HR Analytics

What will the People Analytics Function look like in the Future?

Source | | Richard Rosenow

I’ve seen a lot of articles around the “why” of people analytics, and an encouraging trend of articles on the “how” of data science for People Analytics, but there are not many articles exploring the operation of a People Analytics function. I think this is a critical time to dig into that space, namely because I see trends happening across People Analytics that indicate many teams are on the verge of a shift in their operating model.

In this three part series I’m going to touch on the initial operating model that launched many People Analytics teams, go deep on the service operating model that many teams operate under today, and lay out a framework for the next phase of operation, the platform operating model.

Please review the arguments and ideas below with a grain of salt and take what you find useful to fuel your own understanding of the trends out there. I’m really looking forward to the dialogue (comments, criticisms, and questions) in the comments after the article.

Initial Operating Model

While some parts of the PA function date back to the 40s (IO psych), the 2000s saw people recruited for the first time into formal HR analytics, employee insights, or People Analytics “functions”. I put “functions” in quotes because these early teams largely had budgets for just one person or if they were lucky two people. These early functions did full-service and white-glove People Analytics. They tackled everything from data collection, to cleaning, to reporting, to partnering, and even doing start to finish research projects.

For small teams or new teams, this operating model is defined by the all-in-one leader who wears every hat within People Analytics. This is where almost all teams start (you have to start with one hire) and I’ve heard that teams that operate under this model are still one of the best ways to quickly learn about all aspects of the People Analytics space.

While those first ten years of the function were defined by lean teams, there were a few super teams emerging (Google’s People Operations / People Analytics group as detailed in “Work Rules”) and the investment across other companies started to open up. Over the next decade full functions began to spring up from these all-in-one teams.

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