What Are Analytics?

Written by Staff

March 4, 2020

analytics; people analytics

I have presented at hundreds of venues to answer the big question: 'What are analytics?' Spoke to thousands of people about using data to understand organizational performance. Explained the impact of analytics to business operations. Most of the time, it goes just like this:


“How many of you use analytics daily? Ten people raise their hands.

How many of you use reporting daily? Almost all of the audience members raise their hands.

How many of those of you doing reporting daily, dump the resulting report data to Excel? Almost all of them.

How many of you that dump to Excel run sums, counts, averages, summarize the data including Pivot Tables?" Again, almost all of them.

So, all of you use analytics daily then. The crowd grumbles and laughs.”

That being the case, let's get into the basics of analytics.

Analytics: What It Means and Why It Matters

Analytics is an essential tool for any business, large or small. It is the process of collecting and analyzing data about your organization's human resources (HR) and performance.

It can help better understand the impact these data have on your company. Moreover, it provides insight into organizational structure, staffing levels, employee performance and more.

With analytics, you can measure and monitor trends in your organization to accurately evaluate and predict future employment needs. For example, you can use it to identify specific types of employees who are most valuable to the organization.

You can also use it to track employee satisfaction, and develop strategies for improving recruiting, hiring, and retention efforts.

Analytics is in Everyday Life

Analytics is something we all do. It is part of how we need to see the world. We want to measure things and understand those measurements in context of how we work, live and transact life.

Well then, why are we SO afraid of analytics?  What's the mystery? What's the problem? Is it clear to us what analytics are?

I think it comes down to the thought that analytics is some complex mathematical construct. There must be some natural concern that if we don't know advanced mathematics, we can't use analytics. That's just not true.

Analytics provides us with fast comparison through simple methods. It enables us to see changes and patterns in the data that surround us.


The key is to find a metric (e.g. turnover, headcount) that makes sense to you and use it as a starting point. You may ask, "for what?"

Use it as a starting point to find patterns that enable you to tell stories. Find the threads of data insight that uncovers interesting nuggets of information. These nuggets form the foundation for business leaders to identify correlations and make necessary changes to address patterns.

How Analytics Helps Improve Business Performance

You may be wondering what analytics can actually do for businesses. After all, they are relatively new and not used by every company just yet. But the reality is that analytics has the potential to improve business performance in a number of ways.

  • Gathering key data points
  • It can tell you things like employee retention rates, employee engagement rates, and even the cost of replacing an employee. This data can then be used to inform important decisions and maximize your bottom line.

  • Optimizing processes
  • It can optimize processes such as recruitment, hiring and training. By analyzing data about job postings, resume evaluations and onboarding procedures, businesses can streamline these processes. This can save time and money which are essential for any business’s success.

  • Increasing efficiency
  • Analytics boosts business efficiency by optimizing resource utilization such as manpower and technology. By finding areas of improvement, your company's analysts can take steps that lead to a more efficient workplace.


    To sum up, analytics can have wide-reaching impacts for any organization. By leveraging the data you have, you can gain insights to understand where resources are best applied. This can lead to better recruitment, retention, and overall workforce management.


    With the right tools and insights, companies can improve strategies and plans to enhance employee experience and business performance.

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