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People analytics could be HR's secret weapon

To be a people analytics hero HR must sometimes go back to basics and analyse business needs

Data can be a huge force for good in HR, according to Kate Minton and Neera Ridler-Mayor, both directors of people and workforce analytics at Deloitte.

Deloitte opened the second day of the People Analytics World conference by focusing on how HR can start using data in the workplace.

“If you’re concerned about what the future of work will look like – whether that means how to get the right people, looking towards the gig economy, seeing how you can attract Millennials, or using automation – people analytics is your secret weapon," said Minton.

Drawing from her experience of Deloitte’s work with the retail industry, Minton went on to explain how people analytics could help HR become more customer-focused through looking at real-time data and uncovering patterns to predict behaviour.

Ridler-Mayor encouraged employers to analyse their businesses’ needs to then get the most out of data.

“The role of being a people analytics hero is about taking a step back, going back to basics, and thinking about what your colleagues really want. We’ve spoken to organisations where they’re absolutely sure they want to use a particular bit of software, but we always ask them to check with their colleagues first, and to find out what their business needs really are,” Ridler-Mayor said.

Deloitte advised on a series of practical steps when HR is implementing people analytics.

“Our advice is to think big, start small, act fast, and stay human. Don’t just think about the challenges within your function, and don’t wait for people in data science to come to you: think about how you can collaborate across your organisation. Start small; take one segment of your business and analyse how you want it to change, ” Minton said.

“It’s also important to stay human. There’s a huge array of new technology we can access but we need to retain our critical judgement to understand what that data is trying to tell us, and how we can use it to create positive change,” she added.