What is People Analytics? A 5 Minute Intro

People Analytics Intro


A 5 minute definition of People Analytics for VPs, salespeople, hiring managers and job candidates alike. This is what you need to know:

15 second definition:

The practice of making data-backed people management decisions within an organization. Most frequently referred to in hiring, retention and absenteeism management.


Likely the offspring of Google’s People & Innovation Lab (PiLab), People Analytics first caught the attention of professionals in 2013.

Related terms: #HRtech, HR Technology, HR Predictive Analytics, HR Big Data

Names to know:

  1. Dr John Sullivan (@DrJohnSullivan), Fast Company deemed him the “Michael Jordan of Hiring”, Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics”. Professor, corporate advisor and recruitment thought leader.
  2. Ben Waber (@Ben Waber), Author of People Analytics: How Social Sensing Technology Will Transform Business and What It Tells Us about the Future of Work. Corporate advisor and visiting scientist at MIT Media Lab. Ben’s work has been featured major international publications including Forbes, Business Week, Wired and The New York Times.
  3. Steve Boese (@SteveBoese), Developed and taught a Graduate course in HR Technology for Rochester Institute of Technology. Expert in using technology to solve HR issues, creator and host the HR Happy Hour show (one of our favorites).

Hot Technology to Watch: 

  1. Employee Data Management – Kin HR – Kin centralizes employee onboarding and employment paperwork. Simplifies compliance files and employee history while speeding up onboarding times.
  2. Intelligent Shortlisting – Ideal – Ideal uses a combination of psychometric assessments and people analytics to predict candidate success in a role. Stands to save hours of resume screening and failed hire costs while reducing turnover.
  3. Absenteeism Management – Appogee Leave – Appogee Leave is a Google App for managing annual leave allowance. Straightforward absence reporting, time-off and holiday planning. Syncs with employee calendars for simple integration.

What It Means for Your Business:

Generally speaking, if Google’s doing it – take note. Known for inventing and sustaining HR best practices, Google is likely on to something here. While People Analytics should never fully automate the complex HR decisions within a firm, it can prominently aid in the decision making process, saving time and money.

Keep an eye out for emerging technology in this space. Many providers offer tiered pricing structures to be accessible for corporate giants and small business alike. Also note, the number of firms implementing people analytics are rapidly growing and your competition may have already started. 

What has your experience with People Analytics been like? We’re interested to here any success (or horror) stories!