Getting started with people analytics can be a daunting task. But there's no need to worry — we spoke to People Analytics Leaders across different organisations and asked them to share the most important advice for growing people analytics teams. Here's what they had to say.
1. Hallie Bregman
When it comes to a new people analytics function or a small people analytics team, there are a few things that can make the difference between success and failure.
One of these is to start small. There's no need to boil the ocean on day one. It's better to pick a few really intentional areas to focus on and that makes all the difference in getting buy-in from stakeholders and getting your work done.
People analytics has incredible value and not everyone knows that. And so, making sure that you get business stakeholders and leadership on board is really important and that often can be accomplished by doing some really simple, basic analysis.
For instance, a turnover analysis. Everybody loves a good turnover analysis, especially in this market. This is really impactful for lots of folks throughout the business because they're losing people on their team.They need to increase recruiting capability, they are missing skills because of people leaving.
And so, letting stakeholders know that by understanding what the trends are and what is driving people to leave, the company has some levers to play with to think about how the company might retain talent. So that's a place that is universally helpful to start.
The other thing I would tell small teams is to use technology. Use automation, use platforms.
Invest in a really smart platform to help scale the capabilities of reporting rate — no more downloading reports, pivot tables in Excel, etc. I think we've been there and done that.
The idea is to make sure that things are automated on your behalf. I think that with a small team, you can get a lot done if you have a really strong platform to help interact with that.
Those are the two biggest pieces of advice that I would give:
Number one, start small, don't try to boil the ocean, but do something really intentional and strategic, particularly things that will resonate with business.
Number two, make sure you're leveraging platforms so that you can increase the impact of your work, increase the scale of your work and be able to get more done with less.
2. Shain Zaidenberg
Really understand the quality of the data first and foremost, but also ensure that the larger projects and insights that you are spending time on align with the key initiatives across the company. This is one of the best ways to start showing your value.
Personally, I also like to work with an HR calendar of deliverables and start creating deliverables before they're even requested.
A good example would be if maybe your company has performance reviews every March. Start pulling out some historical performance data and start looking at those connections.
Start looking at hotspots. Start refreshing the leadership team on what performance looked like in the last few years and what the trends have been. So deliver those before the performance review even starts.
Another thing to note is that when you're a small team, you can easily be overwhelmed. So, always remember the cost of saying yes.
You're not going to be able to say yes to every single request that you get. It’s okay for you to allow for some of the ad hoc requests to come in, but ensure that you're also aligning your main deliverables to what's critical.
Remember that transparency is key. Ensure that people understand why you are saying no to a really important question that's being asked.
I also like to have a ticketing system that I create for the ad hoc insight requests that come in. And then, as part of my weekly connects or monthly connects with the leadership team, I like to review those insights that are coming in with the leadership team to really ensure that we're tackling things in the right order or prioritizing correctly.
Finally, try not to overwhelm your team. Because if all you're doing is churning out insights without having a chance to really do the necessary preparation of the data, ensuring that you really have the ability to explore the data, to look at all angles, if you're rushing through things, you're not going to be doing the best job possible.
3. Erik Ebert
Well, first of all, many people analytics teams are small.
If you are a small team, I would suggest that you base whatever technology solution on a proven technology and a proven vendor that has tried it before.
I would also encourage you to seek outside help, as building people analytics that actually give value to the business requires not only technical understanding, it also requires a deep understanding of the business.
You'll also need to master some basic HR terms, including IT skills or knowledge of how to integrate different systems and get data into your reporting tool.
When it comes to presenting your findings, the art of storytelling is a key skill for presenting your people analytics findings to different stakeholders across the organization in a way that will make them want to listen.
So really, it's a multi-dimensional effort to build a powerful and meaningful solution. And if you are a small team, it's difficult to have all these competencies, these skills in the same person.
Ultimately, the bottom line is that people analytics functions best when it's closely tied to strategic decision making.
There should always be a mutually beneficial relationship between people analytics teams and other parts of the business.