What is people analytics in 2023?

People analytics is the practice of using people data to unlock insights that transform business activities. Enabled by technology, people analytics uses descriptive, visual, statistical and AI methods to interpret data and unlock actionable insights.

Ivor Colson


What is people analytics - people analytics is the practice of using people data to unlock insights that transform business activities. 

Why people analytics is important - benefits include efficiency gains, better employee wellbeing, reduced employee turnover, improved engagement and enhanced talent acquisition.

Privacy concerns - data privacy needs to be respected to prevent unhealthy monitoring, so anonymisation is key. At Omnifia, we give data autonomy to the individual.

How has people analytics developed - people analytics traditionally uses data either from HRIS or employee surveys, now it's going through its next wave of innovation.

What insights can you see - understand real time insights into key areas like employee engagement, sentiment, productivity, collaboration, burnout without relying on surveys. 

How to get started - signup, connect and unlock. Get started with people analytics in three steps, get access here.

Our take - organisations that utilise people analytics effectively will have a competitive advantage over those that don’t.

What is people analytics?

Spiceworks defines people analytics as the deeply data-driven and goal-focused method of studying all people processes, functions, challenges, and opportunities at work to elevate these systems and achieve sustainable business success.

The CIPD says people analytics is about analysing data about people to solve business problems.

At Omnifia we define people analytics as the practice of using people data to unlock insights that transform business activities. Enabled by technology, people analytics uses descriptive, visual, statistical and AI methods to interpret data and unlock actionable insights.

What are the benefits of people analytics?

If you can’t measure something, how do you expect to improve it? 

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. – Peter Drucker

This is the overarching benefit of people analytics. People are the greatest asset to any organisation, and people analytics allows businesses to understand their greatest asset through accurate, instantly available and dynamic data.  

Below are some key benefits of people analytics:

Efficiency gains

People analytics can be used to understand the entire lifecycle of an employee. How long it takes an individual to be onboarded, teams are engaged, burnt out or understand why employees might leave. By understanding the entire lifecycle of an employee with real time data, leaders can make decisions that improve efficiencies across the lifecycle. 

Enhance employee wellbeing

When we struggle with wellbeing, everyone suffers. Not only is the individual is likely to be struggling in the workplace, but also at home too. This impacts the employer: some studies say burnout costs their employers 34% of their annual salary. If you don’t know employees are struggling, how can you rectify the situation? People analytics allows employers to understand if negative trends are occurring, and implement strategies to enhance employee wellbeing.

Reduce employee turnover

According to a report from Workstars, some of the top reasons employees leave include; a lack of appreciation, burnout, lack of flexible work, relationship with management and culture. Typical employee surveys are slow to pick up these issues. Due to low response rates, they can often fail to pick these problems up at all. Exit interviews might understand the problem when it’s too late. People analytics can help companies identify and prevent these issues from resulting in employee turnover with real time insights. 

Improve employee engagement

Employee engagement has been defined as the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in the workplace. Currently, the main way engagement is measured is through employee surveys. People analytics allows companies to go further than this by using employee and application data to understand workplace engagement. Leaders and managers can understand when teams are beginning to disengage, and proactively implement solutions before it becomes an issue.

Attract talent 

Companies can showcase their positive culture, engagement and other insights gleaned from people analytics to attract prospective talent. Often hiring managers will simply speak of the positive culture, people analytics allows them to back this up with the data. Additionally, companies can use the data to understand what attributes create high performing talent and look to hire based on those characteristics.

People analytics allows organisations to understand how its people relate to and achieve its business goals. In an era where there is going to be more data created in the next 3 years than the last 30, people analytics will take your organisation to a new level of operating. 

Does people analytics equal monitoring and surveillance?

When selecting a people analytics tool, it’s essential to factor in the privacy of your employees. Some tools will allow managers to monitor individual employee data, and there have been cases when this has been misused and abused by managers.

At Omnifia, we ensure employee privacy by anonymising and securing the data. Managers aren’t able to monitor employees on the individual level. They can only see aggregated and anonymised data. The data is secured and users can only see the data they need to see. This prevents unhealthy behaviours from occurring whilst still unlocking valuable insights.

What’s more, we’re flipping the script and handing back control to the individual. Here’s how: only individual employees can access their own data. This empowers the individual to measure and fine tune their working habits, wellbeing and productivity. 

People analytics for the individual

How has people analytics developed in recent years?

People analytics traditionally uses data either from HRIS (Human Resource Information Systems) or employee surveys to store, manage and track employee related data. 

Over the years HRIS have evolved from the paper filing systems to digital solutions that store employee data from HR systems. Similarly, with surveys, the key innovation of late has been in the digitisation of paper based surveys to online platforms.

