People Analytics Guide 2024


Imagine if you could harness the power of the people-related strategies used by companies like Google and Dell to improve your workforce planning and provide valuable insights to your business? Now you can, with contemporary people analytics tools. Our People Analytics Guide 2024 outlines the essentials you need to know about this transformative element of talent management.  

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.

What is the difference between HR analytics and people analytics?  

Analytics can be used to measure and track the effectiveness of all aspects of business. And while the terms may be used interchangeably, there are subtle differences in the definition of ‘HR analytics’ and ‘people analytics’. They refer to two distinct data sets – but both play a role in helping businesses make data-driven decisions. 

For example, HR analytics is primarily used to measure and assess the performance and efficiency of the HR function itself. For example, analysing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as employee turnover, time and cost to hire, staff turnover, etc.  

HR analytics leverages data generated through various HR processes across the employee lifecycle, from recruitment and onboarding, through to performance appraisals, training programs, and other functions overseen by HR. 

While critical in terms of keeping the team accountable and understanding where to focus, these analytics might only be seen as being relevant only to the HR team. 

People analytics, on the other hand, is wider in scope, and typically refers to insights about the workforce across all functions and departments, from sales to customer service and operations. It might include not just HR-related data but also data relating to market share and customer satisfaction, providing a bird’s-eye view of the entire workforce and organisation. This in turn can help shape, and contribute to, business goals. 

An additional difference is that data generated by people analytics has a predictive element, which helps a business tap into both historical and current data to predict likely future outcomes. This has been aided by advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which can analyse and interpret disparate data sets. Examples might include: 

  • Predicting future employee turnover rate or ‘flight risk’ 

  • Predicting future employee behaviour in various contexts 

  • Predicting future staffing needs, based on seasonal or business needs and consumer demand 

Both HR analytics and people analytics add value to HR teams and can help clarify their contribution to business success. However, it could be argued that it’s people analytics that is the most useful, as it adds a proactive, predictive element to HR’s arsenal. 

What are the 4 stages of people analytics?

People analytics is not a new phenomenon, and while the days of storing important people-related data in spreadsheets or multiple software systems are approaching an end, it’s worth outlining the four key stages of analytics usage. From simply describing talent problems to prescribing solutions for them, use the following guide to assess your organisation’s level of maturity in using people analytics.

Stage 1: Descriptive analytics 

This first stage is typically reactive. A problem or trend is identified by someone in the business – perhaps a department head – and the basic metrics used to assess the problem or trend is focused on the past; it’s reactive rather than proactive. For example, high employee turnover, time to fill vacancies, etc. The big data analysis won’t necessarily help you prevent or solve those problems – and in the case of high employee turnover, the problem has already manifested: nothing can be done to bring those people back. 

Stage 2: Diagnostic analytics  

At this stage, HR will use data to diagnose the reasons behind people-related issues, such as high turnover or low engagement. Diagnostic analytics involves identifying patterns and relationships in data to understand the root causes of problems. While this is useful, again, it does not present solutions.  

Examples of descriptive and diagnostic analytics include: 

  • Time to fill. The time to fill (or to hire) is a measure of how effective your talent acquisition program is. The more time required to fill a position, the more resources are wasted, and the more stressed your existing employees become as they invariably need to cover vacant roles. 

  • Employee turnover rates. This metric assesses the success of your retention strategies. It is especially valuable when using predictive HR analytics (see Stage 3 below). It helps you analyse how accurate your forecasts are, why people are leaving, or whether it’s localised or specific to specific roles, locations or areas of the business. 

  • Promotion and internal mobility rates. Track the rates of vertical and lateral movements within the company. The higher the number, the more effective your succession planning and internal mobility strategies are. When employees can be promoted to new positions, it reflects well on retention strategies and strengthens your internal talent pipeline. 

Stage 3: Predictive analytics 

Stage 3 is about using data to be more proactive. Instead of looking at what happened in the past and identifying trends or problems in the current time, predictive analytics is about determining future trends, identifying smaller issues before they blow up into bigger problems, and testing ‘what-if’ analyses. Examples might include workforce demand and supply, turnover, and performance.  

Predictive analytics enables organisations to take proactive measures to address potential issues before they occur. It might also be used to understand the impact of decisions before implementing them. For example, would offering shift bidding to staff increase shift take-up and reduce turnover? (the answer is yes!) 

Here are just two examples of predictive analytics: 

  • Employee turnover prediction. Understanding what might drive employees to quit and when that might happen is critical for any business. Predictive analytics allows you to see what factors influence these decisions so that you can leverage the data and reduce flight risks. 

  • Performance prediction. When trying to create programs to boost performance, you need a clear understanding of what drives someone to be a top performer. With predictive HR analytics, you can see how likely your programs are to succeed and create specialised programs that will make a real impact. 

