People analytics involves using digital tools and data to measure, report, and understand employee performance. It has traditionally been used to assess the return on investment of huma resource programmes, but people analytics can bring much more to the table, from making your workforce more productive to identifying problems before they materialise.

By Bruce van Wyk, director of PaySpace

In addition, with more attention being paid to HR-related issues including employee diversity, the gender pay gap, skills gaps and employees’ role in cyber security, the C-suite are starting to understand that the data people analytics produces is a vital part of running a high performing company.


People analytics in action

Deloitte’s latest Global Human Capital Trends report looked at how the world’s biggest companies are currently using people analytics to get a sense of how relevant they are to business operations.

Business’ intentions on the matter are clear – over two thirds (69 percent) of organisations are building integrated systems to analyse worker-related data, and nearly a fifth (17 percent) already have real-time dashboards to crunch the numbers. When asked about the data sources that they currently use to carry out people analytics, companies listed social media (17 percent), surveys (76 percent), and integrated data from HR and financial systems (87 percent).

Nearly all companies seem to have people analytics high on their list of priorities – the majority (71 percent) place organisational insights as a high priority for their business. Viewing it as a priority and actually putting processes in place to address it, however, are two very different things. Only 8% report having enough usable data, 9% indicate comprehension of how talent dimensions relate to operational performance and as little as 15% use HR and talent scorecards for line managers.

So why is implementation lacking?


How to benefit from people analytics

One possible reason is that a heavy reliance on outdated legacy software is making it difficult to provide truly accessible data that can be shared across a company. In our experience, lots of companies are still using desktop software. This means that information is stored on only a few computers and therefore is not widely accessible, which means important insights and opportunities could fall between the cracks.

The ability for multiple users to work together on one set of data is a great tool to enable more strategic – and collaborative – group decision making. Cloud-based data analytics software will enable this. It gives users the ability to ‘slice and dice’ data, based on any field in the system, and get instant results. You can also invite colleagues to directly access the insights that they need, creating overall a more beneficial and cohesive HR process.

To do even more with the HR and payroll data you have available, you should consider software that also has a people analytics or business intelligence component. These are all features of modern payroll software and can make a huge difference to your business operations. Knowing your staff is about knowing your business and spotting problems before they arise – and people analytics can give you visibility over the data that you need to do so.

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