Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics

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Impact, Value, Focus

Over the last few years as I’ve met HR executives, leaders and practitioners who want to learn more about people analytics, I have concluded that I nearly always get asked these three questions:

  1. How can I improve my impact?

  2. How can I create more value?

  3. What should I focus on?

Clearly, the answers vary depending upon the situation, level of experience of the person, business challenges and industry. However, when I reviewed all the work over the last few years in clients and organisations around the world I realised that the answers can be summarised into nine dimensions which are grouped into three categories: foundational aspects, resources needed and value gained.

And so David Green and I created the Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics model, which is now being used by many organisations to help gain impact in the discipline of People Analytics.

“This is the best framework for People Analytics I’ve ever seen”

Oliver Kasper

Director HR Analytics, Processes & Systems, Swarovski

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The foundational aspects of people management revolve around having the right elements in place up front to enable success in the future before the work becomes too complex.

  • Governance

    • having the right structures in place to help with data standards, ethics and privacy and the selection of projects and analytics work will ensure you have a greater chance of being successful. Start with the end in mind and set yourself up for success.

  • Methodologies

    • starting with the business challenges that are most important and then managing work and projects once you know ‘why’ you are doing it will help you get more from analytics. This dimension focuses on what methodologies are most important to provide simplicity and avoid confusion. As an example, at a CIPD event in Northern Ireland this month, I was asked “What one thing would you recommend to do?” for a HR leader in pursuing analytics…my answer “Focus on your business challenges first!”

  • Stakeholders

    • understanding the people, functions and groups that are most important and communicating regularly, appropriately and with clarity will ensure greater impact and value. There are seven types of stakeholders that we recommend in this model to focus on.


The resources that are needed to develop solutions and deliver impact from people analytics are people (or skills), technology and data.

  • Skills

    • understanding the people you need to deliver credible results means ensuring that you have access to skills in several areas - in fact there are Six Skills for Success*. These may be built in your team, sourced from elsewhere in the business or hired on an ‘as needed’ basis from outside of your company.

  • Technology

    • sourcing, deploying and using technology for analytics is complicated by the fact there are literally thousands of vendors. Your technology needs will be across visualisation, business intelligence, statistics, machine learning and AI amongst others. They will include both hardware, software and delivered on premises, ‘as a service’ or as a hybrid. The approach here is to recommend those categories of technology to focus on by understanding what your needs are, rather than focusing on 'the next shiny thing’.

  • Data

    • knowing, using, integrating, managing and securing people and business data is essential if anything else is going to be done at all. This dimension is important to understand standards, security, data options and what you need to answer your most pressing challenges. It also covers the need to focus on internal and external data sources and how to analyse your situation and decide what additional data to gather to improve your analysis.


The value you derive from your people analytics activities will be determined by those with whom you interact.

  • Workforce Experiences

    • deploying analytics solutions with the ultimate benefit of the workforce is the most satisfying part of people analytics. This dimension of the model focuses on understanding your appetite and ability to focus analytics on those that benefit the most — the employees/workers and managers themselves — through personalisation, recommendation algorithms, the consumerisation of HR and democratisation of data to managers. As an example, Nielsen offered analytical value not just in financial terms, but by highlighting the benefits of career change to employees and sharing a video about what, how and why attrition analytics matters.

  • Business Outcomes

    • delivering insights through effective people analytics will ensure your executives and leaders are informed with insights to make decisions. These insights can be about productivity, cost optimisation or revenue enhancement. Whatever they are this dimension ensures that the business will gain organisational benefit from people analytics in the future.

  • Culture

    • deploying analytics is easier and more impactful when the culture of HR and the organisation overall is receptive to analytical insights. How to strive for a strong analytics culture is important and most often requested. “How can my team be more quantitative?” and “How can I train my HR business partners?” are two of the most frequent questions I hear.

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At Insight222 we help clients diagnose their own functional excellence in people analytics — using the Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics model. By undertaking a thorough survey, we diagnose the importance and impact you have against each of the dimensions. We then help you and your HR leadership team create a roadmap for success by defining the next steps to focus on.

“I’m a member of Insight222 because I would rather learn how my peers innovated to build something than spend three years trying to build it ourselves!”

Steffen Riesenbeck

People Analytics Project Lead, Bosch

If you wish to learn more about the Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics model and how to diagnose your own function’s excellence then please contact me at The model is provided as part of Insight222’s The People Analytics Program.


Jonathan Ferrar

Co-founder & CEO, Insight222 Limited

I will be presenting and talking about People Analytics and the Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics model at the following events in the coming weeks:

HR Analyser, Oslo, 19th September 2018

The Global Executive Retreat by Insight222, Philadelphia, 1st to 3rd October 2018

HR & People Analytics Forum, Warsaw, 8th October 2018

CIPD, Singapore, week of 15th October 2018

HR Congress, Brussels, 27th & 28th November 2018


The dimensions, elements and survey of the Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics model were developed by Jonathan Ferrar, Co-founder & CEO and David Green, Non-Executive Director and Board Advisor of Insight222 Limited. Their qualitative research in People Analytics covers over sixty organisations in all major regions around the world and was undertaken over a period of five years.

The Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics is the copyright of and proprietary to Insight222 Limited.

The Six Skills for Success is a model from The Power of People: Learn How Successful Organisations Use Workforce Analytics to Improve Business Performance and the copyright of its authors Nigel Guenole, Jonathan Ferrar and Sheri Feinzig.