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2020 Priorities for People Analytics Leaders

In 2018, the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) published in partnership with ROI Institute, Four Ways to Advance Your People Analytics, our third longitudinal study on people analytics. In the conclusion of that report, we noted that the field of people analytics has been steadily maturing over the last decade, with organizations moving up the value chain from standard reports, to analysis and insight, to data mining and predictive analytics, and ultimately to driving HR and broader business strategy.

As 2020 approaches, we asked the members of i4cp’s People Analytics Board—a group comprised of leaders of the people analytics functions at organizations in various market verticals including biotech, finance, healthcare, insurance, travel, hospitality, and more—what their priorities were for the coming year.

In some cases, continuing to solidify the foundations remains a top priority. Because the appetite for data in general keeps increasing, it is important to normalize the use of people data and analytics to inform decision making in all areas of HR. Beyond the core people analytics team, key roles such as HRBPs and others continue to be the focus of upskilling initiatives. And to best support line of business leaders, the right combination of automated direct delivery (scorecards, dashboards, etc.) and self-service options can provide a wide-ranging set of data and insights while reducing the manual efforts of often limited people analytics experts. 

But in order to have the highest impact, people analytics teams that are proactive rather than reactive in terms of projects, and predictive rather than only descriptive in terms of data, can go beyond supporting the everyday to supporting truly transformational initiatives. Three areas were mentioned most often by board members, each focusing on a different key audience: employees, leaders, and fellow HR professionals:  

  • Enhancing the employee experience 
    At the recent HR Tech conference in Las Vegas it was clear that “employee experience” was the hottest trend and buzzword in the human resources field today. Our board members know there are many ways that data and insights can inform and even drive initiatives to improve the employee experience, from supporting continuous listening programs via sentiment analysis technology, to using data to personalize learning recommendations and chatbot interactions, to leveraging data to ensure greater talent mobility—a key way to improve engagement and lower attrition rates. Supporting these initiatives and more is an increased need to better measure the various facets of the employee experience.

  • Supporting business leaders to make better decisions
    Whether directly or more often in partnership with HRBPs and others, people analytics teams will increasingly provide data and insights that help line of business leaders make better decisions. Examples mentioned by board members for 2020 ranged from helping to identify critical skill gaps that exist now or will soon as some tasks get automated or supplemented with AI, providing insights from predictive analytics on attrition risk and other key talent management factors, and using historical data to determine the best sources to close talent gaps.

  • Informing and driving HR strategy
    All areas of HR can and will benefit from the increased use of data and analytics in 2020 and the years to come. The most common area cited by board members was analysis that supports the talent management function, such as attrition modeling, hiring channel optimization, training impact, and overall workforce optimization. Additional strategic initiatives for some board members in 2020 include analysis and support for global diversity and inclusion efforts, providing intelligence around compensation consulting, and leveraging technology to both reduce costs while enabling higher value and more frequent human touchpoints between HR professionals and the employees they serve—effectively re-humanizing many HR teams.  

2020 is here. With a dual focus on continuing to solidify the foundation while also increasing the frequency that people analytics provides transformational results, members of the i4cp People Analytics Board are well-poised to both inform and drive HR and broader business strategies in 2020. 

Thomas Stone
Tom is a Senior Research Analyst at i4cp, with over two decades of experience as a writer, researcher, and speaker in the learning and development and broader human capital industry. He is also author of multiple books, including co-authoring Interact and Engage! 75+ Activities for Virtual Training, Meetings, and Webinars (second edition from ATD Press, 2022).