People analytics: what it is and how to apply it

People analytics: what it is and how to apply it’, ‘people-analytics-what-it-is-and-how-to-apply-it’, ‘

Did you know that information is considered one of the most precious assets today? With digital transformation, information has become the currency and is considered extremely valuable by companies. The use of data, known as Big Data, has been widespread, especially in the Marketing area, which, based on collected information, is able to deliver to the customer what he wants. But, in addition to Marketing, there are other areas that also use information, such as the area of ​​people management (HR), through People Analytics. 

Today, we are going to tell you what People Analytics is, how it has been used by companies and what are its advantages for businesses and professionals in general.

What is People Analytics?

First, let\’s clarify that People Analytics is not a tool or software, in fact, it is a methodology for collecting, organizing, and analyzing data that is applied to people management. The purpose of People Analytics is to provide HR with a more strategic view of the role of each employee in the company, improving decision-making about each professional.

People Analytics generates a series of data, capable of improving both the company\’s hiring and the use of the existing workforce. By collecting and cross-referencing information about professionals, the recruitment and selection process can be made more accurate. In addition, it is also possible to identify employees who stand out and those who have problems, such as low productivity, dissatisfaction, low engagement, and turnover.

Where does the information for People Analytics come from?

People Analytics collects, organizes, and diagnoses data about professionals through software that crosses information from various sources. The first source for collection is usually the records that the company already has about the employee, such as clock time, workload, salary, and productivity, among others.

But it is necessary to go beyond this first research. Managers can check the employee\’s social networks as well as their participation in outside activities. In addition, the manager can talk directly to the employee, seeking to get to know him better and learn about his goals and expectations regarding the role, company, colleagues, etc. All this serves to optimize the management of people, allowing to predict the performance of employees and new hires.

It must be remembered that all this information gathering must have a purpose. The company must not gather information to control the employee, but understand their potential to use their skills strategically.

How does the People Analytics process take place?

  • Collection: This is the first phase. This moment serves to collect all the data and information that will later be analyzed by People Analytics. The data may come from surveys carried out by the company, from social networks, from resumes, among others;
  • Calculation: With the data collected, it\’s time to do the calculation. The more varied the data, the greater the possibilities for analysis. This step serves to obtain answers, which are already clear and structured, facilitating the next step: the analysis of information;
  • Analysis: The analysis stage reveals the possibilities that People Analytics brings to the company\’s people management. The data collected and the answers brought by the calculations of the previous step provide a basis for making better decisions, allowing the discovery of trends, problems, forces, and gaps.
  • Modeling: Modeling is the final step, in which all data, variables, numbers, and research are crossed. Modeling serves a variety of purposes, such as finding out the employee\’s length of service, salary variation, whether there is a connection between the places where employees studied, etc. With this data, you can analyze the best ways to divide employees, assemble teams, distribute benefits, and plan campaigns, among other advantages. 

The Four Levels of People Analytics

People Analytics has four classification levels: Descriptive, Diagnostic, Predictive, and Prescriptive. The difference between the levels lies in the type of information each one offers through data analysis. Check, in more detail, the description of each level:


The Descriptive level is the most basic. It serves to extract a description of an event that has already occurred, that is, the data help in the understanding of a past period. To do this analysis, many companies use Business Intelligence (BI) tools.


At the second level, you can investigate and identify the cause (or causes) of a problem through data analysis and other advanced techniques that collect data and statistics.


The third level is for predicting future events. For that, information is extracted from historical data and advanced techniques of artificial intelligence and statistics are used.


The Prescriptive level, the last one in Analytics, is the most advanced. Its main objective is to obtain an overview of possible future problems so that it is possible to think of solutions and minimize negative impacts. To obtain this perspective, it is necessary to use advanced techniques, such as graph analysis, simulations, neural networks, and machine learning, among others.

How to implement People Analytics?

People Analytics was first implemented at Google. The intention was to increase the efficiency of the recruiting team. To this end, Google developed a technology that analyzed candidate data and predicted the most suitable candidates to go through the selection process.

Over time, more and more companies started using this tool. So, if you want to know how to implement it in your company\’s HR, check out the step-by-step guide below:

1. Have a goal

First of all, HR must identify what are the main problems that the company is currently facing, and then define what must be solved first. Some examples of objectives that can be defined are: forecasting the performance of a new employee, identifying the employees who have the best performances, and the most suitable employee to occupy a certain position, among many others.

2. Collect data

When collecting data, remember to do it neatly. To be able to analyze the information and achieve the objective, it is necessary to know how to collect the data. Don\’t just focus on an employee\’s performance, for example, but also on how the employee achieved that performance. After collecting the initial data, look for a frequency in the data to be able to eliminate chance and coincidence. Finally, structure HR processes well; preferably use the software.

3. Define metrics and indicators

When collecting data, raw content is extracted, which can be bad to analyze and can lead to wrong conclusions. Therefore, at this point, you should define metrics and indicators to improve data quality, leading to fairer analysis.

4. Find correlations between the data

After getting the raw data and defining the metrics and indicators, it\’s time to find the correlation or interdependence between the data. For example: if your company carries out an internal activity in which you evaluate each employee with a grade, it is interesting that after a while the grades are reviewed to see if they really reflect the reality of the employees\’ performance. This is an example of a correlation between the grades given initially and the performance observed later.

5. Try to predict the future

Finally, we come to the last step. After analyzing the collected data, HR can predict and plan actions to address the issues noted during the first objective-setting step. It is a way of predicting the future. In addition, if the company manages to gather enough data and develop a correct model from this collection, it is still possible to develop mathematical formulas that show the probability of events happening as new data emerges, something extremely useful for HR work.

What are the benefits of People Analytics?

In general, people management is done by leaders who use their experience and training to guide their decisions. As much as it is a successful and successful process, it is also subject to failures. To minimize errors and enhance this process, People Analytics emerges, made possible by digital transformation. See other benefits of People Analytics:

  • Better hiring, based on data;
  • New employees really aligned with the profile of the company and the team;
  • Forecast training and adaptation time for the new employee;
  • Reduction in turnover;
  • Measure the effect of actions and results;
  • Greater control over processes in the Human Resources sectors, such as selection processes, organizational climate; job and salary plans
  • Better HR performance, with more strategy and productivity;
  • Gap identification;
  • More efficient training planning;
  • Identification of the profile of each employee;
  • Cost reduction.