You need the right People Analytics Leader in order to build an effective and strategic people analytics function. This person is the key evangelist and visionary for data-driven decision making, and ensures the use of people analytics always delivers values to the business.
Whether you are looking to hire or become a People Analytics Leader for your organization, I encourage you to continue reading and download this job description for use in your talent acquisition efforts!
In people analytics organizations with mature people analytics processes, the People Analytics Leader may also go by the title of vice president, senior director or director. In emerging organizations (those just starting their people analytics journey), they may be a manager or sometimes an analyst.
What group do they report into? It could be human resources, information technology, HRIT, HR operations, talent management, and even organization development – but ideally, in order to produce the most value to the business, they should report to a C-level position. And if they don’t yet, they will soon. I’ve even seen some go on to become the CHRO!
Their backgrounds, temperaments, skills, and education are diverse as well, but one shared key attribute is they are continuously learning. Of course, others within the organization play key roles too. The Visier Age of People Analytics Research report found the CHRO or HRBPs are important agents of change here, but the People Analytics Leader’s contributions to the success of people analytics in delivering tangible, measurable value to the organization will be the most profound.
Let’s be clear here: People analytics – also known as workforce intelligence, workforce analytics, HR analytics and talent analytics – is analysis enabled by technology to make better decisions about all aspects of HR and talent strategy, with the goal of improving business performance.
The technology implementation along with change management activities to enable better decisions are key aspects of this role.
Vision and strategy
The People Analytics Leader must have a clear vision of how to lead the organization towards a “data-driven and insight-led culture.” She enables leaders and HR to make decisions about the workforce, while keeping in line with talent strategy (backed by data) and with the goal of moving leaders away from making decisions on gut feel.
In general, the People Analytics Leader must continuously emphasize to her team and other stakeholders that the reason for people analytics is to provide business outcome value.
Another key finding from the Age of People Analytics study indicates that organizations with a high level of people analytics process maturity more frequently achieve business outcome value. Therefore, this leader must understand the strategy of the business and the key metrics that resonate with management (i.e. EBITDA in manufacturing firms, improved HCAHPS in hospitals, revenue in growth companies, etc.). He must also understand how the workforce contributes to the success of the organization from a financial, business and/or strategic sense.
The People Analytics Leader must learn the key financial metrics and then, make sure that any people analytics strategy will present analytics in the financial language of the organization.
At a leading specialty healthcare organization, the analytics leader insisted that all analysis must be in the actual dollars and cents of the hospital system. Why? Because the organization wanted to reduce employee turnover, and use their own salaries as part of their metrics instead of generic national average nurse or specialty technician salaries.
The team looked at onboarding costs and productivity losses based on specific salaries of each position included in the analysis. Previously, using generic workforce metrics had made it too easy for management to dispute national averages given their location and specialty positions.
The People Analytics Leader must ensure that every analytics venture from analysis to intervention to action taken result in a return on investment – a responsibility they may share with the CHRO. The leader must have the ability to talk about data to stakeholders in a way that shows WIIFT (what’s in it for them).
This leader must have the people, processes, and technology in place to accommodate requests for insights and data, not only about the workforce and HR, but from business operations and finance as well (especially as the function matures).
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