Fairs was speaking at this year's HR Most Influential Awards, which KPMG sponsored. He said 2014 will be a "challenging" year for HR directors to cope with the amount of data they have access to.
"HR analytics is really coming into its own," said Fairs. "Companies often have a lot of data around their employees but quite often it's in dispersed areas of the business.
"The real challenge is how do you bring that information together, and the technology is now available to mix structured data with unstructured data and do some quite detailed analysis on it.
"So HRDs can go to their financial colleagues with some robust evidence that the money they spend on talent retention or improving engagement actually does make some quite meaningful difference."