News and Posts
The Forum Has Moved!
July 14, 2020
In July 2020, we migrated the HR Analytics ThinkTank Forum to
. This Forum will be shut down by September 2020.
If you are looking for ThinkTank content, don't worry - it all exists on the new site already! Just visit the new link and check the report libraries, video sections and meetup calendars.
If you had a user on this site, you have been created a user on the new site using the same email address. Please use the reset password functionality on the new site to get in.
If you have any questions, please email
How does your HR Analytics function compare to the 2020 Benchmarks?
June 2, 2020
Over the next year the HR Analytics ThinkTank - a partnership between 3n Strategy, the University of Leeds and Utah State University - is expanding its scope of research. Led by myself, our academic leads
, and guided by our industry leading board of practitioners,
we will be exploring career paths in the industry, techniques and decision-making
Before we were able to explore these new and exciting aspects of the people and HR analytics industry however, the ThinkTank's focus was on analysing HR analytics functions and industry trends. Since 2015, HR analytics leaders in our community have been letting us track their journeys and the growth of the industry overall.
Last month we launched the
2020 Benchmark figures
- a unique set of data points that track the growth of the industry, the strengths and weaknesses of functions, and more. The full report will be published next month.
What types of questions can the 2020 Benchmarking figures help you answer?
From a high-level industry perspective:
Is the overall industry getting stronger?
Are different regions stronger than others?
What types of data are HR analytics functions around the world working with?
As the Head of an HR Analytics function, or its sponsor:
How does my function compare to the industry?
Compared to functions of similar ages, is my function developing at the right speed?
How does our function compare to functions that create predictive/prescriptive* value?
What could my function be doing to develop more effectively to meet our business needs?
For functions building a business case for growth:
How should we expect our function to grow - and what investments do we need, based on industry insights?
At what time in our business plan do we need to justify hiring data science skill sets?
At what time do we need to invest in different HR tools? What is the impact of not having them?
Are there areas of HR that we could be investing in sooner to demonstrate value sooner, based on other functions?
For the diehard HR analytics obsessives there are more trends in the data around leadership, adoption, technology and more - If you want to read more about these, you will need to read more about the ThinkTank.
Next Step: Want to compare your function with the 2020 benchmarks?
All these insights are available for free to anyone who has taken part in the benchmarking. If you have taken part in the past and would like to compare your results with the 2020 benchmark set, you should receive an email from me soon. If you have not taken part and would like to contribute to the 2021 data set (and be compared with the 2020 set),
please complete this form
*The ThinkTank has not fully validated all maturity self-assessments yet.
The HR Analytics ThinkTank in 2020/21
May 3, 2020
Thank you to everyone who has supported the ThinkTank over the last year, joining us on our mission to analyse and share insights about the evolving practices of HR analytics. By continuing to share your time and experiences with our researchers, you are supporting the production of research that is improving the practice of analytics in HR.
As we look forward to an uncertain year, organisations will be put under more pressure to make decisions about their workforces, and how business is delivered. This will put more pressure on analytics teams to provide HR and business leaders with the evidence they need to make those decisions better.
It is a renewed focus and energy that the ThinkTank will continue to play its part, sharing quality insights and evidence so that organisations can make better decisions about the way they invest in their analytics teams and the value they create, and so that analytics professionals can make better decisions about their own careers.
Below, you can read about the ThinkTank's research and activities this year. We hope you will continue to support our industry analyses, and continue to access our free online community papers, blogs, webinars and recordings.
Announcement: New Leadership Board
I am happy to announce that alongside myself, our research will continue to be delivered in partnership with the University of Leeds, led by Professor
, and Utah State University, led by Assistant Professor
. As always, we hope that by ensuring an academic quality to our research, we can guarantee a quality to our outputs, whilst supporting the formal analysis and documentation of the industry.
