Unlocking the Power of People Analytics in HR: A Comprehensive Guide

Cari Bohley, Vice President of Talent Management at Peraton and co-chair of the HR Alliance Communications Committee, and Dr. Fiona Jamison, a seasoned expert with 25 years of experience in research and solutions for employee engagement, relations, and people analytics, discuss best practices for integrating analytics into your organization.

Welcome to the first installment of our HR Alliance educational series dedicated to HR professionals delving into the world of people analytics. I am Cari Bohley, Vice President of Talent Management at Peraton, Reston, Virginia, and the HR Alliance Communications Committee co-chair. Joining me today is Dr. Fiona Jamison, a seasoned expert with 25 years of experience in research and solutions for employee engagement, relations, and people analytics.

What is People Analytics?

Dr. Fiona Jamison starts by demystifying people analytics. It's about leveraging data to enhance business performance and making informed, evidence-based decisions combining data and experience. People analytics helps improve talent acquisition, employee experience, training processes, and overall productivity, ultimately giving HR a crucial seat at the executive table.

Why People Analytics Matters
  1. Improving Talent Acquisition: Using data to refine hiring processes, understanding what makes a great hire, and improving selection methods.
  2. Enhancing Employee Experience: Gathering feedback on employees' job experiences to streamline processes and training, reducing turnover and attrition.
  3. Supporting Decision-Making: Providing leaders with accessible HRIS data to improve decision-making and processes.
  4. Enhancing Productivity: Identifying roadblocks and optimizing workflows.

Getting Started with People Analytics

To start with people analytics, understand your comfort level and the organization's maturity. Regarding analytics, there are three types of people in HR: analytically savvy, analytically willing, and analytically skeptical. Knowing where you stand helps you chart a path forward.

Organizations typically fall into one of four maturity levels:
  1. Reactive: Collecting isolated data like annual surveys without integration.
  2. Proactive: Starting to correlate different data sets and benchmarks.
  3. Strategic: Aligning data with business decisions and asking insightful questions.
  4. Predictive: Conducting advanced scenario planning and long-term strategic planning.

Building a People Analytics Team

A successful people analytics team usually comprises:
  1. Data Architect: Builds databases and data infrastructure.
  2. Workforce Scientist: Expert in statistics and asking the right questions.
  3. Workforce Behavior Expert: Designs surveys and data collection methods.
  4. Interpreter/Translator: HR professionals who translate data into actionable insights and drive change.

Developing Skills for People Analytics

HR professionals possess many necessary skills, such as business acumen, critical thinking, and problem-solving. The key is to apply these skills to data analysis, using tools and methods that make data meaningful.

Essential Skills and Competencies:
  • Familiarity with programming and data visualization tools
  • Change management
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving abilities

Resources for HR Professionals:

Dr. Jamison recommends numerous resources to build people analytics skills:
  • Online Courses: LinkedIn Learning, Coursera
  • Books: "Naked Statistics" for a friendly introduction to statistics
  • Webinars and Workshops: SHRM workshops on people analytics
  • Open Source Material: Numerous free online resources and YouTube tutorials


People analytics is a powerful tool for HR professionals, enabling data-driven decision-making and strategic planning. Understanding and implementing people analytics can elevate HR's role in the organization, making it an indispensable partner in business growth.

Join us next month as we explore leadership buy-in, alignment, and the ethical considerations of people analytics. Thank you, Dr. Fiona Jamison, for your valuable insights.

The interview, which provided many of the insights for this blog, can be watched here:

This blog provides a detailed yet accessible overview of people analytics, emphasizing its importance and offering practical steps for HR professionals to get started. Embrace the power of data to transform your HR strategies and drive business success.

-Authored by the HR Alliance Communications Team


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