Analytics for HR is using data to drive business value. We often hear about HR, workforce, and people analytics. All three help organizations understand your employees and can be used to make better decisions, grow your staff faster, drive productivity, and build your ideal work culture. Let’s explore how they differ and how they can help you optimize business impact.

What's Workforce Analytics and HR Analytics? How do they differ from People Analytics?

We often see People, HR, and Workforce used interchangeably with Analytics. But do they all mean the same thing? While they may convey the same general idea of using data about the workforce to gain insights and make data-driven decisions, those that study the field do make a distinction between each.

It’s important to note that this field of study is still evolving. So in discussions, it’s always best to clarify and align definitions to enhance communications and understanding. The descriptions we use below are based on an explanation by people analytics expert Heather Whiteman, PhD, who we had as a guest in one of Erudit’s webinars.

People Analytics

People Analytics is the use of data and analytics to improve people-related decision making in organizations. It takes into account the person as a whole, going beyond studying employees at work and including facets outside of the job like work-life balance, biases, and more.

HR Analytics

HR Analytics can be considered a subfield of people analytics that focuses on HR-related data and analytics. It takes into account HR processes and focuses on improving HR initiatives and practices.

Workforce Analytics

Workforce Analytics can also be considered a subfield of people analytics, but focusing on workforce-related data, looking at employees at work and taking into account work flows, processes, optimization, automization, and more.

At the end of the day, all three are connected but lean into analytics in a different way and suggest a different focal point.

How People Analytics Helps You Retain Talent

People analytics is a data-driven approach to human capital management (HCM). By understanding the patterns and trends in how employees interact with each other and their work, organizations can make better decisions about where to allocate resources, how to foster engagement, and which interventions will improve performance. In addition to its benefits for organizational decision-making, people analytics can also be used to improve talent retention.

For example, by understanding which employees are at risk of leaving, organizations can put resources into retention efforts designed specifically for their workforce, which are likely to be successful.

Using data to identify high-performing employees, you can target retention strategies specifically at key personnel who are most valuable to the organization. Understanding what motivates your employees, what makes them happy in their roles, and the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction and engagement empowers you can create a working environment that is more likely to keep top talent committed to their work.

Lastly, by using people analytics to monitor employee engagement and satisfaction levels, you can identify early warning signs of potential issues and take steps to address them before they lead to staff turnover.

Learn how Erudit helps you track daily engagement levels and detect turnover risk for each department.

The importance of AI in People Analytics

In recent years, the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in people analytics has become increasingly apparent. The rapid digitization of businesses during the remote set-up during the pandemic brought forth a wealth of people data, especially communications data, that is just waiting to be mined for analytics and insights.

As organizations strive to make sense of these ever-growing data sets, AI provides a powerful tool for extracting actionable insights. Instead of relying on data analysts, AI can sift through large amounts of data quickly, efficiently, and even anonymously.

By automating repetitive tasks and providing accurate and timely insights, AI can free up HR professionals to focus on more strategic initiatives. AI can help HR teams and people leaders better understand their workforce, identify areas of improvement, and predict future trends.

When used correctly, AI can empower positive changes within an organization by helping to identify issues early and providing recommendations for improvement; and businesses are taking notice with investment into AI increasing. Fortune Business Insights found that the global human resource technology market is projected to grow to $35.68 billion in 2028 from 22.89 billion in 2020, and that businesses are likely to prioritize AI tech.

At the end of the day, AI can lead to deeper understanding of the workforce and its drivers so that leaders can make better, data-driven decisions that benefit the entire organization.

3 Examples of How to Take Advantage of People Analytics

Recruitment and selection

People analytics can help determine the ideal characteristics for a particular role to help with hiring and/or promotions. Plus, identify which employees are most likely to be successful in a new role and make sure they get the opportunity to grow.

Talent and performance management

Use data to identify high-potential employees and design targeted development plans so as not to lose your top talent. Identify which teams are underperforming and what factors may be contributing to their poor performance.

Employee retention

Identify which employees are most likely to leave and what factors may contribute to their leaving the job. Track turnover and burnout risk for each department or team so that you can focus your attention on groups that need your support the most.


As the world creates and stores more and more data, businesses will  continue to move towards data-driven decision making to ensure success. Thus, analytics is the future of business and people analytics is the future of HR.

People analytics allows organizations to make data-driven decisions, taking into account the needs and motivations of their workforce. By using data to understand trends and patterns in employee behavior, HR professionals can identify issues early and take steps to prevent them before they become a bigger, more costly problem.

People analytics enables data-driven HR programs and policies. Plus, it can help track the success of initiatives by analyzing how employees respond to them, even allowing HR professionals to fine-tune and calibrate their approach depending on feedback and results.

In a world where data is increasingly available and organizations are under pressure to do more with less, people analytics provides a powerful tool for HR professionals to boost their impact and add value to their organizations.

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