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Tips For The Successful Adoption Of People Analytics

February 5, 2021

By now, many organizations are aware of the usefulness of people analytics.  In fact, back in 2017, Deloitte reported that 71% of companies consider people analytics to be a high priority within their organization. 

Despite its widespread acclaim, people analytics - or the use of insights gathered from data and statistics on employees to make decisions and take actions regarding talent management - has seen a slow adoption rate. This is often credited to the seemingly complex nature of implementation. 

There are various common challenges with implementing the practice within organizations, such as struggling to gather useful data, for example. However, we assure you that with the correct knowledge and know-how, and maybe a little bit of help, the process doesn’t need to be as complicated as it seems! If you’re interested in implementing people analytics, but don’t know where to start, then read on. 

Adoption Issues Of People Analytics  

Before we jump into the implementation, let’s take a look at some of the issues you may face, to ensure that you start your people analytics journey prepared for anything. 

Lack Of Knowledge 

Without an understanding of how to perform people analytics, and how to use the insights gathered from it, there is little point in doing it at all. In addition, those HR professionals who lack knowledge about the idea often push back on implementation. It’s understandable, but not being completely confident about how to move forward should not be a showstopper.

According to a report by Deloitte, only 9% of respondents think that they have a good grasp of which talent dimensions ensure that there is high performance in their companies. The whole topic can be confusing at first, but people analytics is worth taking the time to understand. Take a look at our guide to HR analytics, and consider taking a course to get clued up. 

Data Availability 

Many organizations don’t believe that they have sufficient data to perform people analytics. While in some cases it may be true, it often is not. The truth is that most organizations have the data, but it isn’t formatted or organized in a usable way. 

This is not an unsolvable problem though. All you need is the right technology to help you get your data connected, canonicalized, and curated

For those who really have trouble collecting data, that problem can be solved too. The issue is commonly about the fact that various pools of employee data are stored in separate spaces (silos) and are not synchronized. Here, your organization should invest in the correct data infrastructure, to get started. 

Data Cleanliness

“Our data isn’t clean” is a very commonly stated reason for not moving forward, but more than ever technology can also help you overcome that

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When it comes to technological advances and practices that seem futuristic, there is often a lack of buy-in from key stakeholders. It might be difficult to get resources allocated to the people analytics project because higher-ups don’t understand its value. 

There may also be push back from your workforce, who don’t trust that their data will be used for good. Research by Accenture, in which they surveyed 10 000 workers, shows that 92% of employees are comfortable with their data being collected only if it is being used to improve their productivity, wellbeing, and other similar things. 

However, the same research reported that only 30% of 1 400 executives were sure that their workforce data was being used responsibly. In order for employees to be comfortable with their data being collected, a higher percentage of executives need to be sure - and should be able to prove - that their data is being used for good.

Tips For Successful Implementation Of People Analytics 

So, how can your organization get over these stumbling blocks and start successfully implementing people analytics? Well, you can do it by following the tips we list below. 

Build The Culture 

To run an organization that trusts data collection and decisions based on data and analytics (which is the type of organization you need for successful people analytics), you have to build a culture that facilitates this. 

You should begin by introducing data-based decision-making in small ways. Thereafter, you can progress to bigger things - like people analytics. This slow progression will show both higher-ups and employees the effectiveness and efficiency of using analytics to predict outcomes and plan for the future, and will get them comfortable with it at the same time. 

From here, you should gradually increase the use of data - whether it's big or not - and emphasize the ideas of being forward-thinking and innovative, until it becomes part of your company’s culture. It seems cynical, but using the most modern techniques will very much appeal to stakeholders and help you secure buy-in, maximizing the chances that your efforts in people analytics won’t be shut down. 

Decide On The Best Tools For You 

In a constantly growing field, the range of tools to choose from gets wider and wider. This makes it tough to decide on which to acquire. What you should do is think about what your goals are. What questions are you trying to answer? What problems are you trying to solve?

By considering your end goal, you gain a better understanding of the data that needs to be gathered, and how it needs to be presented in order for it to be useful to you. For example, if your organization is struggling to gather unstructured data, then you should consider unstructured data management software

Also, understand that you don’t need to make final decisions now - it’s very effective to evolve and iterate your approach, adding data and analyses over time.

Once that’s done, you should choose the best mix of tools for your organization’s needs, and then ensure that you’re getting the most out of it

Management and Governance 

Your organization should create policies around the governance of data, to make certain that there are people responsible for the accuracy and reliability of the data. You should also establish a projected ROI so that you are able to show that you have succeeded in your efforts with people analytics. 

Putting management and governance structures in place guarantees that your efforts are not going to waste, and it gives people comfort to trust the technology and the process of data collection. 

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Quick-fire Tips 

Here are some more ways to ensure that your adoption of people analytics is successful. 

  • Get your workforce and organization as a whole clued up on analytics, and train those who need to know how to use it.  Keep it aimed at the right level for each stakeholder group, as simple and to the point as you can
  • Do thorough research about what data will add value to your organization. If you don’t do this, you’ll be overwhelmed by pools of useless data. Focus your early efforts on the highest value analyses you can.
  • Ensure that you are turning the data you collect into actions. This way you prove the value of people analytics to management and executives, and you don’t let data and insights go to waste. 
  • Always monitor compliance, to ensure there are no unwanted legal battles. And remember, perception that you are actively taking an ethical approach can be just as important to your success as legal compliance!

Final Thoughts 

People analytics may be tough at the beginning, but once you have the basics - like buy-in from your executives, the right tools, and the correct management structures - in place, you should be ready to go. It doesn’t need to be a complex task! Just follow the tips above, and reap the rewards of making good use of your data.

If you’re keen to know more or to enlist some help for your people analytics initiatives, contact SwoopTalent today!

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