How organizations approach people analytics

A database and operational perspective

Nabeel Ahmad


Clean data vs reality

There's no good data.
Only bad and very bad data.

Disparate across multiple systems

One organization: simple request for headcount report

150+ separate databases
6 week delay
(3 weeks for snapshot, 3 weeks to process)

Time factor

Snapshots could be 1 week to 1 month old

If a company is moving, reorganizing, restructuring, you need data less than 1 week old

e.g. COVID-19:
how many people have it,
where, does it impact location, etc

A practical example

In an executive meeting, the president of a business unit says a consulting firm they hired says to reorganize


The executive team thinks this is immediate

Reality: this involves hundreds of transactions to move people around, change titles, etc.


Someone has to make these changes

Another practical example

CEO asks how many employees they have by congressional district and what their salary is


Most companies can get who you are, your salary, your performance in a day

Data warehouse delays ~= 1 day

Where Human Capital Analytics teams sit depends

HCA roles are more important now than ever

General structure

Head of analytics is 2 levels away from CHRO

If responsible for all HC analytics (talent, learning, comp, etc), may report directly to CHRO



Workday - reporting

Integration, full suite

Good for self service, automation, standardization

Visier - analytics

People analytics focus, on-demand analytics

Good for predictive analytics, workforce planning

Build or Buy


Ask yourself...

  • Do you have data scientist folks in HR (more than 1 person) who can build a model and maintain it?
  • Are you confident they'll stick around to maintain and improve it?
  • If so, build

    If not, buy

    Other considerations

    BUY: Done > perfect

    BUY: Lots of tools already exist

    BUILD: Beware of algorithmic bias

    BUY: Speed to market

    Use tools to inform decisions

    Data Strategies

    Where Human Capital Analytics can focus its efforts



    Right people, right job, right time

    HR Program/Policy Effectiveness

    Need a workforce aligned to the business strategy

    (Strategic Workforce Planning)

    Define levers to use to get workforce

    What am I willing to change?
    (comp, recruiting, etc.)

    What's my willingness to adjust to market forces?

    How good are these strategies working?
    Is WFH working?

    Let’s measure it

    Closing thoughts

    What data should companies give their employees about themselves?

    Improve employee engagement

    Let them be in charge of their own career

    About Nabeel

    Intersection of business, technoloy, human capital


    Human capital consulting




    LinkedIn (nabeelahmad)

    Rose Rock Dynamics (consulting)

    Personal site (projects)