What does people analytics really mean?

And how has it driven the emergence of the HR role? 

Home » Good to know » Human resources management » What does people analytics really mean?

People Analytics, also known as HR analytics or workforce analytics, ranks as one of the most critical priorities by organizations today as the role of HR continues to elevate to coincide with the increasing value and ROI associated with optimally managing an organization’s human capital to drive successful business outcomes. Traditionally, HR took more of a backseat role amongst the C suite and lacked delivery of key measurable insights (as CFO/Finance most commonly provides) but this all changed in the past decade as HR Analytics grew in adoption.

What is people or HR analytics?

It is the use of employee data and business information (typically operations data) that is associated with a specific business problem or goal that is both measurable and actionable. By collecting relevant data about your workforce in the context of a particular problem set, measurable insights are gained that can also be improved with associated goals. A straightforward example would be looking at the time to hire and retention for recruiting purposes. Based on collecting data associated with hiring and retention, an organization can measure the associated cost with hiring and which hiring sources appear to drive the best business value or ROI in terms of the successful retention of new employees.

What does people analytics really mean?

How to work with HR analytics

Collecting meaningful KPIs

The HR data analytics construct begins by properly defining the business area or problem and then identifying the key measurable factors associated with that area of focus. In our previous example, focusing on recruiting, key performance indicators (KPIs) included the time to hire and retention rates. One could also add performance rating to the mix to identify which hiring sources attributed to the highest percentage of new hire top performers.

The HR analytics space has matured and become an established discipline — one can find many published works or pursue certificate programs to specialize in this area. Diversity, compensation, career and development planning, performance management, talent flow, workforce planning, and retention rates are key areas that led companies to adopt people analytics as a vital part of running a high performing company.

The importance of data quality in people analytics

A significant impediment in being successful with people analytics is problem data – many organizations experience data quality issues, lack consistent definitions, or have poor data integrity (i.e., multiple sources of similar data that do not synced up). A good deal of workforce initiatives has failed when organizations found that management had little faith in the underlying data which resulted in low adoption of any business initiatives based on these measurements.

Research by Bersin1 has published a maturing model around people Analytics in which companies are grouped in one of four levels in terms of their level of adoption and practice. These levels are:


Level 1

Operational Reporting
(traditional HR admin reporting)

Level 2

Advanced Reporting
(HR produces reports to help support strategic decision-making)

Level 3

Advanced Analytics
(HR addresses business problems and drives informed data insights)


Level 4

Predictive Analytics
(HR can drive predictive models to optimize their human capital)


Most companies are still in the Level 1 and 2 stage with one of the biggest challenges again being the quality of data available and the supporting tools and resources that are on hand. It’s the “garbage in/garbage out” principle that is a constant challenge for HR to ensure the data is accurate. But high quality people data is essential to help drive confidence in the associated measurements obtained when conducting people analytics.


1 | Source: 

Getting started with people analytics

If you are looking to get started with people analytics, here are some of the most essential HR metrics that are commonly used today:

Cost per Hire

Understanding the cost to recruit talent by position can be very helpful. Add to this analysis around the source of hire and performance ratings to help pinpoint the most effective means to hire high performing employees.

Turnover Rate

Measuring turnover at all levels of your organization helps you understand where employee retention is or is not working. Again, you will want to segment by department, by role, and by performance rating to help gain a broader understanding, which may also lead to predicting employee flight risk.

Absence Rate

Tracking absence is a fundamental metric in measuring how productive your workforce is. Fortunately, companies have established tools in place to capture good data quality for this measurement.

Job Satisfaction

Or Employee Engagement. This measurement is related directly to performance and flight risk. The adage goes “An engaged workforce is a motivated and productive workforce” which leads to positive company culture and higher retention rates. Performance data is typically available for this measurement, but you can also leverage employee surveys to help drive additional data points.


It’s vital to conduct extensive and ongoing performance reviews, including continuous feedback. 360-degree feedback also helps avoid one-sided reviews. Establishing who your high-performers are is critical as it pertains to many areas such as succession planning, quality of hire, etc. It’s always a good thing to know who your high performers are.

There are hundreds of HR key performance indicators that can theoretically be measured, so it is essential as an organization to decide which metrics are required and can help drive the most significant impact to achieve successful business outcomes for your organization specifically.

How can we stay on top of HR Analytics and make sense of all this data?

Besides having qualified and engaged HR professionals versed in HR analytics, it’s crucial to have supporting tools that let your organization effectively measure and communicate out the analytics and  help drive informed decision making. The most common visualizations come in the following forms:


Big Data

KPIs in org charts

At Ingentis, our org.manager solution delivers dashboards and org charts so that you can effectively and automatically track key HR metrics that are always up-to-date and based on your system of record. Furthermore, with the built-in security and permissions capabilities you can rest assured your HR data analytics and reports are distributed securely. We invite you to speak to us about People Analytics and what Ingentis org.manager can do for your organization.

Join our free software webinars to learn more about people analytics with Ingentis org.manager

See how visualizing HR data in org charts, dashboards and diagrams created with Ingentis org.manager can provide you with great insights. 


Ingentis org.manager webinars


Is there an easy way to keep org charts up-to-date? In real-time? Without investing too much effort? Three times YES!!! Just check out our org charting tool Ingentis org.manager!

Register now for our free online events to learn more about our org chart creator org.manager!

Ingentis org.manager introductory webinars

Please note the different time zones:

CET = Central European Time 

PST = Pacific Standard Time

Ingentis org.manager special topic webinars

Please note the different time zones:

CET = Central European Time 

PST = Pacific Standard Time

There are currently no events available for this topic.

CET = Central European Time; PST = Pacific Standard Time

Latest org charting news at Ingentis

2020: One extraordinary year in review

Christmas is just around the corner! As every year, we love to use this opportunity to wish you happy holidays and to share some of ... read more

Membership in the International Association for SAP Partners e.V.

Ingentis is now a member of the International Association for SAP Partners e.V., the only independent institution for companies in the ... read more

Ingentis achieves SAP® PartnerEdge® Gold Status

Software developer Ingentis today announced it achieved SAP® PartnerEdge® Gold status. read more

Ingentis org.manager now an SAP Endorsed App available on SAP® App Center

Ingentis announced today that its Ingentis org.manager solution for SAP® SuccessFactors® solutions is now an SAP® endorsed app, ... read more

Get a free trial version – contact us!

Would you like to see for yourself how org.manager works? Get in touch with us for a free trial version.

Contact us

Do you have any questions regarding the Ingentis org.manager suite? Are you interested in a consultation? Don’t hesitate to contact us via the contact form below. We look forward to you hearing from you!

* = required field