Five steps to make the value of people analytics visible

Many organisations are still not getting enough out of their investments in the field of 'people analytics'. While effective application of this is the basis for a good business transformation.

'People analytics increases the strategic impact and status of the HR department within an organisation', says Bas van de Pas, Workforce partner at PwC, referring to the publication 'Five ways to unleash the power of people analytics'.

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No doubt about the added value of people analytics

'There is no doubt about the added value of people analytics,' says Van de Pas. 'From positioning the organisation to attract and retain talent, to generating insights about what the future workforce should look like. But many organisations don't get the most out of it.'

'In addition, many managers see HR insights and data analysis as the biggest challenges facing the HR department today', adds PwC colleague Marlene de Koning. 'How can organisations ensure that people analytics deliver results? We answer this question in our report. Based on practical cases, it provides a framework to increase the value of people analytics applications.'

'People analytics increases the strategic impact and status of the HR department within an organisation.'

Bas van de Pas, partner Workforce at PwC

Be sure to adopt a systematic approach 

Our study shows that a systematic approach, aimed at matching your ambitions, knowledge and experience to the (future) requirements of your company, is of great importance. 

The two layers of our framework reflect that people analytics is ultimately driven by the following factors:

  • High-impact use cases that provide immediate insights with possible follow-up to employee issues (the inner 'insights layer'). Use cases are business cases that describe which decisions are made, which data are needed for this and how these contribute to the strategic objectives of the organisation. 
  • An excellent people analytics function that is equipped with the right tooling to realise the ambition of the organisation (the outer 'function layer').

Insight layer

At the heart of your people analytics efforts, and therefore our framework, are the individual use cases you build. It is important to use evaluation and prioritisation criteria when selecting the use cases you want to (further) develop. 

Ask yourself how relevant issues are to business operations and the extent to which applications and solutions are used. This helps you monitor the impact of existing use cases. Effectively managing your portfolio of use cases is therefore paramount and ensures that you focus your resources on the use cases with the greatest impact. 

Function layer

This (outermost) layer forms the foundation for all your future people analytics applications. By including all aspects of this layer, you can increase the impact of your solutions. A successful people analytics function is characterised by five key forces:

  • Alignment
    Ensure short lines of communication between HR and other departments and align people analytics outcomes with the information needed for effective decision-making.
  • Team
    Make it clear to everyone in your people analytics team who has what role. Support the team in delivering actionable insights from data and communicate them clearly and persuasively.
  • Culture
    Foster a data-driven culture and in the wider organisation that embraces the insights of people analytics.
  • Technology
    Bring together the right tooling (built or purchased) with processes that are fit for purpose and deployed efficiently. Data Set up a scalable HR data structure. Use the relevant, consistent and high-quality data for the analyses that lead to the insights for decision-making. Support this process with robust data security and ethics policies. 

‘People analytics is not just a tool for HR departments, but an essential asset for any company looking to unlock the full potential of its human capital.’

Marlene de Koning, Director Workforce at PwC

The next step towards a more data-driven HR department

It is often difficult to decide where to start if you want to become a more data-driven HR department. Like most companies, you have probably already developed and implemented a number of use cases. It is good to take a step back and ask yourself: should you first focus on a more strategic approach of the function layer and solve challenges in areas such as data and alignment? Or should you focus on increasing the number of use cases in the insights layer? 

When it comes to creating value with people analytics, we see that for most organisations it works best to do both: continue to increase the value of (existing or new) use cases while working on the strategic blueprint of your intended people analytics function.

Realising ambitions in the field of people analytics takes time

Realising your ambitions in the field of people analytics does not happen overnight. It's important that you have a clear picture of where you are now, where you want to go, a roadmap to get there, and the gaps you need to fill along the way. You need to make progress on all elements of the framework as your strategy is rolled out and gradually adopted across the enterprise.

Make the value of people analytics visible 

The best way to make the value of people analytics visible within your organisation is to get started on your biggest workforce challenge. That sounds simple, but it's better to show than to tell. 

Whether you're creating more insight into the root causes of the problem, removing bottlenecks in critical HR system processes through automation, or building a predictive model and evaluating different intervention scenarios, you'll be demonstrating the impact of people analytics from day one.

Contact us

Bas van de Pas

Bas van de Pas

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 263 83 99

Marlene de Koning

Marlene de Koning

Director, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 273 81 38

Wouter Karman

Wouter Karman

Manager, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)68 355 95 18

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