Stage 4: Prescriptive analytics 

The most advanced form of data analysis is prescriptive analytics. While Stage 3 provides forecasts for what could happen, at Stage 4, organisations can use data and AI capabilities to prescribe specific actions to improve HR outcomes. For example, using training and development to improve engagement, or recognising that one to three hours or overtime per week increases tenure, but more than that decreases it. 

Here are just two examples of where prescriptive analytics might help: 

  • Retention strategies. Knowing when and why employees might quit is useful, but you can’t stop there if you don’t want to lose your top talent. Prescriptive analytics can show you specific retention strategies that can appeal to your workforce based on their demographics, their feedback, their personal circumstances and aspirations. 

  • DEI initiatives. DEI should be a priority for every company. Using prescriptive analytics will guide you in choosing the best DEI initiatives based on where you are today and where you want to get to in the future. 

What are the benefits of people analytics? 

We know that HR has trailed other departments like finance and marketing in their use and understanding of analytics. Indeed, research from Deloitte 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 analyse and visualise 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 workforce planning – people analytics facilitate a predictive approach to workforce planning. For example, is high employee turnover occurring in a particular location or department? Is it a manager training issue? Can ‘flight risks’, or regrettable losses be identified earlier, so that action can be taken to retain those employees?  

  • 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. 

How to get started with people analytics 

If you’re just starting on your journey with people analytics, or perhaps you’re at the earlier descriptive or diagnostic stages of maturity, some simple planning can optimise your chances of gaining actionable insights to achieve your business goals. As Deloitte suggests, high-performing organisations 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 6 steps will help your HR team members 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.

 How can intelliHR help? 

When implementing your people analytics project, look out for technology features that can add significant value beyond improved HR processes. Humanforce’s HCM suite includes a range of solutions that not only support workforce and people analytics processes, but also help you achieve better business outcomes. For example: 

Our People Analytics solution is your one-stop shop for tracking, assessing and reporting on key HR metrics such as headcount, engagement, turnover, remuneration spend, tenure, starters and leavers, span of control for managers, goal progress, training completion compliance, employee wellbeing, employee satisfaction, employee net promoter score, and more.  

You’ll also have the ability to cross-filter your data by business unit, pay grade, tenure, managers' span of controls, and more. In addition, our report visualisation tools make it easy to uncover potential problems, opportunities, or hidden biases. 

Similarly, Humanforce’s Workforce Analytics solution is designed to empower smarter decision-making to help 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. Track projected vs. actual labour costs, projected labour demand vs. actual labour demand, rostered vs. clocked hours, absenteeism and no shows, and so much more.  

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. 

Why else should you choose Humanforce? 

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. 


In today’s tech-rich landscape, it’s essential your tools can talk to each other. This is critical when it comes to using data effectively. Seamless integrations between different technology platforms is essential. Humanforce has pre-configured integrations using APIs with over 100 payroll processors and other HR software solutions. Integrations with business 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.  


Whether you’re a local business or a multinational corporate enterprise, Humanforce is scalable to your organisation. We work primarily with mid to enterprise-sized organisations to help manage their workforces and build sustainable, profitable businesses. 


The HR department deals with vast amounts of employee and financial data – all of which must be accurate, secure, and compliant. Humanforce prioritises data security and compliance for its entire suite. In summary: 

  • Compliance: In every aspect of Australian, New Zealand and global employment regulations Humanforce has endeavoured to be, and to remain, fully compliant. Humanforce is compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules on how and where to store personal data. See our Privacy Policy here

  • Security: Humanforce’s commitment to the highest standard of data protection and risk management has been recognised by ISO 27001 Certification. This applies to our entire HCM suite. The certification process involved a rigorous evaluation of Humanforce's security practices, including its advanced technical controls and security-first approach to system design. Key elements such as robust access control frameworks, meticulous risk management, and unified encryption practices were assessed to ensure the highest level of security for customer data.  

Free resources 

In addition to our tech teams, we offer support by way of a range 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. 

Align your HR data to people analytics and your business strategy 

While the benefits are obvious, it’s important to note that insights rely on the quality of your data, so ensure your data sources and inputs are accurate. Furthermore, data is not typically an end to 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. 

As a final tip, remember that in 2024 people analytics should be informing all aspects of your HR strategy. It will help with planning, predicting and executing on your overall strategy – and thus will have a direct, tangible impact on your organisational strategy. Decisions based on advanced metrics aligned with your goals can be powerful tools for growing a thriving business. 

About Humanforce 

Humanforce is the best-in-one platform for frontline and flexible workforces, offering a truly employee centred, intelligent and compliant human capital management (HCM) suite – without compromise. Founded in 2002, Humanforce has a 2300+ customer base and over half a million users worldwide. Today, we have offices across Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. 

Our vision is to make work easier and life better by focusing on the needs and fulfilment of frontline workers, and the efficiency and optimisation of businesses. 

To learn more about how Humanforce’s solutions can help automate people processes in your business, please contact us.