People analytics: How to capture, understand and align HR data to your business strategy

Imagine if you could harness the power of strategies used by companies like Google and Dell to improve your workforce planning and derive valuable insights into your business? Now you can, with contemporary people analytics tools.

People analytics was a novel concept just a few years ago, but most large organisations now have people analytics teams using big data to help their HR professionals and business leaders achieve better business outcomes. In fact, over 70% of companies view people analytics as a high priority in their organizations, according to a report by Deloitte. And you don’t need to be a big player to benefit from digital HR and data analysis. Today’s workforce planning technology comes with built-in people analytics capabilities, giving you greater visibility over your human resources and helping you make informed, data driven decisions.

What is people analytics?

People analytics (also known as workforce analytics, talent analytics and HR analytics) is the practice of gathering employee data and transforming it into actionable insights to improve business outcomes. For example, HR departments might use information about employee turnover for workforce planning. Business leaders and HR professionals might consider cost-per-hire data to improve recruiting efficiency.

People analytics draws on the fields of data science and human resources to analyse data and generate meaningful insights. Information is typically transformed so users (like people analytics teams) can visualise data, making it fast and easy to make strategic decisions. For example, graphs and charts could help your organisation quickly visualise late start, no-show or overtime trends. 

The insights generated by people analytics tools are not only helpful for HR processes like talent management and performance management. They also help decision makers take a data driven approach to overcoming major challenges, finding cost savings, and achieving business goals.

While people analytics was once the domain of corporate monoliths, advances in data science and new technologies over the past decade have made people analytics solutions accessible for most companies. It’s now used by tens of thousands of organisations across the globe to uncover actionable recommendations to improve performance and prepare for future needs.

The evolution of data analysis: how tech is transforming people analytics

Employers have always had ways of managing their workforces and preparing for future needs, such as paper-based planners, spreadsheets and manual analysis of workforce trends. However, new technologies have taken the guesswork and clumsiness out of people analytics. For example, artificial intelligence can analyse big data in previously unimaginable ways.

Data scientists have capitalised on technology’s strengths to build platforms for the contemporary workforce. Quality people analytics solutions can accurately turn metrics into actionable insights with a speed and agility that facilitates real time decision making.

Benefits of people analytics

Given Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends survey found only 3% of over 6,300 executives said they had adequate information to make strategic decisions about their workforce, clearly there’s a potent need for quality analytics solutions.

People analytics can deliver an advantage that helps you stay ahead of your competition, along with multiple other benefits, including:

  • Improved HR processes – the ability to quickly analyze and visualize data can enhance recruitment and onboarding processes and reduce employee turnover.

  • Greater insight into your business – easily see patterns and identify issues in your workplace, such as cost overruns and employee performance trends.

  • Better change management – people analytics facilitate a predictive approach to workforce planning. Identify future needs such as new hires to fill skills gaps or better technology for your HR teams.

  • Improved performance – quality people analytics solutions have customisable dashboards for generating insights that can transform business performance, by uncovering absenteeism or employee time theft issues, for instance.

  • Time and cost savings – save time and energy on routine admin while operating with greater overall efficiency.

Importantly, the benefits of people analytics aren’t simply backed up by observations from data scientists or HR practitioners. In fact, research by McKinsey & Company found advanced people analytics solutions can drastically improve the way organisations recruit and develop new hires and retain top talent. They discovered people analytics led to an 80% increase in recruiting efficiency, a 25% rise in business productivity, and a 50% reduction in attrition rates.

Potential pitfalls of HR data and people analytics

While the benefits are obvious, it’s important to note some potential downsides of people analytics. For example, insights can only reflect the quality of your data, so ensure your data sources and inputs are accurate. Furthermore, data is not typically an end in itself. Be sure to use it to your advantage, such as to make strategic HR decisions or plan for future needs. In today’s rapidly evolving workplace environments, it’s also important to ensure the actionable insights you’re deriving from data remain relevant to shifting needs.

