People Analytics is maturing fast. 2017 in particular was a stellar year if the published cases, presentations at various people analytics conferences and interest from the wider HR community is anything to go by. However, for this trend to take a more permanent hold, it must in my view be recognized as an area of importance across the wider organisation, something it is not now.
A solution to this is to look in another direction – a new avenue.
A third avenue
I see people analytics applied in primarily two areas; 1) making better (evidence-based) HR decisions and 2) solving business issues. The first includes a wide range of things from improving on internal people reporting and scoreboards, engagement surveys to creating predictive models for turnover, talent performance, recruitment success or assessing leadership training and innovation processes. The second area uses people data to answer questions such as “How to we sell more widgets?”, “What engagement activities creates the best service delivery which impacts customer retention the most?” or something like this.
But there are challenges with both, which makes it difficult for many People Analytics departments/teams/units in many organisations. The challenge with the first type is that HR processes in themselves only creates limited measurable value – or is not perceived to create a lot of value. The challenge with the second is, that there are only few business issues where people analytics currently is used either due to lack of relevant data to answer the questions, that HR/People Analytics they are not invited to contribute with an answer or that the issue is not people related. In any case, while on one hand there are many great People Analytics projects, studies, examples out there and the size and quality is increasing a lot and on the other hand the impact across the organisation is still relatively low.
I believe there is a third avenue for People Analytics to add value, namely by working closely with Change Management. Change management are in many mature organisations (project wise) an integrated part of the most strategic projects but are in need of help.
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