Since 2015, we have striven to ensure a level of practicality to the ThinkTank's research, so that our community can use our evidence to take action. This year we have decided to go one step further, inviting a group of industry leaders to help guide our research and advise us over the next year. We are delighted to announce our new Board of Practitioners,
(Nokia) to the ThinkTank team.
Research in 2020/21
Over the next 12 months, we will be inviting our community to participate in four different research projects. To register for the research, please complete this form [https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HRAThinkTank].
How do you successfully build and grow a HR Analytics Function?
An industry analysis exploring how different organisations are investing in their functions, and the value those create over time. Please see the ThinkTank Benchmarks (below) and also the 2018 version of this report [https://www.forum.hranalyticsthinktank.com/discussion/69/report-how-do-organisations-successfully-build-hr-analytics-functions].
How can HR professionals make better decisions?
A detailed analysis of the way HR professionals are making decisions, and how HR analytics teams can best provide them with the evidence they need.
What does HR analytics career paths look like?
The report looking at the pathways that lead to analytics, the emerging career paths within the function, and what professionals go on to do next.
How are HR Analytics functions answering this year's top 3 questions?
A technical approach, exploring how different analytics teams are analysing the same problem in different ways.
Additional studies will be conducted throughout the year, including the next steps of
'How are HR analytics adding value to decision-making during the COVID-19 Crisis?'
Assess and Benchmark Your HR Analytics Function
Earlier this week, we released the 2020 benchmarking set, providing a quantitative analysis of HR analytics functions and the industry as a whole. As always, the benchmarks provide a different insight into HR analytics functions. Using thousands of data points, we attempt to answer questions such as: What are the different types of HR analytics function? What is the difference between a function that can create description value vs prescriptive value? How long does the journey take? Are some areas of HR easier to analyse than others?
If you have taken part in the research and would like your personalised benchmark report, please email us. If you missed the benchmark session,
please sign up to the ThinkTank newsletter
to read the written report when it is shared.
Community Support: Webinars and Events
From this month, we will begin the begin our monthly webinar series featuring HR analytics leaders sharing their stories with the ThinkTank community. As with the previous segments featuring Nestle, Experian and others the webinars try to take a practical angle, and share addition data about the functions unique to the ThinkTank. If you are a research participant, please join us.
Finally, we continue to provide general support to Meetup communities around the world. These groups - all of which are independent of the ThinkTank - can be found on the
Global Meetup Map
and upcoming sessions can be found on the
Forum's Calendar page
. We also continue to provide
free resources and training
to anyone who wants to setup a Meetup in their area. If you want to start a meetup in your area, or if you want to find your local community of practitioners, please get in touch.
HR Analytics ThinkTank Benchmark 2020 Release
April 9, 2020
On 28 April, we will be releasing the latest set of HR and people analytics benchmarks by webinar. Anyone can
register to attend the launch here
, and if you are one of the benchmark participants, you get a free comparison of your responses versus the industry benchmarks by emailing us.
When the HR Analytics ThinkTank first began in 2015, it began with a quantitative approach to analysing HR analytics functions. By analysing HR analytics functions through six areas of investment, could we assess the strengths and weaknesses of different functions? Could explain why some functions create different types of value? And could these insights help other functions accelerate their journey?
During the webinar, we will cover some high level insights from the benchmark data, such as those below:
1. How do the strengths and weaknesses of functions that create 'Descriptive' value differ from those creating 'Predictive' and 'Prescriptive' value?
2. How long does it take to progress from creating descriptive to predictive/prescriptive value?
37 months on average.
