Six Factors for the Adoption of People Analytics

According to a study from the Corporate Research Forum, published in Nov 2017, 69% of companies with 10,000 employees or more now have a people analytics team.

Consequently, there has been a swell of talent entering the field and increased expectations from business leaders that HR professionals need to improve their data literacy.

Perhaps it was not surprising therefore that the headline finding of the HR Skills of the Future Report we published earlier this year saw people analytics emerge as the most in-demand skill HR professionals wanted to learn in 2019.

With a number of studies consistently reporting the positive business impact of people analytics (see examples in FIG 1), it is fairly safe to predict that the field will continue to grow in the years ahead.

FIG 1:    The business value of people analytics (Source: myHRfuture, Bersin by Deloitte, Sierra-Cedar and Visier)

FIG 1: The business value of people analytics (Source: myHRfuture, Bersin by Deloitte, Sierra-Cedar and Visier)

Developing a Data-Driven Culture

With all this positive business value, the key then is to develop a data-driven culture throughout HR. A 2018 Harvard Business Review article, by my former IBM colleagues Nigel Guenole and Sheri Feinzig on how to develop a data-savvy HR department, summarised that three types of people currently co-exist in HR: the analytically savvy, the analytically willing and the analytically resistant.

In a further recent review of literature, six key themes emerged in relation to the willingness to become data-driven (in FIG 2):

  1. Capabilityanalytics skills and knowledge

  2. Confidencefeelings and beliefs toward analytics

  3. Culturethe organisation’s underlying beliefs, assumptions and values toward analytics

  4. Mindsetattitude, opinions and ways of thinking for analytics

  5. Traininginterventions to support analytical development

  6. Organisationthe formal structures to support analytics

FIG 2:    Six Factors for the Adoption of People Analytics

FIG 2: Six Factors for the Adoption of People Analytics

Our Research

myHRfuture is embarking on a research project this summer to understand the relationship between these six factors. The aim of our study is to provide guidance for HR leaders on how to create a data-driven culture and build adoption of analytics amongst HR professionals. The study is being co-researched together with Eleni Zarkada as part of her studies at University of Edinburgh Business School.

A central element of our research is the Adoption of People Analytics Survey which explores the six factors above.  All respondents to the survey have the option to include their email address (at the end) to receive a copy of the report once it has been completed. We aim to release this study in September. The survey is confidential and data will only be aggregated for research purposes. No individual comments will be attributed.

I invite you to take this survey – please click the button below. The survey will take less than 5 minutes to complete.



David Green is a globally respected writer, speaker, conference chair, and executive consultant on people analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work. As an Executive Director at Insight222, he helps global organisations create more cultural and economic value through the wise and ethical use of people data and analytics. Prior to joining Insight222, David was the Global Director of People Analytics Solutions at IBM Watson Talent. As such, David has extensive experience in helping organisations embark upon and accelerate their people analytics journeys. You can follow David on LinkedIn and Twitter and also subscribe to The Digital HR Leader weekly newsletter.


I’ll be chairing and/or speaking about people analytics, data-driven HR and the Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics model at the following events in 2019.