The Ultimate Guide to Success with People Analytics

Any leader–whether a CHRO, an IT director or a leader in reporting and analytics–that’s thinking of buying or deploying people analytics has seen that data-driven organizations outperform.

I’ve seen, based on my research from the last twenty years and those of others in the field, that organizations with some form of workforce analytics have higher financial performance metrics than those without. Last year, we further saw that “advanced” organizations outperform those early on in their analytics journey!

I can already see the question forming in your mind: what kind of work does it take to see this kind of value at your organization?

The answer is that it will take some hard work, but there are known practices that lead to success. And even better, you are not alone on this path.

How do I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel? For the last year, I’ve been doing research through interviews, forums, and survey work, and have found the three aspects that lead to success with people analytics:

  1. Advanced organizations outperform because of their change management practices. (Reference the survey and the CM white paper)
  2. Data preparedness practices matter. (Reference the DP white paper)
  3. Three key roles enable success: The CHRO, the people analytics leader, and the HRBP and her or his manager. (Reference the CHRO blog, the people analytics leader blog, the HRBP manager of the future blog)

Why Most People Analytics Don’t Achieve Value

While conducting research at Visier over the last few years, I’ve seen absolute brilliance with so many of our customers–along with some that have experienced less than stellar results.

There’s a reason why organizations fail to achieve value from people analytics (other than not getting started at all).

Two years ago, I reported that customers are on a journey to value from people analytics. Sometimes that journey takes more time than expected or hoped for the following reasons:

1. Incorrect data methodologies

Organizations see immediate value from adopting a people analytics solution, which improves their ability to scale their reporting and analytics labor. They also improve the effectiveness of HR by addressing key issues, such as reducing turnover overall or of critical talent. Yet, while they may be contributing to cost savings (i.e. through turnover reduction), they aren’t always contributing additional revenue or improving metrics that matter to the C-suite.

Why? Partly this has to do with the data needed to achieve true business outcomes. You don’t have to have absolutely pristine data–you can clean as you go–but if you want people analytics to work, you must be able to juxtapose business outcome data with workforce data as quickly as possible.

2.  HRBPs have a lot to learn

I discovered that HR, specifically the HR business partners tasked with evangelizing people analytics, are not ready for the job. They are not data-driven, analytics-savvy, and some are not even strategic.

But they can be and we in HR can help.

As one of our customers says, while Visier contributes a great toolset, we have to address the mindset and skillset of our HRBPs.

3. Change management gets left at the table

I’ve explored many of the reasons why people analytics value isn’t achieved, and more often than not, it’s because the team didn’t put in the effort to truly change their culture to one where data drives workforce decisions. In other words, they didn’t engage enough in tried and true leading change management practices.

How to Succeed with People Analytics

Over the past year, I interviewed numerous global organizations to discover their leading practices and the key roles that lead to people analytics success. I have also looked within Visier to understand what services we provide with each and every customer to help them on their journey.

I’ve compiled all my learnings into two white papers on successful people analytics enablement and three articles on the key roles needed in every team. I encourage you to read them if your goal is to derive true business outcome and value from your people analytics program:

Successful People Analytics Enablement: Change Management Leading Practices

This paper features the nine leading enterprise change management practices for people analytics based on my research. It includes case studies on how global brands achieved value using these practices, how to best enable business leaders and HRBPs with analytics, and more.

Successful People Analytics Enablement: Leading Practices for Workforce Data Security, Privacy, Cleansing, and Presentation

In this paper, I’ve compiled five data strategies and tactics used by advanced people analytics organizations, such as using a “clean as you go” approach to data to achieve credible insights, following key principles for data privacy and security, and more.

The Key Roles for People Analytics Success

Success takes practice and key people to move to a data-driven culture that leads to business outcomes beyond what you can imagine.

So, what are you waiting for? Read these papers today and share your thoughts and questions with me: @LexyMartin

Author Photo
Lexy Martin |
Lexy is a respected thought leader on HR technology adoption and builds ROI models. Known as the originator of the Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey, she now works at Visier closely with customers to support them in their HR transformation to become data-driven organizations. Lexy is Principal, Research and Customer Value at Visier.