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People Analytics – Part I

‘Analytics’ has become a real buzzword in the business lexicon recently. Everyone is talking about ‘data analytics,’ ‘business analytics,’ ‘predictive analytics,’ etc. The word ‘analytics’ can refer to both the “systematic computational analysis of data or statistics” or “information resulting from the systematic analysis of data or statistics” (dictionary.com). In this first article of a three-part series about business analytics, we’ll discuss people analytics — what they are, how they are collected, and why companies need them.

What Are People Analytics?

The popular term ‘people analytics,’ also known as ‘HR analytics,’ or ‘talent analytics,’ refers to the process of gathering and applying data around employees for the purpose of enhancing their engagement and performance, thereby improving business outcomes. People analytics enable corporate leaders to implement data-driven strategies that “improve workforce processes and promote positive employee experience” (Gartner Glossary). A good talent analytics strategy helps managers infuse a method into the madness of overseeing diverse skillsets and personalities, which is always a crucial part of working with any team. They gather information, analyze that information, and use it to inform management and business decisions for their organization.

The People Analytics Process

The root idea behind people analytics is not new, successful companies have always tried to understand their workforce in an effort to retain and improve it. However, the process has become far more mechanized — where managers once relied on paper surveys, suggestion boxes, and ‘gut feelings,’ they can now turn to data science, interactive data visualization, and machine learning (toolbox.com).

The first thing organizations do is decide what kind of data matters most in terms of their projected goals and outcomes. Once they have pinpointed the information they need, they set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or targets that help them measure their progress.

Next, they find the best data-gathering-and-analyzing solution for their needs. They may choose an outside or a self-service interface that provides data mining, data transformation, and data visualization techniques (toolbox.com).

Finally, they analyze the data to build and implement a fact-based, data-driven, quantifiable business strategy. These strategies can deal with everything from hiring and benefits to retention and training.

Why Companies Need People Analytics

Companies need to gather and study these analytics because having fact based information takes the guesswork out of managing a workforce that’s so critical to a successful business.  If you are trying to put together effective virtual training, you need to employ methods and strategies that are … well … effective. Learning analytics help trainers understand different learning styles and inclinations, and trainers can use the data they collect to create more effective courses based on specific learning needs (elearningindustry.com).  Using the right virtual training solution can make all the difference in getting the right analytics to drive successful virtual training programs. 

Every company’s greatest asset is its people. Knowing how to treat them, train them, inspire them, motivate them, engage them, and retain them should be the first order of business for any organization that wants to thrive in today’s competitive market.

In the next article, we will explore the different types of data that can be most useful in accomplishing those ends.

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