Ideas and insights for today’s people-centered leaders.



The Power of People Analytics in Everyday Decision-Making

In the past, having the answers to make great people decisions was a competitive advantage. Today, it’s a necessity to maintain business continuity and respond to change quickly. 

The pandemic has created a need for agility — businesses need to be prepared to scale back on a moment’s notice due to surges in the virus. Plans have also been disrupted due to changes in employee behavior either through absence, resistance to certain working conditions, and turnover.

Employers need to continually reassess who they need, where, and for how long — and companies that wait weeks or months for the information they need to respond appropriately are falling behind. 

While HR cloud platforms provide backwards-looking data and reports, they don’t provide the true analytics that organizations need to be proactive. They don’t provide the information that leaders need to make better people decisions.

The power of people analytics in everyday decision-making is undeniable– organizations who excel at people analytics are 3.1 times more likely to outperform their peers. To start using this information to make better decisions though, we have to transform the way we handle data. Today, HR or IT professionals often serve as gatekeepers for data, but to have success with people analytics, there needs to be more transparency.

The first step is making analytics more accessible

Every day, people across your organization are making decisions that either impact your people or need to be supported by your people. Often, business decisions are based on a “gut feeling.”

Sometimes organizations make their best guess and those decisions work out. However, the risk of negative impact is high because there’s so much room for error. This slows down the decision-making process and leads teams to assumptions that are false. Then, time and resources go to waste when leaders talk through decisions in circles, waiting for a seemingly magical answer to appear.

“While HR cloud platforms provide backwards-looking data and reports, they don’t provide the true analytics that organizations need to be proactive.”

Further, even when organizations have good data, it can be challenging to apply that information to make better decisions. Leaders know the “what” but not the “why.” 

This is where democratizing data can help. It empowers individuals at all levels of responsibility to use data to inform their decision making. Once everyone understands how to interpret the data, they can do more. They’re able to make good decisions quickly and achieve better business outcomes.

The best part is that there’s never been a better time to make data more accessible. New technologies, such as people analytics platforms make it easy. This allows everyone in your organization to make better choices and have confidence in their decisions.

Paving the path to better decisions with analytics

The premise of people analytics is simple. 

Using people analytics, you’ll gain the ability to spot relationships and patterns. Then, you can empower people to take action and solve business problems. As meaningful actions become more frequent, organizations see the impact.

This is possible because people analytics platforms bring your data together from all your systems. They also enable you to find valuable insights in mountains of data. Now, it’s easy to adapt and create positive change by making better people decisions every day. 

People analytics can also help you answer questions you may not even think to ask and avoid unintentional biases that contribute to bad business decisions. This is critical because you can’t afford to solve workforce issues with your best guess. 

Applying people analytics 

If your organization doesn’t know where to start with people analytics, it can be difficult to connect this investment to business value. That said, there are several different ways that people analytics platforms can drive change. 

Let’s say that a business is having issues with the attendance of its employees. In this case, leaders are seeing more people come in late on Mondays and Fridays or calling out of their shifts entirely. 

How would you solve this problem? 

If this becomes an issue for your organization, it’s tempting to jump to all kinds of conclusions about why employees are not showing up. Maybe it’s bad management, maybe it’s poor workforce planning, the list of possibilities is endless. Without more information, it’s difficult to get the root of the problem.

However, people analytics gives you the power to make connections that you may otherwise overlook. Are the same people who are coming in late also working a lot of overtime? If so, these employees may be burnt out and helping them combat this can resolve that issue quickly.

“Using people analytics, you’ll gain the ability to spot relationships and patterns. Then, you can empower people to take action and solve business problems.”

This is just one of the scenarios where people analytics can have a positive impact. Better preparation for 1-1s with employees, better scheduling, a better understanding of how to reward and manage people and more is possible with people analytics. Remember, every decision you make matters. Using people analytics allows you to take action and uncover the right answers for your organization. 

Ready to make 1000 better decisions? 

Using data and analytics may seem overwhelming but the only way to get it right is to start working with it. The earlier your organization starts with people analytics the better off you’ll be because your people will learn the value of data, in turn ensuring that the data they collect is usable down the road, and you can increase the data sources you leverage. 

As your people analytics platform collects more data points, you can explore more and more questions, which will ultimately lead you to make better decisions across the board.

People analytics shouldn’t be a bottleneck, only putting the power of information into the hands of a single team or person. Instead, an investment in people analytics should be an investment in a decision-making platform that allows you to create a culture around making better decisions.

When everyone has the facts and insights to support their decision-making process, each choice can contribute to a larger strategic outcome.

About the author: Caitlin Bigsby

Caitlin Bigsby has over 22 years of experience in HCM software solutions and has worked with dozens of organizations over the years to help them maximize the value of their investments, in both their people and their software. Caitlin shines a light on how analytic insight can elevate the strategy of Human Resources. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and dog, Toby.

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