3. What areas of HR are functions working with? What types of data are they working with? Why these areas
If you have participated in any of our research (not just the benchmarking), you are eligible to watch our webinar series featuring HR leaders sharing their stories and their benchmarking data sets. The next webinar featuring
Ross Watkins from EDF Energy
please register here
) and you can watch previous webinars with Nestle, Shell and more by
These analyses are now just part of the research that the ThinkTank conducts with our Academic partners,
The University of Leeds
Utah State University
. To take part in our benchmark or upcoming research projects,
please complete this registration form
How are HR analytics helping decision-making during the Covid-19 Crisis; Summary
Megan Marie Butler
April 8, 2020
To watch the presentation of these results with
, Andy Charlwood and Mike Ulrich,
please click here
, Professor of HRM at University of Leeds and ThinkTank Academic Partner
The Covid-19 pandemic constitutes an unprecedented crisis for most organisations, who are having to rapidly find new ways of working and organising while also facing huge shifts in customer and supplier behaviour. Along with my colleagues in the HR Analytics ThinkTank, I was really interested to find out more about the role of HR analytics teams in responding to this crisis. Our survey starts to shed some light on this. For me, some of the more interesting findings are that:
HR analytics teams appear to be finding a new audience for their work, providing data and analysis to a broader range of stakeholders.
A lot of the data and analysis HR analytics teams are supplying is fairly simple reporting of things like sickness absence and who has capacity to work from home.
This is perhaps unsurprising. In new and unprecedented situations the first thing organisations need to do is get the essential facts so that they can make decisions.
Further, some of the more advanced things that analytics teams do will need revising because of the crisis. If dramatically larger numbers of workers are off sick because they have been instructed to stay at home of they have any symptom associated with Covid-19, traditional predictive models of sickness absence will no longer be able to predict sickness. A similar point is likely to apply to predicting turnover.
It will be interesting to see how the activities of HR analytics teams evolve over the coming weeks and months. How are social networks changing as more people work remotely? What is happening to morale, motivation and productivity of people in newly remote teams? There are a lot of important HR analytics questions to try to answer to help organisations and their people get through this crisis.
Interesting times does not seem adequate to describe the magnitude of the disruptions the Covid-19 crisis is having on every aspect of our lives. In this unpresented time of uncertainty, businesses are facing new challenges putting systems to the test including people analytics (PA) teams and businesses/HR teams ability to data and insights to make decisions with less than perfect information and an unclear future.
The HR Analytics ThinkTank asked the question, 'what questions are people analytics teams being asked by businesses?' and what can we expect in the next stages of the crisis. Though the future is unclear including how long government measures to slow and reduce the spread of the virus, this report highlights the insights we can find from the common experiences of members from the community with interpretation by
, and the HR Analytics ThinkTank practitioner board members.
The story the data is telling is what should be expected from a situation like this, argues Andy Charlwood and Mike Ulrich, during the first few weeks PA teams were challenged with answering the basic questions to help business face the immediate issues. As expected, the impact has occurred in time with regional and industry responses to the crisis.
As Mike Ulrich points out, this is the first of four stages that should be expected. During this first stage as business need to address immediate challenges PA teams are focusing on collecting basic data and reporting over more advanced techniques. Andy Charlwood argues that the key to future survival will be getting this early data collection right as it will be used to address new challenges we will face in the next stages and as we head back to normal and for later reflection. With the importance of data at this time a potential challenge could be access, however most (95%) report that this is not the challenge but rather the tools to add-value to the data are effecting nearly half (45%).
The next stage will see PA teams answer new questions, including questions about how employees are coping with their new working arrangements including the challenges of working from at home, risking their lives as essential employees, or leaving their employment – and the overall mental health of employees as all deal with uncertainty and stress of the situation. PA teams have an important role to play throughout the crisis and should be expecting to address new questions and challenges and we expect an overall change to how we work in the future.
HR Analytics decisions during the first stage of the crisis – what's happening now
The survey responses show that PA teams focus on answering to business critical questions as businesses and people shift in the first stages of responses to government imposed measure to slow and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. These basic business questions range based on the current state of the industry and the region, though all address basic needs. The next stages will likely see PA teams answering new challenges as we enter new stages of the crisis.
There is evidence that HR analytics insights is playing an increasingly important role with an increased need for insights to business leaders. As leadership teams demand more insights which will likely continue throughout the crisis and an opportunity for HR analytics teams to help even more.
