Trend 7: People Analytics

After hours of searching, days of reading, and weeks of digesting, I have identified thirteen global trends impacting the world of work in 2017 and beyond. This is part 7 in a series of 13 articles.

With computers all around us, data is driving everything.

(photo credit: KamiPhuc)

People analytics has become a serious business discipline, and the job of the data scientist is slowly being extended to cover HR. The new experts are using data analysis, interaction analysis, and social network analysis, across hundreds of sources of data, either reported or measured, to better understand what is going on in the enterprise. The idea is to apply the insights obtained from all these measurements across the company to talent acquisition, operations, finance, workforce planning, and more.

However, progress to inform human capital decisions is slow. Only a few companies claim to have usable data from people analytics. And despite all the data being collected, top management is getting a bit impatient with HR teams that are not able to deliver much in terms of predictive and actionable insights.

Top management is getting a bit impatient with HR teams that are not able to deliver much in terms of predictive and actionable insights.

As with any other tool, it is often garbage in, garbage out. Analyses can only be as good as the data fed into the tools. Accurate and consistent data is foundational to all analytics practices. It will be a major task for HR to get stakeholders and users to ensure that data quality remains high. Programs and protocols will have to be implemented to clean data and maintain data consistency across all sources.

Not only the quality of data is a challenge. The usage of it is a challenge as well. HR departments struggle to find people with the talent and skills to use and visualize data, and who can offer new ideas, actions, or policies that take advantage of what they learned.

The areas where people analytics has made the biggest strides so far are probably recruitment and retention. There are tools available that help HR predict which job candidates will be good performers, and there are other tools that notify HR when available data suggests that some employees might be planning to leave the company.

In the near future, we can expect employee-facing technologies that can identify how workers feel, and adjust personal communication and coaching accordingly. With a few more of such steps, people analytics becomes central to almost everything companies do in management and HR. Every new corporate policy, every new employee incentive, and every organizational change can be informed by data.

The Agility Scales team is hard at work trying to offer useful insights about people and the practices they use. If you want to know more, join our community.

This major trend was derived from the insightful results offered by the authors and publishers of the following reports:

2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends
Accenture Technology Vision 2017
Boston Consulting Group 12 Forces 2017
Bersin-Deloitte — Predictions for 2017
Mercer Talent Trends 2017 Global Study
PWC CEO 20th Survey Report 2017
Randstad Sourceright 2017 Talent Trends Report
Sodexo 2017 Workplace Trends Report