The growth of HR capability in general is now calling out for greater insights into the people aspects of organisations. This is where people measurement, or HR analytics, may be able to add significant value.

To further understand how HR professionals in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are developing and applying HR analytics, the CIPD conducted interviews with HR professionals from nine organisations across a broad selection of sectors. We complemented this in-depth analysis with data from an online survey.

The case study organisations include:

  • HKIHRM, Hong Kong
  • KPMG, Malaysia
  • Maybank, Malaysia
  • Nestlé, Malaysia
  • AXA Insurance, Hong Kong
  • Shell, Singapore
  • Experian, Singapore
  • Richemont Asia Pacific, Hong Kong
  • Knorr Bremse, Hong Kong
  • Johnson & Johnson, Singapore.

Key findings

We found through our research that while analytics has the potential to be transformative, HR professionals are finding it difficult to implement activity at the strategic and operational levels. Constraints such as investment, leadership understanding and overall HR maturity are holding back development at the strategic level, while at the operational level technology and the analytics skills gap are holding back development of the function.

Embedding people analytics within the organisation

  • Organisations with clear links between analytics in the HR strategy and organisation strategy appear to be leveraging the value of analytics more successfully and appear to be more mature in the application of people insights.

  • Business-focused insights are valuable to HR functions and are adding value to both HR and business functions.

  • Investment by HR leaders into HR analytics is expected to continue to increase over the next 12 months, illustrating growing interest in the capability amongst HR professionals.

Where people data is ‘shining a light’ on real business issues

  • Diverse issues are being investigated using HR analytics techniques, with the main focus of insights being towards the development of evidence to inform strategic decision making.

  • The region is utilising mainly one-dimensional data. Few organisations are using multidimensional data sets and are not able to combine two sets of data to explore specific issues.

  • The majority of data used is in the form of lagging indicators. Few organisations are able to use leading indicators for developing forecast data.

Defining and reporting HR data: from measurement to insight, the journey to insightful measures

  • Standardisation is a significant challenge – HR professionals are unsure whether to develop context-specific measures for their organisation or standard measures for benchmarking purposes.

  • HR professionals across the region are developing HR balanced scorecards to illustrate the strategic value of human capital and HR data, and are communicating insights via scorecard reports and key performance indicators. Organisations in the study believe that scorecards are the most powerful tool for sharing numerous high-level insights with senior business leaders.

Skills, technology and the race for predictive analytics

  • Technology is acting as an enabler for some organisations and a preventative force in others. Different IT systems and programs mean that simple, repeatable analytics is difficult.

  • Individual analytical skills are not readily in the market for HR functions to access. HR professionals believe that local talent is not entering the profession as HR analytics is not widely advertised as a capability within the HR profession.
  • Predictive analytics is beyond the capability of all organisations interviewed in the qualitative sample. Both capability and resource issues (cost and time) are impacting on how HR leaders are developing capability.

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