People Analytics is one of the most talked about disciplines within HR. Interest in the subject continues to soar, adoption levels are on the rise and in my experience at least, people analytics is increasingly acknowledged as a core element of HR’s response to the challenge (and opportunity) presented by the future of work.


People Analytics is moving from the periphery to the centre of HR


The inaugural HR Tech World show in San Francisco (see Key Takeaways) reinforced my belief that people analytics is moving from the periphery towards the centre of HR. This assertion is based on experiences from the show as well as other developments in the first half of 2017:


  1. Interest levels in people analytics have soared – both Madhura Chakrabarti (who presented the preliminary findings of Bersin by Deloitte’s High-Impact People Analytics study – see Slideshare) and my session on trends in people analytics (see Slideshare) at HR Tech World in San Francisco were standing room only.
  2. People analytics is seen as a core capability by organisations that have invested in the discipline Josh Bersin – also at HR Tech World (see Slideshare) – described how “Analytics is no longer just a ‘good idea’ for HR, but is now mandatory”. This certainly applies for companies that have invested in developing people analytics capabilities and generated improved business outcomes as a result.
  3. People analytics underpins efforts to improve the employee experience – with employees expecting consumer-like experiences at work in parallel with developments in technology and new data sources, companies are well placed to better understand employee sentiment, provide personalised services to employees and ultimately improve business and employee outcomes. You can’t do any of this without data and people analytics. To deliver on the ‘Employee First’ theme of the most recent HR Tech World shows in the US and Europe, companies must invest in people analytics.
  4. People analytics – the key to unlocking skills and organisational design – digital is changing every single business model and is central to the next generation of HR transformation and organisational design. This is fuelling a shift in focus from roles/jobs to skills and also the composition of the workforce (e.g. employee, contractor, consultant, outsource partner, automation). People analytics in tandem with strategic workforce planning and organisational network analysis is central to organisations understanding the right structure, skills, workforce mix and culture required to execute on business strategy.


How is HR doing – Participate in a new research study


Moving people analytics to the forefront of HR and the function becoming more data-driven as a consequence is a significant shift for the vast majority of companies. How is HR doing with regards to this change? How does your organisation compare to its peers?


These are some of the questions that will be covered in a joint study by HRN, the organisers of HR Tech World, and the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute.


The short survey seeks to explore people analytics readiness and, crucially, attitudes towards new and emerging employee data sources. The survey asks to what extent HR practitioners are already using, or intend to use, a range of employee data sources, both established (such as performance reviews and engagement survey responses) and emerging (such as sleep and step patterns from wearable devices).


Peter Russell, Research & Development Director from HR Tech World, is keen for as many HR practitioners as possible to complete the survey: “The survey won’t take long to complete – around 15 minutes – and we’re further encouraging people to respond by offering participants the first copies of any resulting insights from the survey as well as the chance to win free tickets for an HR Tech World event.We are very keen to find out more about the reality of workforce analytics adoption among HR practitioners. How much is science fiction and how much is science fact?”


Sheri Feinzig, who heads up the research work of the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute, said about the study: “We’re gathering information about topics we know are of prime interest to HR practitioners. Insights into the state of workforce analytics readiness and plans for the use of emerging data sources, such as data from wearables, are likely to be very helpful to those looking to fully exploit new technologies and approaches, and importantly, to do so ethically. We hope as many HR practitioners as possible will be able to take this short survey and then benefit from the insights we gather.”


The HR practitioner survey is open until mid-August 2017. Insights and reports will be published from October 2017 onwards.


To complete the survey, HR practitioners can follow this link:


Previous research reports from the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute are available for download and viewing at:


See the research revealed at HR Tech World in Amsterdam


The results of the study will be revealed during HR Tech World Amsterdam, which takes place on 24-25 October. It will feature in the Smart Data track, which I will again have the honour of moderating – having done so in Paris last October and London in March. Smart Data is always one of the busiest tracks at HR Tech World – invariably seeing standing room only, and I am excited that the study will feature as a central part of the agenda.


About the Author


David is speaking at and moderating the Smart Data track at HR Tech World in Amsterdam on 24-25 October and is a long-term member of the HRN Blog Squad. He is a respected influencer, writer and speaker on people analytics, data driven HR and the future of work. Connect with David on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter and read his blogs on LinkedIn, and HRN.