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  • Writer's pictureAndrée Laforge

An essential condition for success in People Analytics: is the team!

You have no choice, if you want to progress on the path of People Analytics, it takes a team!

A team starts with a person! If you want to facilitate the implementation of analytics in your organization, you need a person dedicated to People Analytics! One person who wears the HR analytics hat. If you don't have that, forget the project, you're not going anywhere! Furthermore, this person must be able to free up time in his or her schedule for analytics, it should not be added to other tasks, because emergencies will always take over.


Now if you want to accelerate your progress, and you want to do value-added projects. Do you want to spend your time on something other than producing indicators every quarter? Then it's time to think about building a team. I am often asked, how many people does it take? Personally, I believe that size has nothing to do with maturity. Rather, you need to choose your team members well and choose the necessary skills well. But what would make the difference? What are the winning conditions to have an effective and efficient team?

Diversified skills and expertise

It takes diverse skills and expertise. That means people from different backgrounds such as organizational psychology, consulting, finance, marketing, IT/business intelligence, data science, and of course human resources. You won't find it all in one person, that's why it takes a team!



People Analytics Team
People Analytics Team

People Analytics Team


In other words, it takes skills in consulting, sales, psychology, sociology, talent management, human resources, statistics, and data analysis, and finally database management. If any of these skills were missing, here's what could happen.


· If you don't understand the environment (the business) well, you risk analyzing phenomena that have no value for the organization.


· If you don't have a sales force (or a good storyteller) on the team, you'll have a hard time "selling" your results, and managers won't apply the findings you make.


· If you don't have a good understanding of human psychology and talent management, you will have difficulty selecting the right data, interpreting the results, and helping to build valid models.


· If you are not skilled in statistics and data analysis, you will remain at the level of operational reports and performance indicators. You will not be able to build predictive models.


· If you don't have data management (database) skills, you won't be able to extract the necessary data from your operational systems to do your analysis.


A team structure that facilitates interactions with the different business lines.


For People Analytics to stay out of its ivory tower, there needs to be open communication with the various business lines. There must be one person (or more) who acts as a conduit between the analytics team and the business lines. This person has a deep knowledge of the business, and has a global understanding of HR data, but also is aware of the needs of the business lines. This person must be able to analyze the analytical needs of the business lines, communicate these needs to the analytical team and then transmit the solutions found by the analytical team.

Directly under the VP


There also needs to be a reporting structure that places the head of analytics directly under the highest human resource executive in the organization (e.g., VP of Human Resources). If you want to move analytics forward in the organization, it must come from the top! And initially, I suggest that it stays in human resources (i.e. under the HR VP).


Split the team in two


If you aspire to do more than just calculate indicators and provide employee lists, the first thing you need to do is to divide your team in two (this is assuming that you are no longer alone). One part of the team deals with reports and requests for information while the other is more focused on advanced analysis projects (who is at risk of leaving, do we give everyone the same chances for promotion, etc.). Because if you don't do that, urgent issues from the business lines or senior management will take up most of your time. The structure might look like this.


Simple organization chart
Simple organization chart

Simple organization chart


Later, as you grow, it will be time to add boxes to your organizational structure. For example, it might be interesting to have one person who deals exclusively with surveys and another directly related to strategic workforce planning. Here's what that might look like.



Complex organization chart
Complex organization chart

Complex organization chart


Implementing self-service

You must get self-service in place quickly. If you want to free yourself from non-value-added reports and tasks, you need to get people to access the information themselves quickly. Less mature organizations depend on the People Analytics team (or one person) as the only way to get answers to questions. As a result, the person or team is overwhelmed with requests and can't get it done at all (some here should recognize themselves). In contrast, mature organizations have developed the ability to evolve the use of data and information through the use of automated dashboards and self-service reports. There are tools on the market that allow you to do this easily and inexpensively. Syntell has been marketing a very good tool to do this for several years. And there are others. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you look at the study by Redthread Research on the market for HR analytics tools. Achieving maturity in People Analytics requires that everyone who wants data and answers can get them without asking.


The smallest team possible


I am often asked the question: what is the smallest team possible if you want to gain maturity? My answer:


· An analytical HR leader with strong organizational knowledge and business acumen.


· A team member with extensive knowledge of HR information systems and the ability to extract and work with data (computer skills - programming and database management).


· A team member with sufficient expertise in human resources to be able to convert People Analytics projects into the organization's business environment.


To make People Analytics progress in your organization, you have no choice: there must be someone in charge of the organization. This is a non-negotiable condition, otherwise, you will get nowhere! Start with one person, demonstrate value quickly, and then you can think about conquering the world and having a bigger/larger budget to grow your team! I wish you the best of luck!

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