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Getting Started with People Analytics

Written by Dino Zincarini

June 22, 2021

Getting Started with People Analytics

One of the biggest challenges with any project is figuring out what steps to take to get started. If you know you need or want a people analytics capability you may already be sold on the value, but what should you focus on first? How do you build out your plan and who do you get involved? Often good ideas never get off the ground due to the overwhelming nature of the first few steps. We are here to help you out!

The biggest lesson that we can share and is echoed by others is that you don’t have to start from scratch. There are probably already some starting points available for you to build upon! For example, reports and dashboards may already be used by other groups or functions to report financial or business performance data. That means there are people internally who have some experience building data visualizations and getting them into the hands of users. Start with them! Even if the data isn’t people data there are valuable lessons you can leverage for how to build and roll out an analytics capability given your organization’s unique culture and structure.

Another thing to keep in mind is that technology is a tool, but rarely a solution. There are indeed some turnkey people analytics technologies available. However, it’s challenging to get budget approval for a major spend when you haven’t yet demonstrated the value of what you can do! It’s often more pragmatic and less risky to build with the technology you already have in place, no matter how modest, to show the value of people analytics. Our friend Mark Berry has written about his own experience with this approach (and lots of other good lessons too) and we here at Turetsky Consulting have experienced this first hand as well. Once you get some adoption, have some internal champions and know the specific limitations of your existing technology you’ll be in a better position to advocate for investment in that shiny, exciting analytics product!

Finally the main thing is to just ask your users! Who would your internal customer be and what are the business problems they are trying to solve? Rarely will someone ask for a specific people analytic (though I’m sure somebody will want to see turnover) but it’s more important to ask why they need this information or what they will do with it. This will give you insights into the “hidden” requirements that will help you build something that will solve actual problems rather than just add to information overload.

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about the author
Dino has a remarkable background with over 20 years of experience starting from an Economics and Computer Science degree from the University of Waterloo.

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