Employee Engagement

People Analytics: What they don’t want you to know.

Peter Clark

Last week I discovered something significant about People Analytics – it was THE problem. A barrier that prevents organisations from accessing People Insights. What was extraordinary was that this barrier is an illusion created to protect the interests of big solution providers.

No I’m not paranoid. I do not believe in the Illuminati or global conspiracies and I’m quite convinced that man has indeed been to the moon. But I also believe that it is natural for businesses to protect their interests. This is a normal, legal activity typically achieved by promoting the benefits of their products (or sometimes illegally – see Volkswagen) over other, competing products. But sometimes the noise created by spending millions on marketing can drown out a simpler, better alternative.

So, let’s return to the moment of my realisation. I was in a workshop with various HR teams to discuss ‘People Measurement’. An HR Director from a major employer was speaking about his experiences: “We’re stuck in catch-22. We need to justify a major, six figure investment in People Analytics but we don’t have a business case! We can’t invest to get better data unless we can prove its value BUT we can’t prove its value without better data!”. And all of a sudden it was clear to me.

The problem with People Analytics is the perception that it is expensive, takes a long-time to setup and is incredibly complex. I’ve checked, most HR teams have the same view – this perception is actually a widely held belief. Why? Because that perception is the reality when you implement analytics with a big solution provider – the guys who built your HRMS system.

But that’s old technology. There are new tech companies – disclaimer, we are one of them – who are able to completely change the People Analytics paradigm. It is now possible to setup People Analytics in a matter of days (not months), with minimal cost and without significant IT support. What’s more, the quality of insight into employee data is significantly better than anything previously available.

So here is THE problem. HR teams perceive huge challenges associated with People Analytics that don’t exist when you use the latest technology. Sadly, the only people shouting about the benefits of new technology have relatively small marketing budgets and their message remains hidden. So the myth continues and the Big Solution providers continue to overcharge for complex, old systems.

After the workshop, I found the same HR leader who was earlier lamenting the cost and complexity of People Analytics. I explained that it didn’t have to be difficult. We could help him create People Insights quickly, simply and affordably. He looked at me quizzically “Really? How is that possible? It’s too good to be true!” It seems the perception of complexity and cost built by large marketing budgets are stubbornly difficult to change.

If you also think this sounds too good to be true, challenge us.

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