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5 Min Read

Data-Driven Decision Making: 3 Steps to Getting Started With HR Analytics

Nicole Klemp

HR analytics can help you see a more complete picture of your organization, so you can make better decisions for your people and the business. But how can HR leaders and managers get started?

Read on to learn how to get started with HR analytics and move toward a more strategic, data-driven people strategy. 

What is HR analytics? 

HR analytics or “people analytics” is a set(s) of data related to individual employees and the collective teams in your organization. It can include both demographic and psychographic data and the quantification of different talent factors like employee engagement, retention, productivity, performance, and more.

By collecting and analyzing HR analytics, people leaders can make more informed talent decisions, improve workforce processes, and create a better employee experience. It also gives HR leaders a more strategic seat at the table and empowers them to influence crucial business decisions at the highest level of the organization. 

Where do I get started with HR analytics?

With the move to digital records and significant advances in HR technology, businesses can access and analyze more data than ever before. But collecting that data is just the first step. What matters is what you do with HR analytics to make the insights actionable. 

The following are three critical steps for getting started with HR analytics.

1. Measure what matters and consolidate your data

You’re likely already capturing valuable employee data in different places like your CRM, HRIS systems, spreadsheets, and maybe even paper files. It’s important to consolidate and centralize this data into a single source of truth. This will improve your team’s efficiency and make the data much more useful, especially as you become more sophisticated with HR analytics.

One step you absolutely cannot skip as you’re getting started with HR data analytics is taking the time to identify the right things to track — and this can be different for different organizations, depending on the business needs. 

What are the most significant business challenges you’re trying to solve or questions that need to be answered? Once you figure out what those problems and goals are, you can determine how people analytics can help you fill in some of the blanks. 

For example, if your organization struggles with unwanted turnover, you need to get to the bottom of what’s causing people to leave. By measuring employee engagement, you can pinpoint areas of disengagement across the company or on specific teams that could be causing the increased turnover. 

Relying on gut feelings about what’s causing people to become disengaged won’t give you the answers you need and may cause you to overcorrect in the wrong areas (e.g., “I think people are leaving for more money.”). But with reliable HR analytics software that can measure the drivers of engagement and give you real data insights, you can make strategic changes in the areas that will have the biggest impact.

[ inline link ] Measure employee engagement, quickly find actionable insights, and take steps to drive change with 15Five Engage. Learn more > 

2. Visualize your data and make it actionable

Approximately 65% of people are visual learners. This means they need to see information to process and retain it, and their brains can process images and videos much faster and easier than text. 

When it comes to data, a bunch of figures in a database or on a spreadsheet doesn’t tell much of a story, and most people will have no idea what to do with it. This is where data visualization can help take all that information and give it meaning.

Most companies don’t have the luxury of a data scientist on staff, so it’s helpful to use software that analyzes and illustrates this data for you. A dashboard with visual representations of your people analytics can help you make data-driven decisions at a glance. You can also work with a data expert who can help you make sense of your data and recommend the best actions to take.

Let’s stick with our employee engagement example. You can measure engagement in your organization, then 15Five’s software will analyze your results at the company, department, or team level and identify wins and challenges across spheres, including leadership, manager, co-worker relationships, and work-life.

By visualizing this data in a color-coded dashboard, you can easily pinpoint the drivers of engagement that are below average. With this knowledge, you can then draw better conclusions about those areas of disengagement in the organization and how to address them.

3. Attach HR analytics to business goals

When tied directly to key business goals and outcomes, HR analytics can help you make more strategic decisions and shape organization-wide strategy. People data also gives HR teams a better way to show their impact and build a stronger business case when asking for executive support or company resources.

By measuring the right things, your HR team can identify threats to the organization and opportunities to improve workforce performance, engagement, and productivity — all factors directly tied to business performance, customer satisfaction, sales, and other KPIs. 

HR analytics allow you to align the entire organization around a clear set of goals and track actual progress toward those objectives. That way, everyone on the team is clear on what they should be working on and can feel like an integral part of the organization’s success.

Set and track your HR KPIs and unify your team around the right company OKRs and goals with 15Five. Learn more >

Evidence-based management with 15Five 

15Five’s HR analytics software can support your efforts to create a more strategic, data-driven approach to HR. Our HR analytics tools will empower you to track and improve employee performance and engagement, align your team around top business goals, and develop your employees and managers so your workplace can thrive. 

Learn more about our solutions >