People analytics uses data to inform organizational decisions on people matters, including how to attract top talent, hire the right people, engage employees, invest wisely in training and development, identify strong leaders, and numerous other human resources functions. The insights from people analytics are the panacea to all human resource challenges, and these results are used to better design teams and predict business performance. People analytics can offer insights into behaviour which will impact team dynamics, productivity, innovation and therefore company success.
While historically, key people decisions were based on policies, intuition, and relationships in most organizations, we have seen a number of progressive changes in people management practices. Today, organizations are beginning to recognize the value of a data-driven approach to decisions concerning their workforce. We see this trend across the globe – Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital Trends report revealed that 85% of global respondents believe that people data is important or very important.
However, the manner in which people analytics is implemented will vary significantly across different regions of the world due to cultural and demographic differences. David Green’s article “People Analytics in Asia Pacific: Why is it different?” discusses the way in which cultural dimensions will impact both the areas of focus of people analytics, and the manner in which people analytics projects are implemented.
85% of global respondents believe that people data is important or very important.
For instance, companies in Asia and the west may choose to apply people analytics to different Human resource functions. Greene notes that “an analytics project to ‘understand and optimise leadership behaviour’ will not be regarded as a priority in a traditional Asian organisation. This can be attributed to the power distance and often excessive belief in a ‘leader’s wisdom’ more than data”.
Instead, focus areas are likely to be more reflective of the traditionally collectivist values of the region. In contrast, Canada is a much more individualistic country, scoring 80 in this dimension on Hofstede’s scale. This means that queries regarding leadership development would be much more relevant.
This concept that the “how” and “what” of people analytics depends on the values, practices and cultural nuances of the region in which the company operates can be extended to describe how the application of people analytics will vary between organizations not only globally, but locally as well. The characteristics that define each organization’s culture will influence the types of questions asked, and the types of questions that are possible to answer.
The human resource functions that organizations wish to approach using people analytics will depend on several attributes of the organization’s structure and culture. If the organization is more “flat” than hierarchical, this may generate different areas of interest within leadership and talent management. If an organization is better equipped to handle turnover, different questions around recruitment and retention may be asked than if retention is integral to organizational success. Organizations which rely more heavily on teamwork will have different needs in terms of employee engagement and team cohesiveness.
These cultural and structural dimensions may also impact the way in which employees respond to these types of questions. Cultural norms and power distance may influence the way in which a respondent in answers questions.
Therefore, it is important to be aware of the distinct cultural features of the countries in which an organization operates, and it is also important to be aware of the cultural dimensions within organizations themselves. These differences will present a unique set of both opportunities and challenges to firms as they integrate people analytics into their human resource functions.
David’s Green Article – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/people-analytics-asia-pacific-why-different-david-green/