ThinkTank Fact: 85% of functions participating in the wider TT research claim to be sponsored by the most (or very) senior HR leaders in the business.
What types of data is being use and how? - how are we doing it
The commonality of the different questions PA teams are answering is the requirement for basic data to answer them. Data has historically been a HR analytics weak spot, including the quality, type, and ability to collect, analysis, and access data.
To be able to add value throughout this crisis, PA teams need to ensure that they have the basics done well. The basics data is what will add value down the line as new challenges emerge as we enter new stages of the crisis including returning to 'normal'.
Having the right tools is also a common challenge for PA teams, and this is no different now with nearly half (45%) of respondents reporting that they lack tools to add the most value to decision-making through this crisis.
A surprising finding was that 95% of respondents indicated that they were able to access data, software, technology require since past experience working with PA teams has found strict access requires access to be done onsite.
How can PA teams prepare for the next stage?- what next
Given the historical challenges of data and tools for PA teams, now it the time to ensure that basic data is done well and some creativity is required to identify alternative data that could be used to address new and challenging questions.
Several factors are likely impacting functions ability to complete predictive and prescriptive modelling including the magnitude of the disruption to basic behaviours. Though typically it takes several months to years to develop predictive and prescriptive functions, there is opportunity to accelerate the process starting with building a strong data collection foundation.
An important note is to critically evaluate the data and what it represents and the impact of changes to work, for example timesheet data tracking hours worked at home may not translate to the same hours worked in an office. Though, there is an important opportunity to think about new and alternative data sources, such as regional outbreak data to predict the impact on frontline workers.
Building a strong data foundation will enable PA teams to answer the immediate questions, and face the challenges of the next stages including the mental health toll that this crisis will play on everyone working on the frontline and from home.
ThinkTank Fact: Functions capable of producing Predictive and Prescriptive value were 30-40 months old.
Results: How is HR Analytics Helping Decision Making during the COVID-19 Crisis?
March 31, 2020
What types of decisions are organisations making about their workforces to get through the COVID-19 crises? What value can HR and people analytics functions add to that decision making to help their HR and business leaders?
Over the last week, the HR Analytics ThinkTank have been analysing the results from the ThinkTank community, trying to help analytics functions understand what each other are doing, and what they could be doing, and maybe prepare for what they might need to do over the next few weeks.
On 31 March,
presenting some of the initial findings, and asking HR and people analysts to help guide the next steps of the research. If you missed it, please watch the recording of the webinar below.
Further surveys will be conducted over the next few weeks, and short studies written up for anyone to read. If you have any thoughts or comments, please add it in the comments below.
Research Invitation: How is HR Analytics Helping Decision Making during the COVID-19 Crisis?
March 23, 2020
Right now, businesses are making some of the most important decisions they will ever have to make, in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Most of these decisions have 'people' at their heart: How do we keep our workforce operating during COVID-19? How can we keep our people safe?
As they make these decisions, they are turning to the teams who can provide them with the facts and evidence to make better choices about the future. Whether that team is called the HR Analytics, People Analytics, Workforce Analytics or HR Reporting teams, these are the professionals empowering HR and business leaders make better decisions about their people during this stressful time.
How are HR analytics teams helping decision-making during the COVID-19 crisis? Over the next week, the HR Analytics ThinkTank, led by myself (
), Assistant Professor
(Utah State University) and Professor
(University of Leeds) will be conducting a short study answering the following questions:
What value is HR Analytics (HRA) creating during the COVID-19 crisis?
What obstacles are stopping HRA teams from creating value during the COVID-19 crisis?
What questions/decisions are HRA teams helping their businesses to answer during the COVID-19 crisis?
We invite all HR analytics practitioners to participate before Sunday 29 March. The results will shared at an open webinar on Tuesday 31 March (4pm CET, 3pm UK, 11am EST, 10am CST, 8am PST). Anyone should feel free to attend. If you miss the webinar, a blog post and recording will be made available.