Nor can data, no matter how good, replace the need for soft HR skills to foster employee engagement and a strong employee value proposition. Be careful not to lose sight of the ‘human’ in human resources when you commit to building a data driven culture.

How to be great at people analytics

Rather than diving straight into a people analytics strategy, some planning optimises your chances of gaining actionable insights to achieve your business goals. As Deloitte note, high-performing organizations are twice as likely to use people analytics tools than their low-performing counterparts, but they use them to enhance – not replace – a comprehensive strategy for people analytics success.

These steps will help your HR professionals and business leaders make strategic decisions and implement a successful people analytics strategy.

1. Define your questions

Consider which data will be most relevant and meaningful to your business goals. For example, what metrics will prove you’ve met your KPIs? What data sources will reveal your future needs?

2. Experiment and explore

The people analytics solution market is crowded. Review various options and compare their capabilities. Take advantage of free demos to get a feel for which platform is right for you.

3. Create an action plan

Armed with knowledge of your business needs and the offerings available, create an action plan. This might include writing your business case or consulting with other departments within your organisation.

4. Develop a simple outline

Start creating a broad strategy for data analysis and interpretation. For example, create an outline covering your basic methodology for data collection, cleaning, analysis, and interpretation.

5. Develop a measurable business strategy

Ensure you have transparent KPIs and ROI expectations for your people analytics project. A winning case will be supported by data and a clear-cut action plan.

6. Select your people analytics solution

Congratulations! You’re ready to choose your solution and start enjoying the benefits of powerful people analytics capabilities.

Implementing HR analytics technology

When implementing your people analytics project, look out for features that can add significant value beyond improved HR processes. Humanforce has a range of capabilities that not only support people analytics processes, but also help you achieve better business outcomes.

Customisable reporting

Humanforce’s workforce analytics tool is designed to empower smarter decision making to help you improve employee experiences and make smarter workforce planning decisions. With pre-made dashboards for success metrics, you can quickly discover and apply insights to optimise your workforce planning and scheduling. Plus, our customised dashboard builder allows you to examine what matters most in your business. With simple drag and drop functionality, you can visualise reporting in meaningful ways, drill deeper for greater insight, and analyse and interpret your most critical workforce management data sources.

Tech support

Humanforce Support helps you get the most from your investment. Our dedicated team of support engineers is on hand to ensure your system gets up and running quickly and seamlessly. For complex or fast-growing businesses, our enhanced support options give you greater access to our dedicated technical team, with extended support hours for help when you need it. We also offer proactive support and monitoring, to prevent issues from arising and help prevent small concerns from escalating.

Free resources

In addition to our tech teams, we offer support by way of a plethora of free resources. Stay on top of new developments and discover helpful tips and techniques on our blog, learn from others with our customer stories, and download our eBooks and whitepapers for analysis of key issues.


In today’s tech-rich landscape, it’s essential your tools can talk to each other. Humanforce’s pre-configured integrations with over 100 payroll processors allow you to see everything in one place while making payroll processes fast, smooth, accurate and compliant. Integrations with industry management systems enable you to use event, occupancy, foot traffic or PoS data to make informed decisions based on data driven insights into overall demand. This supports optimal scheduling, cost reduction and industry compliance. Plus, our API key means we can build an integration with almost any existing technology.


By reducing or eliminating the need for file uploads, Humanforce helps enhance your data security. Our biometric vein scanning and facial recognition technology also enhances security, along with greater accuracy and adherence with privacy requirements. 


Whether you’re a local business or a multinational corporate enterprise, Humanforce is scalable to your organisation. We work with companies of almost any size to help you manage your workforce and build a sustainable, profitable business.

Align your HR data to people analytics and your business strategy

In summary, people analytics form one aspect of planning and executing your overall organisational strategy. Decisions based on advanced metrics aligned with your goals can be powerful tools for growing a thriving business.   

If you want to speak to us about how Humanforce software can elevate your people analytics and deliver actionable insights to improve your business decisions and productivity, schedule a demo, or contact us here.