What are the opportunities for People Analytics?

According to the latest research from Bersin by Deloitte, 69% of businesses are integrating data to build a People Analytics database (up from 10-15% in previous years). But what is the real opportunity with People Analytics and why should you invest time and effort into keeping up with this latest HR trend? In the first of a series of videos interviewing leading People Analytics experts, we spoke with Josh Bersin, David Green, Michael Arena and Richard Rosenow on the opportunities for the People Analytics profession. Check out the video below.

So what are some of the opportunities for People Analytics?

1. Embracing change

From the simple perspective of the HR function, the opportunity to embrace change and all that it offers is at least something that is worth considering. Technology, advancements, movement, can all equal improvement. If we consider that human resources and managing talent assets is ultimately all about the people – the right people in the right place at the right time – then consider that people analytics provides the fact, the data part of the equation, which should therefore, allow the HR professional the opportunity to better apply the human aspect of the HR function.

2. Keeping pace with business

As technology evolves, the pace of business picks up and the priorities of the enterprise change. From a simple functional perspective, people analytics bridges the gap between the research and the data that is available and the decisions a business needs to make. Success in business is ultimately all about the decisions being made – people and talent decisions among them – and people analytics offers a decision making tool that is responsive, fluid and that can meet the needs and pace of the business.

3. Shedding the best practice mindset

It can be all too easy, and all too comfortable, to rely on best practices to share your strategy or to just copy what other companies are doing. Although best practices can be interesting, people analytics can allow us to formulate multiple strategies based on the multiple unique scenarios and related to the many complex problems that all businesses face. Rather than forcing every square peg into a round best practices hole, data analytics can help identify the unique nuances and therefore an opportunity to develop best practices to truly meet the varied needs of the business.

4. Scaling and sustaining

Part of growing and continuing to succeed in business relates to a company’s ability to scale its manpower, to retain key talent, and the ability to reallocate talent as required and as the business model changes. Using data to drive discussion creates the potential for people analytics to inform decisions around how companies should adapt their practices related to areas such as recruiting, retention, performance management, and employee engagement; all key to scaling and sustaining success.

What is the point to all of this?

The point is that people analytics can help you better understand the business problems you need to solve and what you need to find in a potential new employee. It helps you understand the skillsets your employees have so you can position them in the right place and at the right time. It helps you shed old notions, moving forward with a solution that is based on data and evidenced to better position your company for the future.

If you're interested in learning more about how people analytics can help your business, then why not check our the myHRfuture Academy online course on people analytics - an introduction to People Analytics.


Ian Bailie is the Managing Director of myHRfuture.com and an advisor and consultant for start-ups focused on HR technology and People Analytics, including Adepto, Worklytics and CognitionX.  In his previous role as the Senior Director of People Planning, Analytics and Tools at Cisco Systems, he was responsible for delivering the tools and insights to enable and transform the planning, attraction and management of talent across the organisation globally.  Ian is passionate about HR technology and analytics and how to use both to transform the employee experience and prepare companies for the Future of Work.