CALL TO ACTION: Next Steps to Take Part and Register for Webinar
To participate in the research, please
To sign up for the webinar, please
To sign up to the ThinkTank newsletter to receive the recording by joining the Forum.
How were HR Analytics functions doing absence analytics in 2019?
The HR Analytics ThinkTank research has been measuring and tracking how HR analytics functions grow for over 5 years. Throughout that time, we have measured how people analytics functions develop strengths and weaknesses across six key categories, and the impact they have on their businesses.
In addition to this, we track the types of analytics they are doing, and the areas of HR they are operating in. In 2019, 67% of the HR analytics functions that participants in the ThinkTank’s research said they were conducting analyses of absence data.
March 2020: #PeopleAnalyticsMonth
March 2, 2020
Around the world meetups of HR and people analytics communities are forming. Led by independent community leaders from their local area, these grassroots communities meet to share industry experiences, stories and enthusiasm - as well as usually a drink and some food. The diversity of experience and knowledge in the room is often vast, ranging from industry veterans to newcomers, from technologists to HR generalists. Everyone is welcome.
Since August, we have been signposting people towards these communities through our
Global HR and People Analytics Meetup Map
, and our
Global Meetup Calendar
. Now in March 2020, on behalf of the meetup organisers around the world, we invite you to find and celebrate these local people analytics communities as part of
What cities are taking part in
? Where do I find out more?
There are meetups taking place in cities around the world - not quite on every continent but we're getting there! Want to hear from some of the Meetup organisers themselves? Check out this video:
For the full list of events and their registration details, please check out the
. If you want to be kept even more up to date on meetups and the HR Analytics ThinkTank research,
please sign up to the newsletter
In short, the events taking place during March:
26 February: Austin (Ethan Burris and Roxanne Laczo)
3 March: Ireland/Limerick (Sarah Kieran and Maria Belizon), Mexico City (Federico Barco)
4 March: Boston (Rob King)
10 March: Sydney (Shahram Karimi)
17 March: Amsterdam (Brydie Lear, Patrick Coolen, Marielle Sonnenberg), Auckland (Barbara Daxenberger), Barcelona (Marta Gascón Corella), Brisbane (Audrey Ciccone, Belinda Ellem), Buenos Aires (Sergio Garcia Mora, Lucila Baus, Pablo Senra and Patricia Hartvig), Chicago (Alina Guarise), South Cali/Irvine (Mei Kim), London (Nigel Dias), Los Angeles (Hayden Balow), Madrid (Delia Majarín), Munich (David Shontz), New York (Stela Lupushor, Jeremy Shapiro), Salt Lake City (Chris Taulbee), Sofia (Yanitsa Ilieva), Switzerland/St Moritz (Andrew Marritt)
18 March: Belgrade (Maja Ninkovic)
24 March: Melbourne (Roel van Etten)
26 March: San Francisco (Annika Schultz, Ben Teusch)
31 March: Minneapolis (Kelli Gochenaur)
There isn't a meetup in my area - what do I do?
Each Meetup is run by an independent organiser, who decided to start their community and run their own events. If there isn't a meetup in your area, you have two choices: 1) You wait for someone else to start a meetup in your city or 2) You start the meetup in your area.
If you would like to start a group, you won't be alone - you can join the
Meetup Organiser Group
, you can use our
How to Run a Meetup Guide
, and you can attend our regular calls on running Meetups. To start your own meetup and get involved,
please complete this form
Hopefully see you at an HR and People Analytics Meetup soon.
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The Forum Has Moved!
PAS Meetup 7th July Spain
VIDEO: Andrew Marritt on Text Analytics
Paris People Analytics Meetup on Strategic Workforce Planning - 17 February 2020
Southern California People Analytics Zoom Meetup - 24 June 2020
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