The Most Common People Analytics Challenges and How to Solve Them

By: Ralf Bovers

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People analytics is empowering businesses to improve organizational performance, gain a better understanding of the employee needs and react more quickly to the agile work environment. A recent study by the CIPD shows that organizations that have adopted advanced people analytics outperform their counterparts. Therefore, it comes with no surprise that businesses are readily investing in people analytics. However, investing in HR technology and hiring data analysts does not automatically translate into results. Businesses are still facing challenges in adopting people analytics and reaping its full benefits. Here are three reasons why.

1. Developing a Business Case for People Analytics

A key challenge for HR is to create a business case that gets buy-in from all relevant stakeholders. It is important to ensure that people analytics becomes an initiative that is embraced by the whole organization. HR is often too quick to jump on the bandwagon and to highlight the immediacy of using people analytics, without first thinking through its ramifications for the organization as a whole. Other stakeholders want to know how their business line is being impacted in terms of ROI, costs and quality. It is therefore important for HR not only to develop an action plan that highlights the immediacy but also to supplement intuitive business acumen with data-driven insights. This can be accomplished by starting with small experiments that answer specific business issues. Using the insights gained from such experiments, HR can now develop a concise business case that highlights the importance of a data-driven HR strategy and how it adds value to organizational objectives. This document should be presented with a simplistic PowerPoint to pave the way and get people on board. Such actions, slowly but gradually, will convince business leaders to become part of the people analytics journey. In this interview with AzkoNobel, their entire HR implementation journey is being discussed.

2. Building Trust to Work with HR Data

Culture is established through trust. Building the trust of employees to collect and use their data has proven to be a challenge for many companies. Organizations need to be transparent, and they have to provide strong security and privacy around data collection. This includes complying with legislation such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Apart from trust, culture is a direct reflection of leadership. HR leadership needs to be ethically driven when it comes to data and analytics. They should not only monitor organizational data but also ensure that generated insights are accurate and unbiased. Digital technologies such as machine learning and cloud solutions can help them out. Again, taking a business perspective and starting small are the key ingredients to put the wheel in motion. This combination of business impact and ethics will accelerate trust and the adoption of people analytics. 

3. Integrating Systems and Becoming Data-Driven

People analytics is a journey, not a destination. Companies throughout the world are on this journey, which starts with basic workforce reporting. It has been proven difficult for HR to upgrade its competencies and systems to fully comprehend people analytics. Primarily, because this journey requires a mature usage of data, data accuracy and integration of multiple systems. Most data systems within organization are disparate, and the definitions and key matrices are not harmonized. Also, it takes time for the HR function to achieve a certain level of analytical maturity, and to a develop skill set and mind-set to use data to support decision making. Nevertheless, modern people analytics technology has a solution for these problems. New cloud software applications enable the integration of all disparate systems into one platform. As a result, they are able to provide both real-time HR insights and link them to business performance. Discover how workforce reporting & people analytics can help companies.


People analytics has opened the door to the new era of human resources and the Future of Work. By creating a business case, building trust and integrating data sources, HR can take the lead in improving business results through people analytics. 

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