The next wave of innovation is currently under way: utilising the wealth of valuable data in other everyday applications like Zoom, Notion, Slack to unlock real time people analytics. We’re leading the charge here and you can get access to our platform here.   

What types of people analytics are there?

As defined by the CIPD, there are four levels to people analytics:

Level 1a – descriptive analytics: Describes a particular point in time or a historical trend, employee turnover and ‘lost time’ due to absence. 

Level 1b – descriptive analytics using multidimensional data: Combines different types of data to investigate a specific idea. Like combining leadership capability data with engagement scores to measure leadership effectiveness. 

Level 2 – predictive analytics: Uses data to predict future trends. For example, looking at historical workforce data and external labour market trends to build a model that predicts the organisation’s future workforce needs. The data needs to be relevant, high quality and robust for predictions to be reliable. 

Level 3 – prescriptive analytics: Uses the results of descriptive and predictive analytics to automatically recommend actions. For example, an online learning platform that recommends courses for a learner based on their interests, career goals and past courses.

4 types of people analytics

What data is used?

Types of data

Quantitative - data that comes in the form of counts or numbers where each data set has a unique numerical value. 

Qualitative - data that cannot be counted, measured or easily expressed using numbers.

Correlation - a statistical measure that expresses the extent to which two variables are linearly related. This means they change together at a constant rate.

Causation - is data that indicates a relationship between two events or two variables

Sources of data

Communication apps - data that comes directly from tools like Slack, Outlook, Teams, Zoom, Gmail and so on. 

Productivity apps - data that comes from productivity tools like Trello, Asana, ClickUp. 

Document apps - data that comes from documentation tools like Google Docs, Notion, Confluence.

Customer apps - data that comes from sales, marketing and customer support tools like Intercom, HubSpot, Salesforce.

HR apps - data that comes from tools like Bamboo, Workday, Hi Bob.

Developer apps - data that comes from developer tools like GitHub, GitLab, Linear.

What data can I see?

Once you integrate your apps you can choose from 100s of descriptive data points. You can drill into Slack and understand how active team members are, or how long it takes new hires to start being active on Google Workspace. The individual data that's shared here is data that's already shared via the native integration. You can understand how many meetings are taking place and the percentage of meetings happening during working hours. 

Slack dashboard via Omnifia

What insights can I see?

With Omnifia, not only can you benefit from single data points, but you can also make use of our insights that blend data points together to measure key business metrics. Backed by science from an Innovate UK research project, we help you instantly measure the following areas: 

Engagement: understand team engagement by blending together data that measures vigour, dedication and efficacy.  

Collaboration: uncover a collaboration score and see how your organisation collaborates with your own network graph.

Sentiment: get a barometer of how employees are talking with automated sentiment analysis.

Burnout: understand whether burnout risk is on the increase or whether it's decreasing in your company.

Productivity: see how productivity is being impacted in your organisation and how this trends through time. 

Actionable insights via the Omnifia platform

What is the process of getting started with people analytics?

The traditional method of getting started with people analytics typically takes 9 steps as defined by CIPD:

  1. Plan: Develop the objectives for the analytics activity. Map the requirements of the stakeholder and design questions which will be answered by the analytics process.
  2. Define critical success factors: Define the measures that will show if the project has been a success. These might include: on-time delivery, project impact and user feedback. 
  3. Data audit: Identify what data is currently available and grade its quality. This will show where gaps in data may be, which should be filled before progressing.
  4. Design the process: Define roles and set objectives for team members. Define resource requirements and map stakeholders for the project.
  5. Design the data collection strategy: Design the collection and processing stages of the analytics activity.
  6. Data collection: Collect data from existing data sets (for example, absence records) or collect new data (for example, run an engagement survey).
  7. Analyse data: Analyse the data in line with the stakeholders’ requirements. 
  8. Report data: Report solutions to the problem clearly and recommend further areas of investigation if needed.
  9. Evaluate: Review the process and evaluate impact. Update process as required.

Using Omnifia, you can streamline this process from 9 to 3, saving you time and money:

  1. Setup: Signup to the platform and set up the KPIs or OKRs you want to measure for the project. This could metrics like engagement, productivity/performance or perhaps burnout
  2. Connect: Integrate your applications to automatically measure progress towards KPIs or OKRs
  3. Unlock: analyse and evaluate progress towards goals with real time and instant access to KPIs and OKRs with Omnifia Insights

Our take

According to McKinsey organisations that utilise people analytics see a 25% increase in business productivity and a 50% decrease in employee turnover. With more data becoming available in the next 3 years than in the last 30, companies can go further than this with more accurate and instantly available insights. We believe this is still the very beginning of people analytics, and we’re excited to be leading the innovation in the space.