How HR can use people analytics “to get leaders’ attention”

The HR profession should focus on risk when communicating people analytics insights internally, in order “to get leaders’ attention” and gain “a seat for HR at the strategy table.” This is according to Peter Cheese, CEO of the CIPD.

People analytics data offers HR a significant strategic advantage, argues Cheese in a Harvard Business Review Analytics Services report. Through its long-established focus on people management issues, HR has access to data on a wealth of “important indicators of sustainable success.” These include workforce composition and capabilities, employee engagement and leadership effectiveness. He says:

“Driven by outcomes which are important to the business and important to its people, HR can bring more data, both qualitative and quantitative, more insight and guidance, and more value to the enterprise.”

To take full strategic advantage of the data at its fingertips – and thereby achieve “a seat for HR at the strategy table” – HR must ensure that it creates a powerful and compelling narrative around people analytics insights. HR is well advised to focus people analytics narratives on risk. According to Cheese:

“Risk is usually more immediate. [For example, HR might] point out the risks of inadequate leadership development – key players will leave, or people will make mistakes that compromise operations or fail in regulatory compliance. That tends to get leaders’ attention.”

HR professionals themselves are also keen to maximise their people analytics skills, according to recent XpertHR benchmarking research. XpertHR’s HR careers survey finds that only one-quarter (23.2%) of UK HR professionals say that workforce analytics skills are required for their current role. But looking ahead, more than one-third (37.5%) of respondents want to develop workforce analytics skills in future.