What are the Six Types of Governance in People Analytics?

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In this online training course How to Create a Governance Model for People Analytics , Jonathan Ferrar builds a case for the importance of creating strong governance practices across your people analytics function and helps you understand how to implement the six different types of governance for people analytics in your organisation. In this short bitesized learning video, taken from the course, Jonathan helps us understand what corporate governance is along with the six types of governance in People Analytics.

What is Corporate Governance?

Corporate governance is really about the mechanisms, the processes and the procedures by which an organisation, a company or an entity operates. It focuses on those specific processes and methodologies but it also focuses on making sure that there are controls in place to ensure that risks are managed.

The Wikipedia definition of corporate governance suggests as above that it’s a collection of mechanisms, processes and relations by which corporations are controlled and operated, however it also states governance structures help identify the distribution of rights and responsibilities amongst different participants in the corporation.


The CIPD suggest that corporate governance is about effectively supervising the management of a company to uphold the company’s integrity. The concept of integrity is incredibly important when discussing governance, because integrity is about ensuring that the organisation delivers according to its values, beliefs and ethics by which the company wishes to be known. So, integrity within people analytics and having strong governance structures in place is vital because your people analytics function is dealing with people - the employees, the contractors and workers across the organisation and the data collected on them.


What are the Six Types of Governance?

There are six types of governance for people analytics:

  1. The Board of People Analytics

  2. The Ethics Council

  3. Data Stewardship

  4. Financial Council / Business Value Council

  5. Prioritisation of Projects

  6. Operating Model

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The first one is the ‘Board of People Analytics’, and this is the overseeing of the governance model and structure for the organisation and function. The board of people analytics looks at the overall mission, purpose and goals of the organisation and what needs to be delivered. Similarly, like a Board of Directors, the Board of People Analytics is responsible for overseeing the operation and strategy of an organisation with regard to people analytics. They are accountable for the delivery of the strategic aims of the people analytics function and must take a holistic view across the entire organisation, while ensuring that the people analytics team is able to deliver value across the organisation.

The second, third, fourth and fifth are all about specific aspects and they can be called subcommittees or councils.

Number two is the ‘Ethics Council’. The ethics council looks at privacy and ethics. It is responsible for managing aspects of data privacy alongside the ethical and moral aspects of what types of projects the people analytics function will be focused on. Many question why ethics is so important and why there’s a need for an ethics council. Given the sensitive nature of the data being leveraged in some people analytics projects its important that the data is handled with care in order to ensure that the project isn’t compromised due to lack of ethical use of data. In a study conducted by Accenture in 2018 - ‘Decoding the organisational DNA’ found that $3 trillion worth of revenue opportunity existed in publicly listed companies, if new sources of data were used to gather value. However this value only exists if people feel that there is some benefit personally to their data being used - thus having a council to ensure that data is used in an ethical manner is imperative.

Number three is around ‘Data Stewardship and Management of Data’. Data stewardship is made up of two elements - data standards and data security. Data standards is about agreeing definitions and protocols for managing people data. Having a data stewardship council that focuses on data governance and definitions will eliminate confusion across the organisation around what the data means and the definitions of the data. Data security focuses on the security of the data that is being leveraged and distributed as part of people analytics projects and how you protect data to ensure that people are not granted access to data that they should not have access to.

Number four is around measuring ‘Business Value’. Its not imperative to have a full blown council for this element but it should be a partnership between Finance and the People Analytics teams. The aim of this council is to establish an understanding and a method for measuring business value with an aim to determine an outcome and return on investment for each analytics project.

Number five is around the ‘Prioritisation of Projects’. Essentially project prioritisation focuses on the work being carried out by the people analytics team, which requires prioritisation to ensure the maximum amount of value is being delivered. When it comes to people analytics, it can often get complicated as there are multiple stakeholders that need to be managed, thus prioritisation of projects ensures that work that delivers the highest value to the organisation gets completed first.

The final one, the sixth area of governance is around managing the team, also known as your operating model for the function. This encompasses the action of taking everything in the prior five governance structures and actually bringing that together to form a mechanism whereby you can actually deliver things through the team, the technology and the people that you interact with.

People Analytics needs a solid foundation. This is routed in having strong governance with clear purpose, standards, privacy, ethics and security. Governance is the underpinning element of all analytics. It ensures the right people provide direction for work, that the structure and stewardship for managing data are appropriate and applicable to your organisation and that you are managing the risks associated with people analytics in a clear and proper manner.

Are you interested in learning more…?

In our online course “How to Create a Governance Model for People AnalyticsJonathan Ferrar takes you through how to create strong governance for your people analytics function and understand how to build the six different types of governance for people analytics. As well as examining some case studies of how leading companies have incorporated governance into their people analytics strategies.

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Manpreet Randhawa is the Head of Digital Content for myHRfuture.com. In her previous role as the Change Management Lead for People Planning, Design & Analytics at Cisco Systems, she was responsible for defining and executing on the change management strategy to successfully implement and sustain the digital and cultural transformation across the enterprise. Manpreet is very passionate about change management and technology and how to use both to transform the employee experience and prepare companies for the Future of Work.