Unveiling the Maturity of HR Analytics: From Insights to Action
22 Sep, 2023

Jaén Beelders – Executive Director & Mandisi Dube – Client Executive at 21st Century


In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, data-driven decision-making has become paramount for organisations seeking a competitive edge. The field of Human Resources (HR) is no exception, with a growing number of HR professionals. The maturity of HR analytics refers to the evolution of an organisation’s ability to leverage data to transform HR processes from routine tasks into strategic endeavors that shape the workforce, improve employee experience, and enhance overall business outcomes.


The Evolution of HR Analytics Maturity



1. Foundational Stage: Data Collection and Reporting


At the initial stage of HR analytics maturity, organisations focus on collecting and consolidating data from various sources such as HRIS (Human Resources Information System), recruitment platforms, performance management tools, and employee surveys. The primary goal is to create a centralized repository of data for basic reporting, such as turnover rates, recruitment metrics, and basic demographic analyses. However, the insights derived from these reports are often descriptive and historical, limiting their impact on strategic decision-making.



2. Developing Stage: Descriptive Analytics


In the second stage, organisations move beyond basic data collection and reporting to implement descriptive analytics. This involves analysing historical data to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations. For instance, organisations might analyse factors contributing to employee attrition, identify high-performing teams, or assess training program effectiveness. These insights help HR professionals understand the “what” and “why” of HR phenomena, enabling them to make more informed decisions.



3. Intermediate Stage: Diagnostic Analytics


As organisations progress, they enter the diagnostic analytics stage. This involves delving deeper into data to understand the root causes of HR-related challenges. By leveraging advanced statistical techniques and predictive modeling, organisations can pinpoint factors influencing employee behavior and outcomes. For example, they might uncover factors contributing to low employee engagement or the likelihood of a successful internal promotion. This level of analysis enables HR teams to identify interventions and strategies to address specific workforce issues.



4. Advanced Stage: Predictive Analytics


In the advanced stage, organisations harness predictive analytics to anticipate future HR trends and events. This involves using historical data to build models that forecast outcomes, such as attrition rates, future skill gaps, and workforce demand. By proactively identifying potential challenges, HR teams can develop strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities. Predictive analytics empowers organizations to align their HR strategies with broader business goals.



5. Strategic Stage: Prescriptive Analytics


The pinnacle of HR analytics maturity is reached with prescriptive analytics. This stage goes beyond predicting outcomes and guides organisations on what actions to take. By leveraging sophisticated algorithms and machine learning, prescriptive analytics recommends optimal strategies to achieve desired outcomes. For instance, it can suggest personalised development plans for high-potential employees or propose optimal staffing levels to meet future demand. Prescriptive analytics transforms HR from a reactive function to a proactive driver of business success.





The journey towards HR analytics maturity is a transformative process that empowers organisations to leverage their workforce data for strategic decision-making. From the foundational stage of data collection to the strategic stage of prescriptive analytics, each phase contributes to HR’s ability to positively impact business outcomes. As organisations advance through these stages, they transition from being data collectors to strategic partners, using HR analytics to shape their workforce, enhance employee experience, and achieve sustainable growth in an ever-evolving business landscape.





This article is based on research conducted by 21st Century one of the largest Remuneration, Reward, HR, Organisation Development and Change Management consultancies in Africa, specialising in sustainable business solutions and underpinned by exceptional Analytics and Research capabilities. Please contact us at info@21century.co.za for any further information.


@Jaén Beelders
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@Mandisi Dube
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