Analytics and EBHR

Blog: HR Reporting Is Not People Analytics

  • October 24, 2023

By Dave Milner, Course Director of ‘Impact Through People Analytics’

The past couple of years has seen a real shift in HR understanding of the role of data in driving more effective decision-making and providing more credible insights to their leaders and management population. The development of HR reporting-based dashboards has undoubtedly seen an increase in focus but beware, HR reporting and people analytics, whilst related, are distinctly different.

HR reporting involves the gathering and analysing of HR data to produce reports on various workforce metrics like headcount, retention, compensation, etc. This provides a snapshot of the current state of the workforce and is useful to enable leaders and managers to appreciate some of the key people challenges that may be developing.

People analytics applies more advanced statistical and modelling techniques to HR data to uncover insights and where feasible, predict outcomes. The focus is on answering specific business questions and identifying opportunities for improvement that can relate to business practices through to talent practice-based changes and enhancements.

Below in the table are some key differences:

HR reporting is mainly descriptive.People analytics can be more predictive.
Reporting says what has happened historically and is currently happening.People analytics can focus on what could happen (as well as a more diagnostic assessment of past/current issues).
HR reporting looks backwards at historical trendsPeople analytics can model the future.
HR reporting is generalised.People analytics is customised to specific business goals and challenges.
Reporting relies on simple counts and percentages.People analytics uses correlations, regressions, sentiment analysis etc.
Reporting is done periodically.People analytics is a more continuous process.

So, in summary, HR reporting is foundational, but people analytics brings more strategic value by helping leaders make better workforce decisions. HR reporting describes the workforce while people analytics provides deeper insights to optimise talent management strategies and improve business performance. They work best together as part of an overall data-driven approach as reporting builds the database that is foundational to a lot of the people analytics projects.

If this resonates with your own development needs, then consider attending CRF’s ‘Impact Through People Analytics’ programme on 5th and 6th December where these challenges and many more will be facilitated through a wide range of case studies, examples, and tips for improvement.


Impact Through People Analytics

5 – 6 December 2023: 09.00 – 17.00 (Online)

6 February 2024 (Online follow-on session)

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