Understanding “People Analytics” and Their Role in HR

With data analysis transforming almost every corner of the business world, human resources is even seeing its application with the newest trend, “people analytics.”

People analytics seeks to reduce the risk of error in “gut instinct” or personal bias by helping human resources staff examine evidence and data in order to manage their talent pipelines and make staffing decisions. When people analytics are done right, they help HR departments make recruiting, retention, promotion, and layoff decisions based on the criteria that matter to the business’s bottom line.

In any HR department, people analytics goes through various stages of development, as human resources managers test out new methods of tracking data and adapt these methods to the needs of their department and the company as a whole. These stages include:

  1. The “ad hoc” approach. Often, people analytics begins on an ad-hoc basis, when a human resources manager wants to answer a specific question and starts compiling data in a spreadsheet or other format in order to keep track of it. Common questions that are addressed with the ad-hoc approach include “Who are the most productive managers?” and “Is our employee referral program working?” While the ad hoc approach is highly flexible, it is not easily transferable – HR staff may have to “reinvent the wheel” every time they want to address a new question.
  2. Retrospective data analysis. Managers delve into retrospective data analysis when they pull data from multiple sources into a single location to compare it. The results may be expressed as a correlation or a graph. Many companies that use business intelligence software platforms or human resources dashboard programs find it easier to produce these types of data analysis, because the raw information is loaded into a single system – which may even offer the tools to generate graphs or charts.
  3. Predictive analytics. At this stage, centralized data isn’t just used to make simple comparisons. It’s also subjected to more advanced techniques, like multivariate regression, to allow human resources managers to make predictions or run “what if” analyses. The skills of a competent programmer or the installation of software designed to handle complex analytics may be required.
  4. Experimental design. Once the data is available and the tools to analyze it are at hand, human resources managers have the opportunity to consider which interventions produce the best results, test them, and gather the data to confirm whether or not the plan works as predicted.

At TERRA Staffing, our staffing partners have earned pride of place on the “Best of Staffing – Clients” list in recent years. Call us today to learn how we can put these talents to work for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *