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How To Change Your HR Story Using Data Analytics

Everyone loves a story; whether it’s for learning, for pleasure or for business. And when it comes to HR there is no exception. Today HR, more than ever is applying analytics to tell a story about their people.

Data analytics is a hot commodity right now and organisations are paying more attention to their overall numbers, not just the financial. Better understanding your people/HR data through rigorous analysis can deliver leaders with enormous value.

HR has had a bit of a bad reputation for either being too high-level or too tactical but we think there’s room to challenge that perception. A-HA has been working with its clients to show first-hand how their people data has direct impacts to their bottom line, and they love us for it. We’re striving to design people analytics differently for business.

We thought we’d take some time to share how we’re able to change the HR story using data analytics with you. We’ve come up with these four hot tips. We hope you like them.

1. Identify the metrics that matter to the business

Whatever targets your organisation is striving to achieve, to get the most of out of the analytics is to identify the metrics that matter most and align the people metrics with it. Quite simply, find out what’s most important for the business to succeed and marry it up with your HR/People data.

Perhaps you have a customer retention strategy in place. Happy customers often mean happy employees, so look to your engagement data for signs that prove your hypothesis. There is usually so much data available at your fingertips, so it’s important to not just report on it as a standalone report, but overlay it with the metrics that matter. This isn’t just about workforce planning for the year, it’s also about being on the front foot with what your data can tell you. Look for clear strategic alignment and make those connections obvious.

Focus the people analytics activities on the key goals of the organisation and keep these front of mind. People analytics can add significant value by identifying current and future opportunities and issues. This simple activity can put HR in a nice strategic position with the business.

2. Look for data trends and connections through hypotheses

Don’t be afraid by the sheer volume of data. Think of it like a treasure trove of information just waiting to be found. This might appear to be a basic inclusion on our part, but it’s one that takes time and patience to see the trends emerge in all their glory. This is where we believe the real value is lost in some organisations because those pulling the data together don’t have the time to spend testing different hypotheses.

We know that if an organisation has an annual turnover of 6%, at first glance it may look most encouraging, but what’s hiding within it?

Diving in to the analytics of the 6%, we may find that many of the leavers were high performers, mainly women in a certain age range and all from a particular office. We might then look at our exit survey data and find a strong correlation to those women leaving because they don’t see a clear career path.

Understanding these data connection points is critical. Not only do we end up with stronger evidence, but we now have a baseline from which to create change. It just takes a little but more time and patience than we ever expect, but it’s so worth it.

3. Quantifying the data as a dollar value

A great way to get the attention of your leaders is to quantify your data in terms of dollars. Converting your work in to dollars is a great way for leaders to understand the bottom line impact of the decisions being made in the business. Whether it’s a positive or negative impact, leaders need to know the cost associated with their people.

Trends help to create predictive analytics for the business and are powerful for leaders to better understand the intended and unintended consequences of their decisions.

4. Regular benchmarking and reporting

One of the simplest ways to determine the health of your organisation is to perform rigorous and regular benchmarking and reporting by comparing historical data, organisational divisions and roles and externally with competitors.

Quarterly or annual comparisons will inform you as to whether the trend is long term, is recurring or a singular event. The results will show a trend, and whether there has been a decline or increase based on initiatives implemented, or changes based on the external macro environment.

Looking outside of the business, externally benchmarking your numbers will allow you as an organisation to assess how you stack up against similar sized organisations, industries, regions and countries.

Our parting advice is to take the time to build hypotheses and test them rigorously. Don’t do it once and forget it, continue to build on it so that you can measure growth and change from an initial baseline data set.

We’re here to help

There are are a number of great tools and resources that can boost the impact of your analysis and recommendations.


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