Employee Retention Leadership

People analytics and your business strategy. Here's what you need to know

People analytics and your business strategy

Much like updating a social media relationship status, people analytics is a complex issue.

Profile pics and ‘modern day courting’ aside, there is a way to win at it. In having to meet the changing and demanding needs of employees, organisations have had to implement new rules of engagement: the people analytics edition. 

These new rules navigate along an agile approach. With HR being forced to innovate and redesign their people strategies, it is the natural path to follow. And, with more than 70% of companies considering people analytics as a high priority, the time to sit up and take notice is now.

There are many sources out there and each of them have various ways of defining exactly what people analytics is, but generally speaking, it can be thought of as this:

People analytics refers to the process and design of specific structures and tools/platforms that will assist the organisation in attracting and identifying the right talent at the right time, establishing communication channels that foster a culture of employee engagement, learning and development and is aligned to the organisations employee retention strategy.

Just based on this definition, you can see the reason that people analytics has become central to an organisation’s success and is no longer a soft metric. Heck, even a former Google Vice President of People Operations wrote a book about its importance.

People analytics also seeks to recognise employees (your organisation’s best-in-breed talent), who frequently contribute to an organisation’s mission and goals. They are engaged and motivated to go above and beyond their ordinary jobs and consistently deliver higher performance. As a result, they continuously unlock their potential in a way that directly benefits your organisation.

However, this doesn’t mean that other employee segments of your workforce are excluded. It simply provides you with insight into identifying key employees to work cross functionally within the organisation with a view to drive performance, and, in recognising them in various ways, your organisation can retain such talent. Such insights can highlight critical factors within your organisation to enable you to retain your best employees and recruit even more top talent. 

People analytics is etched into the fabric of the organisation and acts as the cheerleader cheering the organisational goals on. That’s the reason people analytics is embracing agile – to transform how companies recruit, develop, manage and retain their employees. 


Here are a few reasons you should implement people analytics:

Changing demographics, the wave of new generations with their own set of demands, plus the introduction of machine learning, AI are aspects that are influencing workforces. Therefore attracting, engaging and retaining your talent has become a critical success factor. For truly meaningful people analytics, your strategy should be defined on the basis of your business strategy and your organisational goals.

There are four primary reasons that organisations should pay special attention to people analytics:

  1. To attract and retain top talent
  2. To develop your workforce 
  3. To implement a plan of succession
  4. To support the business strategy

In order to attract the right talent, organisations must understand the needs of its people.

This way you can design employee recognition programs and employee engagement strategies that boost staff morale and foster a culture of performance.

Having a people analytics strategy will also ensure that you implement learning and development opportunities to ensure that your employees have the right skills at the right time.

People analytics is also critical to succession planning. If you cannot identify a talent pipeline it becomes increasingly difficult to fill strategic positions – thereby limiting the growth of your organisation.

Lastly, but holding as much importance as the previous reasons, people analytics supports organisations by unifying its strategy with the business strategy. Once a focus on talent is established and employees are recognised and appreciated for their contributions, they will show a higher engagement and in so doing, a higher organisational commitment. Win-win.

According to a Harvard Business Review article, people analytics is an innovative way for organisations to make evidence-based decisions that focus on the attributes of their employees whilst harnessing relational analytics.

Using these insights, they can also understand and ‘predict’ whether an employee and in the bigger scheme of things, the organisation will achieve a performance goal.


So how can your organisation benefit from people analytics?

A McKinsey case study cites that a ‘growing number of businesses are applying analytics to processes to discover interesting statistics relating to attracting and retaining talent and how these factors influence employee performance. 

People analytics is one of the verticals that can add the most value to your organisation. Gasps aside, this certainly holds true when it is linked to the business strategy. The reason for this is that people analytics can influence various business aspects. 

These include:

  • Aligning your employees to the organisation’s mission, vision and values.
  • Getting your management on board to recognition and appreciate the efforts of their team members, resulting in higher motivation.
  • An increase in employee engagement levels in individuals, teams and ultimately the organisation, resulting in higher levels of commitment to the organisation’s outcomes (increased safety, customer satisfaction, customer experience etc).

All of these also lead to a stronger Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and organisational attractiveness thereby increasing the organisation’s likelihood of attracting top talent. That’s why it’s important to have a clear, consistent strategy as it relates to people analytics because it is critical to your business success. 

It all starts somewhere…

People analytics should be strongly anchored with leadership and rolled out from this perch point to management. This encourages, and more importantly, ensures that management buys into this all-important deliverable. It helps managers to become connected to the employee-value concept and enables them to champion this cause on behalf of the organisation. 


4 Steps to implementing people analytics

Step 1: Identify metrics to monitor

Ask questions about your workforce and how these deliverables should align to specific business outcomes. E.g. What should be measured and how are the identified metrics connected?

Step 2: Where will your data come from?

You need identify exactly where you will extract your data from. E.g. recruitment tools, talent management software, spreadsheets etc. 

Step 3: Custom build or off-the-shelf solution?

This depends on your organisation’s capabilities and of course budget. While we all would love to do everything in-house, sometimes it’s just easier to go off-the-shelf. 

Step 4: Round up the troops

If you’ve decided to go custom, you’ll need a team across both human resources and tech specialists (front-end, back-end, UX, UI, data scientists etc.). The brief must be clear: i.e: Transform business requirements into key features of your platform/tool. 

Step 5: Let them learn

Whether you’ve chosen a custom or off-the-shelf route, training is an essential part of your people analytics success. Set up a mix of training, including sessions built on gamification, to ensure the necessary skills uptake.  

Time to roll-out…

Central to planning and rolling out people analytics in your organisation is the communications strategy. It makes sense right? It’s all about people, so you need to know how they want to be communicated with.

Did you know, according to the Harvard Business Review, more than 70% of companies now consider people analytics to be a high priority? 

Most organisations use the intranet to inform their employees. Why not really make your employees feel valued by devising a specific campaign around their needs – one that’s more than leave days data and birthdays?

Encourage employees to create their own development plans and paths. Communicate and then communicate some more. Utilise all the tools at your disposal to implement your people analytics  - these include surveys on ‘how are we doing’, every two months. This allows you to adapt and redefine for success. 

Employees want to feel that their work is meaningful. They want to work for organisations that enable them to grow and develop and from a business strategy perspective – all these attributes influence organisational growth. 

In a time when leaders are embroiled in an intense war for top talent, organisations need to different themselves in the marketplace to attract and retain employees that deliver the goods. And by goods, we mean value.

The market for high-potential, high-performing employees is becoming hyper-competitive, top talent is becoming more and more expensive and as a result easily lost to competitors offering lucrative benefits (not all financial FYI). Retaining your top talent will become even more difficult especially as the Millennial - employer relationship continues to shorten. 

People analytics is a new paradigm – one that if not taken seriously could mean losing your best people to your competitors. 

Are you looking for a way to effectively engage with your workforce? Give bountiXP a go. The first 30 days are on us. Simply click the button below to get started 👇🏼

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