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The trouble with people analytics: getting it right first time

People analytics is rising in popularity but capability is not keeping pace. This article looks at how organizations can address the three biggest barriers to developing capability for extracting value from data and better understanding your workforce.

Published by Concentra

Our research shows that most organizations don’t have the confidence to make use of data or to begin looking at their workforce in a different way, to consider ‘work and value’ instead of ‘people and cost’. So, how do you get it right first time?

Sidestepping the pitfalls of people analytics

Our aim in this report is to guide you through the pitfalls to developing capability for extracting value from data and better understanding your workforce. We share what advanced adopters of specialist software have learned for the benefit of those that are just starting out.

There are three essential elements to a successful people analytics capability: people (skills), processes (collaboration), and technology. But, according to our research, many organizations are struggling to overcome the following barriers to building this capability. The report looks at each of these in turn:

Organizations need people with analytics skills

Data is only as good as the people interpreting it. Having the right people to develop capability is ironically what’s holding back people analytics the most. 62% of HR professionals agree that acquiring the right skills is the single biggest barrier to better people analytics and the most difficult to overcome.

HR and Finance are not collaborating

If organizations are to make headway with people analytics, collaboration between HR and Finance is critical. This doesn’t mean the ad hoc collaboration we see today, but systemic collaboration that is cultural and process-driven with dual lines of reporting.

An EY study found that there’s “a powerful link between a business’ performance and the extent to which its HR and finance leaders collaborate.”

Spreadsheets still dominate people analytics

Many organizations think they can use their existing HR system for people analytics then resort to manual methods when they realize they can’t. Producing insight on your workforce shouldn’t be an onerous task that requires several people to manually create a ten-page spreadsheet.

People analytics needs software that can quickly aggregate and visualize data, enabling you to model scenarios and plan your workforce more effectively.

A step towards OP&A

Building a people analytics capability is the first step on a journey to a new, forward-looking approach to HR called Organizational Planning and Analysis (OP&A). 92% of decision makers agree that HR should have this capability.

We know it takes time but there’s nothing to stop you starting now. The better you plan it, the quicker you’ll get there and the fewer challenges you’re likely to face. We hope this report will bring some insights that will help you do just that.

People analytics self assessment

Getting people analytics right can be tricky. Our people analytics self assessment lets you compare your company’s capability against industry benchmarks, so you can see what more needs to be done to build a world-class discipline in understanding your workforce.