workforce issues as those companies with 20,000 employees. How do I know who is thinking about resigning? What’s driving absence in some areas? Why is there an engagement dip amongst people who have worked here for 12 – 24 months? Who are my high performing managers and who are the ones that require more development? And do these things actually all link together to paint a more complete picture?

Those in stage one or even 2 of Bersin’s model will struggle to get these answers without a lot of time and effort.

Understanding the goals

To unlock the power of People Analytics, it’s not simply a case of switching it on and a 10 minute user guide. It’s about understanding the goals of the organisation and what your workforce needs to look like to help you achieve these goals. Using People Analytics to understand where you are now and how you are going to close the gap is the first step on the journey. But it’s also about making this information easily accessible to the people managers and not just the domain of busy HR business partners and BI teams (where HR is often not the priority). And it’s delivering insights to the people managers that are easily understood - not just data and information.

But where next? We can see the issue and we understand some of the drivers. How do we fix it?

Get to the finishing line

Using illumin8HR, people managers are guided to insights that require action. They are prompted on the possible root causes. They are directed to content from internal and external sources to help them solve the issues. They are able to share the insight with teams, peers and HR colleagues within the product to enable collective thinking on resolutions and create shared action plans that can be tracked and measured.  

Having People Analytics in an organisation is just the first step. It’s simply a tool. To get to the finishing line, it’s about business leaders, the HR team and all people managers understanding the value of insights to drive action and have an impact on business goals.

Written by Lyndsey Massie