The Business Case for People Analytics

15 February 2022
Written by Helen Ramsey

People analytics is a relatively new field that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Many businesses are starting to realise the potential benefits of using data and analysis to inform decisions about their people.

If you need to convince people that analytics is worth investing in for your business, this article will help you build a business case for it. We'll summarise some of the key benefits that people analytics can offer, and we'll outline how you can go about getting started with it.

So read on to learn more about why people analytics should be a priority for your business.

Getting started with your business case

The goal of your business case is to gain approval and buy-in from your stakeholders. Great business cases typically include the following sections.

  • Executive summary
  • Benefits, costs and scope
  • Dependencies and requirements
  • Implementation plan and schedule
  • Measuring (and reporting) success

Successful business cases will need to include sufficient detail to cover the essentials without any unnecessary waffle. Additional information and references can always be included at the end of your document.

What problems can People Analytics solve?

Your business case should sell the benefits of your proposal. Consider the problems you are looking to address and highlight the opportunities.

People analytics is a way for HR professionals and managers to use data-driven insights on their employees' performance, engagement levels, and more. It can help people make smarter decisions about how they manage HR processes like recruitment, training & development programs, performance management and more. People Analytics can inform compensation decisions, recruitment plans and redundancy decisions.

Define the scope and the costs

Clearly outlining the project's scope and anticipated costs is important to getting approval from senior executives. HR professionals need to be able to articulate the benefits of People Analytics to justify the investment. By defining the project's parameters, HR can make sure that they are collecting data that will improve decision making and performance within their organisation.

The first step is to identify what you want to measure with People Analytics. For example, your HR team may be focused on improving performance and talent management, so it's important to identify key metrics related to these areas. Once you know what you want to measure, you need to define the data collection process. This will include deciding which tools and software you will use as well as who will collect and analyse the data. Finally, consider how to present the information, how to communicate it, and how frequently.

Dependencies and requirements

Think about the data you will need access to, such as the HRIS platform, performance management tools, absence tracking system etc. Summarise which parts of this data you will require, how often it will be refreshed, who will have access, and how it will be kept secure.

Implementation plan and schedule

A detailed implementation plan should be created. This should outline the steps of the project and who will be involved.

The initial stages of the project will usually require HR to work with the business leaders and managers to clarify the details. Later stages may require the involvement of IT to ensure the availability and control of the data.

Be realistic about the projected timescales, but don't be afraid to set challenging goals.

Measuring (and reporting) success

Status reports are critical to maintaining the support of your senior managers and other stakeholders. HR professionals are often tasked with proving the value of their work, and people analytics is no exception.

When creating a business case for people analytics, be sure to outline how you will measure success and how project status will be reported.

And finally...

Think about what your success will look like. More frequent reports? Greater depth of information? New insights? Improved availability for the HR team to respond to questions from managers of senior leaders?

Helen Ramsey is responsible for strategy and operations at Her focus is data and technology within HR. She writes regular articles on people data and analytics.

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