Build Your People Analytics on Strong Operational Reporting Foundation

Aug 16, 2016


If you are a professional in any HR function, we are sure you know of the pressure to develop people analytics capability in your enterprise. The world has changed, and we are in a war for talent. Every business function is being digitized, and the pressure is on Talent Management to join the 4th industrial revolution.

The global economic climate is forcing business leaders to strive for new ways to improve productivity. Yet employees have become less loyal and harder to engage. Their commitment is to their development, not an organization. Talent is in high demand and very mobile. G9_Predictive_analytics_thumbnail

The key to the future is the ability to acquire, analyze, and act on better business intelligence about people and work. The improvement effort begins with a thorough assessment of where you are on the journey to managing with data. 

Assess Your Talent Analytics Maturity

Most of the analytics maturity assessments we see are variations on the model developed by Bersin by Deloitte over the past decade and a half. This model describes in a general way the characteristics of the talent analytics function at each of four levels in a progression from simple reporting to predictive modeling.


Level 1 – Operational Reporting: reactive reporting of operational and compliance measures. 

Level 2 – Advanced Reporting: proactive reporting for decision making.

Level 3 – Advanced Analytics: statistical analysis to solve business problems.

Level 4 – Predictive Analytics: development of predictive models and scenario planning.

Begin at the Beginning

If you are just now starting out on our analytics journey, we want to help you build the foundation on which you can build a strong data-driven culture. The first building blocks you need are in your operational reporting. As the Bersin model explains, the focus on that level is on data accuracy, consistency, and timeliness. If you have not achieved those benchmarks yet, we strongly urge you to take a step back and get your operational reporting under control. Don’t build on a shaky foundation.

Build a Team

The first step is to form the right team. Building a people analytics capability takes a broad range of competencies and skills. No one person in your organization will have all these skills; you will need a cross-functional team.

  • Strategic thinking and industry expertise to understand and communicate the vision to stakeholders at every level.
  • Experience and expertise in each business function.
  • Data visualization expertise.
  • Skills in data management and governance.
  • Technical infrastructure and systems management capability.

Clean Your Data

No one has perfect data. A lot of hands touch information on its way to the permanent record, and people make mistakes.

To move forward, you will need to have data that is clean enough to support decision-making. Focus first on operational data. Work with your data management expert to triage your data and assess the level of effort to clean it. If you need help, an analytics consulting partner will have the tools to clean the data.

In an extreme case, or if it is time to upgrade your business platforms, it may be prudent to warehouse your dirty data and start fresh. In some areas, like recruiting, it will be easier than others.

Automate Your Reporting

Every minute you spend creating recurring reports is wasted. Taking the time to automate reports will pay off when you can take on higher-level analytical work. If your HR platforms do not support automation of the recurring reports you need, it is probably time to upgrade.

Automate also your reports to government agencies and regulatory bodies. Federal government entities and almost all States have the mandate to accommodate automated routine reporting.

Integrate Talent Management and Core HR

If your HR functions not integrated, now is the time to consider taking on that task. Not only will you reap the rewards of integrated data, but you will also break down silos and communication barriers that might still exist.

Next Steps

The solid foundation you build in operational reporting will support your move into better decision-making. In an upcoming article, we will show you how to develop more advanced decision-making tools using the data you have.


1. "Talent Analytics (with Maturity Model and Framework)." Bersin by Deloitte. Accessed August 08, 2016. 

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.


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