Benchmarking HR analytics activity and strategy against the market

HR analytics is the name given to the process of measuring the impact crucial HR metrics have on business performance. For example, the time taken to hire or employee retention rate.


HR analytics is the name given to the process of measuring the impact crucial HR metrics have on business performance. For example, the time taken to hire or employee retention rate. When executed well, the data analysis provides actionable insights for businesses to take, reducing costs, increasing staff longevity and improving hiring abilities.

The Challenge: Benchmarking HR analytics activity & strategy against the market.

After several years of dedicated focus, our client had centralised their people data, cleansed it to ensure it was robust and was in the process of partnering with the business to refine how the data could be best utilised.

To ensure ongoing support at a senior level, there was a need to demonstrate the value case for continuing with HR analytics activity. Our client needed to know how they compared against other progressive organisations in the market in terms of HR analytics strategy, team structure and output.

Armstrong Craven proposed that we investigate ten similarly-sized global, complex companies with people data strategy and activity led from the UK. We were looking for best practices in terms of managing and using data: the companies we selected were from a broad range of sectors, not only other industrial organisations but also financial services, technology and consumer.

The AC Approach:

Through primary and secondary research, we identified and investigated HR analytics tools, compiled best practices, and identified thought leaders in HR analytics and talent management. Armstrong Craven held in-depth interviews with a selection of key individuals in target organisations to gather insight on current activity and future people data strategy.

One of the challenges of this project was the immaturity of the function. Whilst ultimately an HR initiative, the data is gathered from a broad range of sources and the skills required to process this data are more commonly found in functions such as finance or marketing. As a result, we found there was no consistency in terms of how departments were structured, who processed the data and how this was fed back into the business.

With HR analytics being a hot topic in the market, many organisations claimed to be using people data in a strategic way. Thought leaders in consultancies waxed lyrical about using predictive analytics to inform business planning. Our client felt a lot of what they were doing was still entrenched in the transactional, however, they were being approached by these thought leaders to provide insight into how to overcome the practical challenges to make effective use of HR analytics a reality. Our client was keen to understand what was really happening in other organisations and to determine whether they were in fact, ahead of the curve.

Our report evidenced that our client was more advanced than many other large global organisations. Our client had started their venture into analytics five years before the majority of other organisations we investigated. What’s more, our client’s data is clean and in a unified, usable format. Data was being used for reporting consistently, and the team had built relationships with the business and were regularly reporting to leaders of key functions. The big difference was that our client was already thinking about how to use the data for more sophisticated and forward-looking applications.

The Result:

The organisation has used the learnings from Armstrong Craven’s report to redefine their people data strategy and has since moved the operational data activity to a different business area, allowing the core team to focus on strategic predictive analytics to support business planning. The findings have been shared with the Chief Human Resources Officer and distributed amongst the senior leadership team. In a time of turbulence within the energy industry, our key stakeholder has been able to demonstrate the value case for continuing with HR analytics and maintain buy-in for the development of the HR analytics team despite a spotlight on budgets for anything deemed non-core activity.

The report validated our client organisation's views; they were investing in the right places and should continue on that road. It also highlighted that there is an emerging demand for new skill sets; individuals who not only understand HR, but also have the statistical skills to understand complex data and the communication skills to convey the meaning of this data to business stakeholders.

By undertaking a market investigation, our client has been able to remain ahead of the curve not only in strategy and implementation; they now know where to find this much sought-after HR analytics talent and how to best secure it. With the senior HR and business leaders excited about the value their HR analytics function can bring, there is no doubt that our client’s HR analytics function will continue to strategically support the business in making informed decisions which will positively impact the bottom line.

Are you conducting HR analytics for workforce planning structures to no avail? We can help. Speak to a member of our specialised team now.

Get in touch