In the world of HR, people analytics are kind of a big deal. 70% of company executives cite people analytics as a top priority, indicating that HR will continue to evolve into a more data-driven department. People analytics requires that organizations have a centralized source of employee data and can sort through it to find insights—capabilities that not all HR departments currently possess.

Yet, it won’t be long before all companies’ HR leaders start working with analytics to assess and improve hiring, retention, growth, and so much more. To get started, here are three ways HR can employ people analytics to make better business decisions.

1. Improve recruitment 

People data allows HR leaders to improve their recruitment and hiring strategies in several ways. Data can reveal the best recruitment channels, help hiring managers write more inclusive job descriptions, and better match candidates’ skills and personalities to open roles. Data can also clue recruiters into any practices that may be deterring candidates from applying, accepting an interview, or signing an offer. Creating hiring and recruitment strategies using data-based decision-making can decrease the time to fill a role while increasing the number of resumes that come your way. 

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2. Enhance employee onboarding

The onboarding period is when new hires get familiarized with the company and the role and ask themselves if they like what they see enough to stick around. In short, onboarding is critical to new hire success. If the process itself is underwhelming or employees aren’t excited about what’s ahead, they’re less likely to stay long. People analytics will give your HR team a whole new edge to onboarding and training. Data from surveys and engagement metrics can help your HR team understand which parts of the onboarding process are effective and which are a time-waster. Data can also help HR leaders ensure successful learning and culture integration post-onboarding by assessing contentment through feedback and productivity. 

3. Increase retention rates

To increase retention, employers need to understand why people might leave and how they can incentivize them to stay. The metrics that matter for retention are churn rate, attrition, survey data, performance data, and internal onboarding statistics. Sifting through these metrics and zeroing in on the moments in the employee lifecycle when an employee is at high risk of quitting (for example, after 18 months with no promotion or raise) can present a new problem-solving approach to high turnover.

At Facebook, for example, the Head of People Analytics found that employees who don’t fill out either of their two annual surveys are 2.6 times more likely to leave in the next six months. With this information in hand, HR can create a list of “flight risks” and reach out to managers or to the employees themselves to understand if there’s anything they can do to help. This early intervention can be the difference between high turnover that can ground your business to a halt and healthy turnover that is unavoidable but necessary. 

People analytics matter in HR 

HR leaders can use data to improve the way they work and the outcome of their business decisions, especially when it has to do with putting their people first. 


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From Annie Lubin

Annie grew up in Brooklyn, New York. On a Saturday afternoon, you'll likely find her curled up with her cats reading a magazine profile about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.